“The people here are dirty,” it starts. “Just look at them. Does anyone in this town even work? Nobody here wants to work.” Then it goes on, calling coal regioners all sorts of lazy, dirty, sketchy & poor.
I’ve heard it a million times from working class people that live in nearby farm country. This time, it’s my coworker.
I probably hear it to my face more often than others. People think it won’t phase me because I grew up in another valley. “It’s OK, you’re not really from here”.
You know what? I live here. I love this town. I love these people. And I wouldn’t trade my life for yours.
Yeah, a lot of us are poor. Before you take that as some kind of personal failure, take a look in the mirror. We all live in the same economy- we’ve all had the factories close & Wal-Mart’s kill off our downtowns. There’s not enough work to go around. Poverty is everywhere— just in some places it’s hidden behind closed doors and well-kept lawns.
Please, don’t pretend to be rich. Just be yourself, and don’t judge others to feel better about yourself. All the things you own are no status symbol to me.
There’s towns in farm country that aren’t much better off, but when I’m in them, I feel like I’m being watched. Like the gossip and judgement are hanging thick in the silent air. Its like you have to watch what you’re doing. You don’t see many people in the streets being themselves in those towns.
The coal region is different.
Here, we talk direct. We can BS with the best of them. Here, we help each other out and go through hard times with each other. We’ll give ya a hand, even if we don’t know ya.
There’s not so many people here that just work and work and work to look middle class. There’s a lot of people that have a job or hustle, put in their time, then go live it up.
We’re BBQ’ing every time the sun is out. We’re in bands. We’re at the playground and it’s packed. We’re in the woods like they’re our backyard.
If you wanna talk to someone new in my town, they are gunna talk with you for a good 5 minutes, and it won’t be boring. Nobody’s asking “what’s your job?” It’s more about telling good stories.
We like to hang out and we like to have a good time. Don’t waste your breath with judgmental insecurities. The only one it hurts is you, because you could be doing what you want with your life instead of hating.
And hey, if you ever wanna give that up, come on out!
We make our own fun. And a lot of it is as cheap as drinks at the bar ($1.25 a draft). Bonfires, trail rides, pickup sports, camping, fishing, hiking, partying, hunting, playing music, church, gardening. It’s all more fun when there’s more of us.
Did I mention offroading? That’s huge. I know you make fun of our town cus the ATV’s and trucks might be worth more than the houses. But your house isn’t gunna pull your friends up over the mountain at 40 mph.
Why don’t we drop this my-team, your-team stuff? We all gotta do better, together. Let’s have a good time along the way.