Are You Offended, WV Hillbilly Sheep Farmer?

Young lamb during Spring lambing season

If you are easily offended, I say,  GET.  OVER.  IT.

Every few days we hear about some new group that has become offended, or the same group with a new thing that offends them.  I am close to being offended every time I hear such silliness.  One thing we must all keep in mind, something is offensive to you ONLY if you RECEIVE it that way.  What about this one, especially on college campuses, “microaggression?”  Whaaaaat?  Leave it to those outdated institutions to come up with something like microaggression.  That’s right up there with disenfranchisement.

I grew up in West Virginia, and often heard things that could have been offensive had I chosen to receive them that way.  Many times, when far from home, I would meet someone and tell them I was from West Virginia.  It was amazing how many times the person would make some reply like, “I know someone from Virginia.”  I would then proceed to tell them that West Virginia is a separate state… been that way since 1863.  The way I look at it, I am not responsible for the other guy’s ignorance, so why should I be offended?

One of the best ones came the first day I went to class as a Freshman, on the campus of West Virginia University in September 1959.  I went into English class and sat down beside an attractive coed. When I learned she was from the state of New York.  I asked her, “Why did you decide to come to WVU?”  Her answer did not offend me but it set me back a bit as she replied, “I wanted to see if you people wear shoes.”  And NO, I did NOT  look down at my feet after she said that.  While I didn’t cackle out loud, that is exactly what I would do today as a seasoned citizen who refuses to be offended by such remarks, plus the Bible says a joyful heart is good medicine.

That was not the end of unsavory remarks  about West Virginia, or about my major in Agriculture.  For many years I could feel the vibes from people about my lowly chosen profession in agriculture, especially if you chose to be a lowly farmer.  And shepherd is low on the totem pole compared to guys who wear western boots and big wide brimmed hats, with or without ownership of a herd of cattle.  I often refer to myself as a “Hillside Sheep Farmer,”  because, hey, that is what I am!

I like what I heard my friend Paul Ellis say one day when we were talking about the term “redneck.”  He said, “I’d rather be a redneck than the alternative of that.”  Well said, my redneck friend from West Virginia!  Actually, he now lives is western Virginia, not to be confused with West Virginia.  For those of you who don’t know the geographic layout of the two states, Paul Ellis lives about three hours WEST of where I live, and yet I am the one who lives in West Virginia. Got that?


4 Comments on "Are You Offended, WV Hillbilly Sheep Farmer?"

  1. LOL. I often have to educate folks I reach while doing business on the phone.

    Also, while in the Navy I put up with the hillbilly taunts.

  2. I made a very good living playing the dumb hayseed from WV role as a contract negotiator. I think the District of Columbia stopped laughing when One overtime grievance I filed for the FOP cost them 8 million dollars. Like you I went through the one leg shorter than the other stuff and just laughed at their ignorance rather than being offended.

  3. Michael Wilson | January 15, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Reply

    I think how we are perceived by the ignorant is a good thing and I fuel it every time I get a chance. I figure it helps to keep that riff raff out of “Almost Heaven”.

  4. Good point Mike. Outsiders can sometimes cause problems just like some guy who spent many years getting schooled and bathed in the culture/religion of Islam, who then later becomes a dictator in a country founded on Christian principles.

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