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Wednesday, Mar. 12, 2003
Thank you for all the good wishes and thoughts and words expressed about the previous entry. Iím humbled, and truly fortunate to have both a way cool family as well as a collection of excellent writers who remind me that I do.

In a continuing spate of adventures that hasten the arrival of spring, it is once again time for the annual pilgrimage to the racetrack for the Outfoxed Crew, that being Ally and myself and Stu and his wife. We do this every year this time, the tracks and locations may vary but the show is pretty much the same. Like last year, for example.

It strikes me as odd Ė how I might be even remotely interested in NASCAR racing. Why watching loud cars going around in circles might pass for entertainment. How there might be some latent redneck gene buried deep within me. Letís see, is there some merit to the whole Jeff Foxworthy theory of how to spot a redneck and tag him as such?

1. I drive a pickup truck

2. I like to fish and I own a boat

3. I go to NASCAR races

4. I drink beer. Sometimes I drink lots of beer

5. I work in construction

6. I own more than one gun

7. I have a large black dog

8. I am not unfamiliar with the word asshole

9. Fine dining, to me, generally involves the use of a charcoal grill

10. Khaki pants and golf shirts are the highest expression of fashion

But thereís a flip side. The anti-redneck.

1. I also drive an SUV

2. I like to write, and read

3. I go to concerts

4. I drink. . .beer. But itís Lite beer!

5. Iím the president of the place where I work

6. I havenít actually fired a gun in years

7. My daughter has a very trendy gecko in a cage

8. When cursing, Iím fond of the use of unusual adverbs

9. Cuban food in a fine restaurant delights me

10. I do own a suit. And several ties. And a straw hat.

Iíve learned to go to the races and let the anti-redneck and the redneck in me co-exist. Since we both like grilled scallops in a butter and garlic sauce, and we both are able to carry on a conversation with aplomb, thereís usually no trouble. I can blend into the whole scene at the track, I can lug a cooler and sit for 3 hours watching large cars hurtle around, can whoop and holler at the appropriate times, can even do a passable rebel yell if the occasion calls for it (running out of beer mid-race comes to mind).

Tell the truth, if the circumstances were different and we were going to a horse show or an exhibit of fine art, things really wouldnít be much different. As long as we did it in the same way.

As long as we packed up an RV with enough gear for a transcontinental journey, camped out for 4 days in a large field with hundreds of other RVís, saw and reunited with friends from all over, stayed up until all hours singing wildly profane songs about the merits of bourbon and kept a campfire going 24 hours a day. As long as we were able to do that, the whole subject of NASCAR might never come up.

I mean, itís a vacation. Quite possibly the only one weíll take all year that could be labeled as such. We arenít likely to board an airplane and fly to the Bahamas, or spend a week in an exotic city, or do Disneyland or something. We need the sort of thing that can be done for under a grand. Something simple.

Something decidedly redneck.

So tonight, right after Stu and I go to the deli and select our steaks and pickup our charcoal and load several huge coolers into a borrowed RV, weíll fall asleep and dream the dreams of the open road, the flying entourage of campers down I-95. Tomorrow weíll arise at dawn and head for South Carolina.

Where they never met a redneck they didnít like.

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