After the age of 13, I stopped liking hot dogs. I feel like that bothered my dad a little bit. My dad grew up in West Virgina and showed it at times. No, he wasn’t racist (seriously, he wasn’t), and he didn’t drink beer, but he loved NASCAR and Slim Jim’s. Every time he made hot dogs he knocked on my door and asked me if I wanted some. Mostly I said no, but occasionally I’d remind him I didn’t like hot dogs. He would say “Oh, that’s right,” but I maybe he asking out of a hope that I would come around.
Sometimes I wondered if I willed myself to dislike hot dogs. I have done things in the past to avoid looking like white trash, why not this? In an attempt to not look like a redneck I have come off as a person trying to be smart. In grade school I read the thesaurus and used huge words no one that no one who isn’t reading a thesaurus would know. I’m only recently breaking this habit. I started watching The Daily Show when I was 11 and laughed at jokes I didn’t understand even harder. One day a friend came over while I was watching it. To keep up with me, he started laughing whenever I did. The two of us sat there and laughed whenever John Stewart stopped talking.
My pseudo-intellectual behavior as a 12 year old began to bother my dad. I realized this one day when having lunch at Apple-Bee’s with my mom and dad. I was using my usual big words, and after I said something he looked over at my mom and said “I don’t want to listen to him when he talks down to me.” I sat quietly for the rest of the meal.
I used less unnecessary words around my dad after that and lowered my other snooty behavior. It wasn’t until recently that I realized using big words doesn’t make you a smart person. It’s way harder to explain something complicated with simple words. But I’m plenty snooty in other ways. I read David Foster Wallace and say the word facetious. Then again I do love not wearing a shirt and urinating in public.