Battle of the backwoods barons

Chris Bateman
By Chris Bateman November 30, 2014 15:18

narrow-bridgeIt’s this time of year when we give thanks for living up here in the hills – far from the traffic, smog, noise and pressures of urban jungles like Escalon or Ceres.

When we visit our city friends, we wax poetic about the charms of our mountain homes – the quiet, the green, the scenery, the wildlife, the peace, the soul-soothing essence of it all. Then we look up to see our friends nodding off.

Back here at home, there’s a different challenge: We all live in the hills, so we end up boasting about how far and how deep in the hills we live.

There’s kind of a hillbilly snobbery to these debates.

“I live beyond the end of the pavement,” says one guy. “There’s no cell service out my way,” goes another. “The county never plows my road,” one-ups a third.   “I’m totally off the grid,” trumps a fourth. “I can’t get ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ ” checkmates a fifth.

But who really is the winner in this fight for bumpkin bragging rights?

The quiz below should solve those holiday arguments over which of you backwoods barons is the real deal.

  1. What kind of road leads to your place? A. Paved B. Gravel. C. Dirt. D. Goat trail into box canyon.
  2. Where do you get your water? A. Pipes. B. Well. C. Ditch. D. Steal it from ditch, then haul it 20 miles.
  3. What do you think of as the “big city”?A. San Francisco. B. Modesto. C. Sonora. D. Jupiter.
  4. What does the sign at your driveway say? A. “Welcome to the Smiths’ – Make yourself at home.”   B. “Private Property – Keep Out.” C. “Trespassers Will Be Violated.” D. “If you can read this you’re within range.”
  5. How soon is your road plowed after a storm? A. Within two hours. B. A day to a week later. C. By spring, maybe. D. Don’t care; have my own plow.
  6. How do you and your neighbors treat road signs? A. Respect and obey them. B. Ignore them, especially if nobody’s looking. C. Add spray paint, for aesthetic and maybe political reasons. D. Perforate them with bullet holes, no matter what they say.
  7. How often do you see sheriff’s deputies? A. Every day. B. Once a month. C. Annually, if we’re lucky – or unlucky. D. Only when they’re looking for murder victims in mine shafts – or murder suspects hiding in mine shafts.
  8. How do you communicate? A. Smart phone or landline. B. Ham radio. C. Yell across canyon. D. Fire gunshots across canyon.
  9. How far is the county seat? A. Live there. B. Ten miles. C. Fifty miles. D. Have no idea; surveyors still working to determine which county I’m in.
  10. Who are your neighbors? A. Doctors and lawyers. B. Carpenters and plumbers. C. Survivalists and fugitives. D. Armed drug-cartel workers.
  11. Where do you get your food?A. Safeway. B. Grow your own. C. Shoot your own. D. Silo of rice and beans stockpiled for Y2K still more than half full.
  12. If you die, how long would it take before anybody misses you? A. One day. B. Six months. C. How soon are warrants served? D. How often does witness protection check?
  13. What’s the most irritating noise in your neighborhood?A. Traffic. B. Bulldozers leveling lot next door. C. Flow of ditch or creek. D. Neighborhood meth lab blowing up.

Scoring: Give yourself one point for each A answer, two for each B, three for each C and four for each D. Here is what your score means:

13-22 – You may live in Tuolumne County, but you’re really a city slicker and may even drive a Prius.

23-32 – You probably can’t see Wal-Mart from your front door, but your SUV never leaves the pavement.

33-42 – You’re out there. You might get to town once a week, but friends care too much about their cars to drive to your place.

43-52 – You’re the real deal. You don’t want guests, you never leave your place and you’re ready for the apocalypse. Or at least you’re ready to be in a reality TV show about being ready for apocalypse.

Caveat: Wait a minute! You’re reading this from a computer screen? On the Internet?? Lose 50 points and go back to Escalon.









Chris Bateman
By Chris Bateman November 30, 2014 15:18
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1 Comment

  1. Betty Hobbs December 2, 15:50

    Thanks Chris for your unrelenting off-the-wall comments. I laughed all the way to the end and then completely cracked up on the last score!

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