From the OED’s inbred, perverted cousin, Urban Dictionary:
Although the idea of an Urban Redneck would at first seem an oxymoron, they do exist, and are actually quite common. There are three kinds of Urban Rednecks.
1) The Transplanted Redneck is found in urban centers all over the world. His job or his dreams have forced him to leave his native community in search of new opportunities. The Transplanted Redneck remains true to himself and his culture, despite immersion in the urban landscape.
2) The Poser is found all over North America, but is especially concentrated in cities in Nevada, Utah, and the Southern United States. These individuals may have no Redneck roots, but either seek acceptance in their new homes or have vastly distorted perceptions of the social norms in their adopted communities. The Poser might dress in full country/western garb, although he has never even been near a horse.
3) The Postmodern Redneck is also found all over North America. The Postmodern Redneck may or may not have Redneck roots. As opposed to “The Poser,” the Postmodern Redneck has experienced a philosophical transformation in which he rejects modernism and urbanity in favor of a simpler, more genuine way of life. The Postmodern Redneck is often an educated professional who owns guns, hunts wild game, and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty changing oil or cleaning a stable.
My housemates and I all grew up in or near the town of Port Orchard, Washington. Port Orchard is known for a few things:
- Great views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains
- Debbie Macomber, bestselling author of more than 150 romance novels
- Blue-collar workers from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
- A shootout in the Wal-Mart parking lot three years ago
- Meth houses
- The man who unsuccessfully tried to remove a stubborn lug nut by shooting it with a shotgun (no drugs or alcohol were involved)
- The Bethel Tavern
Two months ago, the four of us moved into a golf course community. Everyone in Fairwood Greens, “A Country Club Community,” has a landscaped garden and a nicely mowed lawn, and most of them drive cars they bought new two years ago. My landlords are saving our house for their retirement, a house where the back yard turns into the fourth-hole fairway. In the last two months, we have realized, with a little self-satisfaction, that we do not belong. I’ll walk you through our house.
We put a firepit on our patio, right next to the back yard that’s right next to the fourth-hole fairway, where we burn cardboard and wooden pallets, mainly, because the cottonwood we’ve been splitting in our driveway hasn’t dried yet. I got that wood for free off Craigslist, and according to my housemate, Alicia, “it smells like a barnyard’s anus.” Cottonwood is not good wood, but it was free. It’s been sitting in our driveway for a month, now, as we slowly split and stack four cords of it.
Our garage is full, too. We keep dirt bikes there. Brandyn has two bikes, both worth more than his ’89 Toyota pickup. One night, at one in the morning, I had to run into the garage and tell him to stop working on his bike when I remembered that we no longer lived on acres of wooded property at the end of a mile-long dirt road, and that most neighbors do not like waking up at one in the morning to the sound of a revving engine.
Once you come inside, you’ll see one of my favorite parts of the house: the shelves in the laundry room, where I keep my mountaineering equipment and my climbing gear, and where I store shotgun ammo and homemade stoves I built from soda cans.
In the kitchen, you’ll see our collection of empty beer bottles on top of the fridge. We keep one from each six-pack we’ve bought in the last two months. We’re up to thirty-five, plus two growlers. The sink’s broken, and it’s been that way ever since Brandyn accidently snapped the spout during the week we moved in. But we fixed it with some parachute cord, and as long as you remember to adjust the nozzle before you use the sink, it won’t spray it you in the chest. And on the kitchen table, which doesn’t have chairs, because we haven’t found free chairs, yet, we keep rolling papers, filters, and a bag of tobacco. None of us smokes regularly, but we wanted to learn how to roll cigarettes.
On the wall opposite the table, Alicia tacked up an American flag, complete with other dollar store Americana. That was from the day we decided to taste test cheap beers. We wanted to do our research, because we were seriously considering buying a pallet of Busch Light. We checked—it would have cost $1,500. And according to the taste test, Busch Light would have been one of the best picks.
Walk into the first living room, and you’ll find Alicia’s sound system, worth more than any of our vehicles. We plan to put cinder blocks on the floor so we can stack a second couch there, once I find a free one Craigslist that we can fit into Brandyn’s pickup. Then we can watch Buck Wild with stadium seating. In the second living room, you might see a spear gun under the couch. We also have a few dozen knives scattered about the house, ranging from little folding pocket knives to fillet knives to bowie knives.
This is the house that yesterday we stocked with groceries from Costco. We bought lunch from the Costco deli, too, even though we really didn’t need lunch, because we had stopped at least twice at every sample stand and had taken extra samples whenever the attendants weren’t looking. Brandyn bought a smoothie from the deli, and when he finished it, he rinsed out his empty cup in the soda dispenser and went to the hot dog bar to fill up the cup with pre-chopped onions. We used those onions for our Cinco de Mayo dinner.
We are the beasts of Fairwood Greens.
NPR called Josh “a modern-day Jack Kerouac” after he wrote about his 7,000-mile, no-money hitchhiking journey through the United States. Since hitchhiking, he’s found homes in the Pacific Northwest, the Episcopal Church, and the post calvin. He builds websites as the director of Branded Look LLC. Josh’s writing has appeared in places such as The Emerson Review, Front Porch Review, and Perspectives.