Never let the other felloe set the agenda.
The year was 1980. I was living in northern New Hampshire. The small town I lived in was surrounded by mountains. It isn't that the local population considered themselves mountain people especially, although many of them would ski in the winter and the men would go out into the forests during hunting season. It was rather that people who didn't come from there were called "flat landers." I moved to the area from New York City. I was a flat lander.
I worked as the morning disc jockey for the local radio station. I hit the Star Spangled Banner at 6 a.m. and commenced many hours of broadcasting. My shift ended at 1 p.m. In the good weather I would usually go for a hike in the mountains near by. But as hunting season came and then the Winter I made a different agenda for myself.
One block away from the station was a bar and restaurant. I would go there, have a couple of beers at the bar, have lunch, stay around and chat with folks until it got dark then I would go home.
One afternoon I walked into the bar and found that the bar stools were all full of local guys. They all knew who I was because I woke them up every morning, gave them their weather forecast, road conditions, school closings and so forth. It was the only radio station in town. They depended upon me. In between I tried to play their favorite music and give them some harmless, amusing chatter. So I was no stranger to them. But, still, they were all native mountain boys and I was a flat lander. As such they wouldn't acknowledge me beyond a friendly nod.
So on this particular day I went into the bar to find the entire bar section filled up with those good old New Hampshire boys. I went to the service side of the bar and ordered a beer. One of the men at the bar, who was sitting in the middle, knew me because he was the mechanic who worked on my car. He spoke up with a slightly mischievous grin in his voice and said "Dana. Why don't you have a seat?" It was a friendly challenge, with an edge.
All conversation stopped. There was silence, drinks were poised in mid air and everyone waited. There was tension in the room. A response from me was absolute and all were ready to hear it. I thought for a short moment and then said "Can't. There's too many asses and not enough chairs."
That was it. Some of them laughed, others grinned and a few looked at me and nodded. The tension broke. I had passed the test. I was in. After that none of them had any trouble being friendly with me.
"You know something, Dana, you're a cool guy for a flat lander."
Dana Bate - The Vagabond
Never Give Up