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This Ain’t Right, Oklahoma: Red Dirt

8:01 AM EDT on May 12, 2018

What does a septic servicer, an art gallery, and an auto shop all have in common? Aside from each of them being in the top three locations to film a low-budget porno, these are all local businesses that have the common denominator of being named after the reason my mom never let me own white shoes as a kid: red dirt. Oklahomans have an obsession with our soil. And it ain’t right.

So why is red dirt so red and dirty? Well for those of you who weren’t forced to go through 3 consecutive years of 4-H camp in junior high, red dirt is iron-rich and colored by the presence of clay that has been weathered down. This soil paints the landscape across the state, giving inspiration to generations of artists like Oscar Brousse Jacobson to create immaculate paintings of colorful terrain. It also gives every female I went to high school with something to slap an Instagram filter on and pair with their vague quote about Jesus.

Sometimes there is only one set of footprints in the dirt because Jesus carried me through. #jesus #reddirt #divorce #HashtagBlessed #ScrewYouKeith #oklahoma

Along with giving millennials something to Instagram, the term “red dirt” has also manifested itself as a genre of music defined by a combination of country, swing, rock, and getting blackout drunk with some guy named Dale at the Cross-Eyed Cricket Saloon. Having spent four glorious years in Stillwater, the birthplace of this music, I think a more fitting title for the genre is “songs to inspire your first public intoxication.”

But the red dirt infatuation doesn’t stop there.  As I mentioned earlier, many businesses across the metro are named after the soil. A quick inquiry on the google machine brought up local establishments such as Red Dirt Construction, Red Dirt BBQ, and Red Dirt Soap Company, among others. Come on, I think the names would be more original if owners just called their business Construction, BBQ, or Soap Company.

But locals aren’t just capitalizing on red dirt by naming their shops after it. They are also including it in their merchandise. The Red Dirt Craft Etsy Shop charges up to $30 for a pound of red dirt. Purposes listed in the company’s description of the soil include using it for blush, for detox (whatever the hell that means), and for eating. The overview boasts that Oklahoma red dirt is not only edible, but also vegan and filled with iron. My older cousins use to hold me down face-first in grandma’s driveway to make me get a mouth full of the stuff. Now grown-ass adults are forking over $60 a month to eat red dirt. Either 8-year-old Hayley was ahead of her time, there is a pica epidemic, or these people are dumb.

I think the only thing an Oklahoman has yet to name after “red dirt” is either a first-born son or a church. We seem to find a reason to incorporate the term into every other part of Oklahoma life. So why is this Well, as evidence by our archaic laws and tendency to elect the same ass hat lawmakers year after year, I think we are just bad at coming up with new ideas for things.

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God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt.  Follow Hayley on twitter @squirrellygeek

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