It doesn't take much to get me bragging about Georgia, if for no other reason than it irritates the heck out of loud-talking Yankees who move here and look down their noses at us even though you couldn't get them to move back north with an ice axe and a snow shovel.
I admit that I jerk their humorless chains occasionally just to hear them yelp. That's the cruel streak in me. But more often than not, I have good, firm evidence of why we are so blessed and why loud-talking Yankees desire to live here: Our food is better, people are friendlier and our newspaper columnists are very modest and much-beloved.
If that wasn't enough, now we have one more reason to take pride in Georgia: Our governor doesn't make waves.
How would you feel if you woke up this morning to read that Gov. Sonny Perdue was acting like that Illinois governor with the long name and the bad haircut and was overheard on the telephone trying to sell Saxby Chambliss' U.S. Senate seat for $25,000 and a two-pound Claxton fruitcake - and to make matters worse, he was using bad words?
"No #$^% candied cherries in my #$^% fruitcake, and I want #$^% free delivery!"
As the natives know, we don't use a lot of ugly words around here. We don't have to. When we get irritated enough to employ the kind of four-letter filth Gov. Rod Blagowhatever of the great state of Illinois did, we'll hit you in the mouth instead. Southerners aren't much on talking trash. We tend to be more action-oriented.
Some critics say our governor isn't flashy. Well, we don't elect flashy people in Georgia. People in New York went gaga when Elliot Spitzer, a high-profile, crime-fighting attorney general, became their governor. Bad choice. It seems that Mr. Clean was making out with a ring of high-priced prostitutes at the same time he was putting away bad guys.
While Spitzer was playing hanky-panky with hookers, I am proud to say that our governor has been quietly tending to the state's business: He was giving an elephant a physical at the local zoo.
Don't laugh. That is dangerous work. Let's see Sarah Palin or Arnold Schwarzenegger try it sometime. Yes, Palin can shoot a moose and Schwarzenegger can crush androids with his bare hands, but try giving an elephant a prostate exam and then tell me how tough you are. (I'm told the elephant loved it, but that is a story for another day.)
My theory is that when politicians hang around the office too much, they tend to get bored, which can lead to trouble. Frankly, Gov. Blagowhatever would have been better served if he had gone back to his ancestral homeland of Serbia and pigged out on pickled cabbage, instead of sitting in his office cussing so much.
You don't have to worry about Sonny Perdue making that same mistake. For example, after watching our legislators calling each other names and acting like 6-year-olds during the last session, our governor threw his hands up and went to China until they assured him they would behave. During the gas shortage, he decided his presence was required in Spain and wisely turned the state over to his spokesman, Bert Brantley, who seemed to run things very smoothly while he was gone.
This is not to imply that our governor hasn't been busy since he has been in office. Not at all. Sonny Perdue will forevermore be known as the father of Go Fish Georgia, an innovative program unmatched in its creativity by any of his predecessors. It consists of a concrete fishpond, some boat ramps and $20 million we can't afford to spend.
So you Yankees can have your nasty-talking, skirt-chasing governors. We'll keep Sonny Perdue, thank you very much. When his two terms are over, Georgia will be the proud possessor of one concrete fishpond complete with boat ramps as well as a healthy and satisfied elephant.
Maybe that's not much, but in the great state of Georgia we don't expect much from our politicians. That way they always exceed our expectations.
E-mail columnist Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org.