In Forbes’ most recent listing of the richest counties in the U.S., Williamson County–home of Franklin–was ranked No. 16. I blame that ranking for the following exchange at the grocery store this morning.
I was standing at the deli counter at Publix. A large man next to me ordered a pound of pepperoni and some other meat that ended in “ola.”
“You making stromboli or calzone?” the deli man said.
The customer replied that he was making neither and he mentioned another dish. He went on to say that he just couldn’t get good meat down here like he could up north, on Long Island. Turns out that both of the men behind the counter were from Long Island as well.
They talked for a bit about the lack of good meat down here, listing several others ending in “ola” that I was unfamiliar with. The customer said that “the guineas” really know how to cook. I had to look up guinea on Urban Dictionary…here’s what it said:
The most vile racial slur that can be used against an Italian-American.
When it was my turn, I said “wow, I never heard of half the things y’all’re talking about. I’ll take a half pound of pepper turkey.”
The other customer turned to me and said (loudly): “Yeah, the food up north is much better.”
“Ok,” I thought. “I don’t remember asking your opinion, but whatever.”
“Yeah,” he continued, “lots better.”
“It’s different,” I said. “Not better.”
“No,” he replied. “Definitely better. It’s more diverse. There’s no diversity here. Nothing Italian.”
I shrugged, took my turkey and left. But in my mind, this is what I said:
“If you can’t live without Italian meat, then you probably should’ve thought twice before moving to a small Southern town. If you want diversity, then shut up and move out of your McMansion. I can show you some diversity, right here in the 16th richest county in the nation. I bet you’re just too busy whinning about deli meats to go find it. You know what else, I bet there are a lot of things that are better on Long Island…but there’s one thing I can guarantee you that we have in abundance and that’s manners. For you to dismiss nearly 300 years of culture with one offhand remark displays just how shockingly ignorant you are. Please go home.
Yep. That’s what I said in my mind.