Especially Hogzilla. This interview with my cousin made me laugh.
I feel like also my family has this tradition of telling ridiculous stories, and teasing children a lot with ridiculous stories. Trying to scare them with stories of ghosts, whereas nowadays, childrearing has certain rules about protecting the tender beings. I actually have a toddler, and do I tease her a lot. I play around with the boundaries of what kinds of things are OK to introduce. Because I feel like the things I was introduced to—especially the humor and the teasing—creates a certain form of resilience and humor.
Q: Do you think that’s just a Southern thing?
A. Probably not, but it does seem like, compared to say, people I know from the Midwest—they seem more stoical. In Maine, I read a story about some girls who went to a slumber party, and this Jesus-freak granny comes downstairs and starts ranting about the Book of Revelation, and it’s got all this graphic grotesque imagery and lots of humor, and then she levitates briefly. They all stared at me with not one crack of a smile. I asked my host, “What’s up? Wasn’t that story kind of funny? No one laughed.” And he was like, “They were all raised on farms, and life was harsh, and it snows for eight months of the year.” So maybe there’s something in the delirium of the South that creates this kind of thing.