Word got out in the neighborhood that we are planning a trip to the East Coast.
Various neighbors have been swinging by to "coach me up" on the finer points of deportment. They don't want me to embarrass Mrs ERJ or give rubes a bad name. My neighbors are under no illusions regarding my social skills.
For example, Dan swung by and tried to teach me about the finer points of drinking in big-city bars. He told me about one bar he visited in a city named Georgetown.
He had just arrived after 11 hours of driving and was looking forward to a cold PBR to cut the dust of the trip.
He was halfway across the room before he noticed that all conversations had stopped. Everybody was looking at him as he strode across the room.
His eyes were on the ends of swivel-stalks, he noticed that all the men were beautiful and all the women looked like they could chew railroad spikes and spit carpet tacks.
He would have turned around but he was thirsty and there was no guarantee that any of the other bars were more like the ones back home.
The bartender wore nail polish and his hair was prettier than Sharon's had been when he took her to Senior Prom.
The bartender was looking him over with elevator eyes: sweat-stained baseball cap, faded denim shirt with the sleeve rolled up. Belt with a Row-Dee-Oh! buckle. Baggy jeans with neatly sewn patches on the knees. Military-surplus, 8" tall boots in coyote brown.
"You are not from around here, are you?" the barkeep asked with a supercilious, simpering lisp, upper lip curled into a slight sneer.
"Nope. Reckon not" Dan responded. "I wanna order a beer. Whatchya got on tap?"
The bartender clearly did not want to serve Dan, so he deflected.
"What do you do for a living?" the barkeep asked.
Dan decided to be obliging. "Well, I have been a hoof-trimmer, a renderer, a journal-greaser and a diesel-fitter. Today I am driving a bob-tail."
The room erupted into a low buzz as the patrons attempted to get traction with Dan's list of professions. Then it faded.
The barkeep's eyebrows contracted in consternation. Clearly, none of those words meant much to him.
"Do you have any hobbies?" he queried.
"Yup. I do taxidermy" Dan patiently replied. He sure wanted that cold beer.
Turning it over in his mind, the barkeep decided to dig a little deeper. "And just what, exactly, do taxidermists do?"
Dan answered "I mount dead animals."
Suddenly the ice was broken. The barkeep burst into a huge smile and said "I think you are going to fit in just fine. Your first beer is on the house."
Dan said he didn't have to buy a beer after that.