I took the opportunity to interview a few locals and get their perspective on life, and on living in the South.
First I talked to Becky, a dental hygienist who lives in the Germantown neighborhood of Nashville. Becky lives, breathes, and cleans teeth, so in her free time she likes to present informational handouts about dental hygiene to tourists and patrons in downtown Nashville.
Bless Your Heart: So Becky, how did you first get into dental hygiene?
Becky: My first baby teeth grew in when I was just two weeks old. Since then I’ve just always had a passion for teeth. When I was 7, my parents bought me a set of denchers that I could practice cleaning teeth on. When I was in high school I started the Clean Teeth Initiative, and I helped ban all candy and soda from the vending machines. I also ran an after-school session where I taught other students the ins and outs of teeth cleaning. I was licensed to become a dental hygienist when I was 17.
BYH: So you did you ever dream of becoming a dentist? Or were you primarily concerned with being a dental hygienist?
Becky: Being a dentist seems like a lot of work and I just never really felt committed enough to pursue that.
BYH: But you seem really committed to teeth cleaning. You said you’ve been cleaning teeth since you were 7!
Becky: Well I’m committed to cleaning teeth, not fixing them. There’s a difference.
BYH: Fair enough. So Becky, what is your favorite thing about living in the South?
Becky: My favorite thing would have to be how much sweet tea Southerners drink. All that sugar is good for business.
My next interviewee, Ray, works as a receptionist at a public relations consulting firm in the Brentwood area. Ray is also a singer-songwriter who plays guitar and loves all things music.
BYH: So Ray, are you more passionate about public relations consulting or music?
Ray: Oh man definitely music! PR kinda blows, honestly. I mean, it’s not that bad, but music is just like…everything you know? And it’s everywhere. It surrounds us, it penetrates us, binds the whole universe together, man.
BYH: Music is similar to the Force for you then? That’s an interesting way to describe it.
Ray: The what…?
BYH: The Force, from Star Wars. The way the characters in the movies describe the Force is almost exactly word-for-word the way you just described music.
Ray: I don’t know anything about Star Wars, man, I just know music. It like bores deep into your soul, like touches your midi-chlorians. Really deep stuff.
BYH: …Are you sure you’ve never seen Star Wars?
Ray: I’m telling you, I’ve never seen Star Wars. I don’t know what this Force crap is you’re talking about.
BYH: Alright, Ray, well what do you enjoy most about living in Nashville?
Ray: Music City, bro. Music City. Hey be sure to tell your readers that I’m playing at McNamara’s this Friday at 7 and they should come check me out!
My final local is Graham, founder and owner of Pest-B-Gone. Graham lives and operates his business out of Hermitage, just east of Nashville.
BYH: How’s your business, Pest-B-Gone going? Lots of calls this summer?
Graham: To be quite honest, business has been slow. Usually summer is a good time of year for us, but this new pest company opened up in Donelson [one town over from Hermitage] that’s been real stiff competition for us. Their prices are a heck of a lot lower than ours, because they’re a chain. We’re locally-owned and operated, so we just can’t compete with that.
BYH: Well I’m sorry to hear that Graham. Do you have any ideas for picking business back up?
Graham: I think I’m gonna go to that other pest place smash all their windows.
BYH:…Do you think their broken windows will help you gain some of your customers back?
Graham: Probably not. But we’ll definitely be out of business by the end of the year if things keep going this way, so I gotta find some way to stick it to ’em.
BYH: Well Graham I hope that goes well for you. Now tell me, what do like most about living in the South?
Graham: Well it used to be the large volume of pests that roam around and get in people’s houses. But my business is going under and I won’t probably won’t be catching pests anymore. So…probably country music.