Podunk — Too Complex for Pundits
My hometown of Podunk has been in the news lately. We made two Top 10 lists — one for Idaho’s #2 in the most beautiful, charming small town contest, and one for being Numero Uno in the Most Redneck Town in Idaho race. Frankly, if you know much about Idaho, the latter prize is the more hotly contested.
Which is it, Podunk? you’re all asking me. Hotbed of charm or hillbilly?
Let’s address the first issue. In the delightful and cheery Power of Positive Podunkery, blogger Jennifer Brooks mistakenly assigned Hailey the top spot for beauty and charm. Wrong. Hailey has traffic. Traffic is ugly. Podunk wins.
Frederick Marksman, who writes for the enviously named Roadsnacks.com, provides as a disclaimer that we’re not to freak out, the Redneck analysis is infotainment based on science. But then, you read the comments on the site, and you realize that Rednecks can type comments, but not read disclaimers cautioning against freak outs.
The damning evidence provided in Top Idaho Rednecks, includes a thorough analysis of:
- Number of bars per city
- Number of mobile home parks per capita
- Number of tobacco stores per city
- Number of places to get fishing gear
- Number of guns and ammo stores per city
- Walmarts, Bass Pro Shops, and dollar stores nearby
This is what Marksman was able to come up with for Podunk:
High school graduation rate: 78%
Bars per capita: 7th in Idaho
Dollar stores per capita: 10th
Now while I am most definitely not freaking out, I am questioning the science. I feel like dollar stores (note that we don’t get any credit for being Walmart shoppers… a hefty percentage of our population has probably not been far enough out of the county to get to a Walmart), drinking establishments and diplomas might make us seem like Anytown USA.
Iron Chef and I spent our honeymoon in San Francisco many, many moons ago. When you’re from Podunk, navigating a big city is like going to a wilderness, but with more dangerous critters. We landed at a watering hole in the North Beach neighborhood, and when the bartender heard we were from Idaho, he asked us if we had a pickup truck. Duh, we answered. Then he asked us if we had a gun rack in it. Where was he suggesting we would put our guns? The bartender was tickled, and we spent most evenings of that week at that fine establishment, since they so obviously understood us.
I’m curious…how do you know you’re in Podunk?
8 thoughts on “Podunk — Too Complex for Pundits”
Our test in NW California is the bar to church ratio….diplomas don’t count, our kids got nothin’ better to do …..
Mmm, good point No Cal Podunk. This requires further investigation.
Wrote a newspaper article a few years ago comparing Salmon, Idaho (our summer home) to our other residence in Point Reyes, California (population 600). I came to the conclusion that both places were politically nuts but each shared an equation that balanced everything out. As long as the number of churches and the number of bars were about equal, all would be well. I still believe that.
Podunk readers seem to be haring an important scientific theme here.
I like to study the ratio between churches and bars. If the churches outnumber the bars, the town is too stodgy and no fun. If the bars outnumber the churches, the town may be fun but only if you like to fight. Life is best balanced between fight’n, cheat’n and contrition’n.
I don’t know…anyplace that try’s to make kayaking a felony, is a bit over the redneck line!
Well now you may just have a point there….
I know I’m in Podunk when I pause to count the bars/churches while walking on Main Street and pickup trucks with stock trailers slam on their brakes and stop traffic in both directions so I can cross the street. Not because they think I’m packing heat, because they’re not sure who I am and I might be related to them. Thanksgiving dinners could be awkward for years if they hit me.