For some time now I've been steadily walking the thin line between being an upstanding citizen of Sunnyside and being just plain white trash.
I've felt this way because of my house. Sure, I live in a trailer, but that's not it. The trailer I rent is a double-wide, three bedroom, two-bath redneck love palace. So it wasn't the fact that I lived in a trailer that had me worried, it was the accessories.
According to Wikipedia, the term white trash is an ethnic slur with a social class component. It is targeted towards white people and carries an allegation of low social status and poor prospects.
Wikipedia goes on to describe white trash folk as being perceived as lacking in manners, having abnormally low moral standards, swearing, smoking, drunkenness and being overly loud and animated in public.
Gambling was also a trait of the white trash folk, especially the copious purchase of scratch-style lottery tickets.
The label might be applied to a household that lives in a decrepit apartment or trailer or has a yard strewn with debris or a non-functioning vehicle in the front yard.
Ahh, we're getting close to my symptoms. It was my trailer accessories giving me the white trash complex.
My path to white trashness started back in February of this year. That's when my car's rear passenger-side tire fell off as I was driving 70 mph on I-82. Not being the mechanically inclined fellow, I had the car towed to my house, where I put it on blocks. Step one was complete. I now had a non-functioning vehicle in my front yard.
Things would get worse.
My rented trailer sits on two acres of land. This land does not have any underground sprinklers or access to irrigation at all. The two acres are covered with weeds and these weeds took off during the summer. The weeds that grew around my VW Golf GT almost hid the car completely.
That has to be step two. A non-functional vehicle sitting in the front yard of dirt almost completely covered with weeds.
Smoking...yes. Drunkenness, that's open to interpretation. Gambling.....no. Hey, there's one symptom of white trashness I don't exhibit.
But the smoking, OK, I'm busted there, although I'm trying to quit. I like my beer and I don't drink just 12 ounce cans or bottles either. I like the 24-ounce cans of beer. The Man Cans as I call them.
Now, my wife got it into her head a while back she was going to start saving cans and take them in for money. So we had bags of beer and Pepsi cans in front of our house.
That's pretty white trash if you ask me.
I don't have a mullet. I don't have a You might be a redneck if.... calendar covering a hole on one of my walls in the house. I don't listen to the Scorpions, Guns and Roses, White Snake or Ratt. And I most certainly don't let out a whoop and flash the devil horns every time an AC/DC song comes on the radio.
I haven't bought White Trash Cooking by Ernest Matthew Mickler, or White Trash Cooking II: Recipes for Gatherin's by Ernest Matthew Mickler, or even More White Trash Cooking by Trisha Mickler and Ernest Matthew Mickler. If I do get any of these books I plan on purchasing only spiral bound editions.
I also don't have the entire DVD collection of Roseanne, Jerry Springer and I can't stand wrestling or Toby Keith.
Still, my house and its accessories made me feel like white trash. That was until last Sunday. A few things happened to elevate me back to low/middle class.
First, a guy came over and bought my VW Golf GT, as is. The car was actually driven away on Monday. My landlord and his brother stopped by as well and mowed all the weeds around my house. It's amazing how much better it looks. Instead of a house on a lot full of weeds, the trailer looks like it sits somewhere on the prairie.
My wife hid the bags of beer and Pepsi cans and all of a sudden, I'm not to ashamed of where I live.
So for now I'm safe, but I can't let my guard down. The car I drive now could break down on me at anytime and the weeds will grow back next summer.
It will take constant vigilance.