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Southern measures
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It's a hoot to be a Southern boy living in a culture with deep roots in the old ways. Consider the language we use down south. When we want to tell somebody we'll be delayed delivering on a promise, we'll say, "Well, I'm running a tad late." That phrase always tickles me. First off, no one around here runs to do anything. We're a relaxed culture. Second, just how much is a "tad" anyway? I've been kept waiting for hours by someone who said, "I'll be in the store just a tad longer," and I know some folks who have been waiting since 1978 after being told, "Just give us a tad more time to get the rent money together." That's just how we do things in the South. Where language is involved, we prefer color over precision. There are some other great southern measures. One of my favorite measures of time is "shakes of a sheep's tail." You can almost hear that waitress saying, "Now honey - I'll bring you some fresh coffee in two shakes of a sheep's tail!" Personally, I don't think even the best waitresses can do anything in less than nine shakes of a sheep's tail. I suppose we could time the pros down at the Waffle House, but thats not easy, considering that sheep's tail timers aren't exactly an everyday low-priced item at Walmart. The best you can do is estimate. We all know that you can say "one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi," and thatll be about three seconds long. So, maybe there's a similar way to measure in sheep tail time. Maybe if you say "one upstate New York, two upstate New York, three upstate New York," or something similar you can approximate how long it takes for your average sheep to shake its average tail. But be careful about how you act on this advice. If you sit at the counter of your favorite cafe, mutter something to the waitress about how shes "gotta be faster than nine sheep tail shakes," and keep repeating "upstate New York," you'll find out about another great southern measure of time. It's called a "jiffy," and it's approximately how long it will take before you get a visit from those guys with the white coats. So, if you see the waitress pick up the telephone, you'd better shake your tail out the door in a jiffy. Southern culture is tolerant, but only a tad.