Appalachia Through My Eyes – Don’t Know You From Adam

My life in appalachia Don't Know You From Adam

When I first started the Blind Pig the only internet service available in my area was dial up. Almost 5 years later-there still isn’t much of a choice.

Our county is ahead of most parts of Appalachia-we have fiber optic high speed that services all of our schools-including the local community college. And if you’re lucky enough to live along the lines between the schools-guess what you can have it too!

Wilson holler is not along the right power lines-even though we are fairly close, as the crow flies, to one elementary school.

In 2009 the girls were having more homework that had to be done online-and the Blind Pig was growing-so we bit the bullet and went with Wild Blue Satellite internet service. We’ve were mostly satisfied-it isn’t as fast as most services but its a whole heck of a lot faster than dial-up.

We recently heard Wild Blue had developed a new system-with faster speeds all for the same price. The program is under a new company called Exede. I’m still not clear if its owned by Wild Blue, if Wild Blue is owned by it, or if they are one and the same.

Anyway-I called our local company who installed our service 3 years ago to sign up. They called me back twice asking me to verify our information-then I didn’t hear a word from them for over a week.

When I called asking about the status of our installation the gentleman informed me our account information had been rejected by Exede. I said “Hmmph! I wonder why? I mean you don’t know me from Adam but my credit is good.” He said “What?” After I explained it a few more times I finally realized he didn’t have a clue what I meant about Adam, so I left that part out and he understood me clearly, advising me to call Wild Blue directly.

Is high speed internet hard to get in your area? Do you know what I mean about Adam?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    October 1, 2012 at 1:47 am

    How funny about the saying. I grew up with it. My mom was from Missouri and my Dad and Gram from New York state…have no clue whether it came from one side or the other, but it was always used and I’ve used it too and never thought about someone not knowing it.

  • Reply
    September 30, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    By the way, for those who may be reading who still have dial-up…..we don’t have cable TV out our way either. But DSL runs through our phone lines and we get high speed internet that way. So just because you don’t have cable TV doesn’t mean you cannot get DSL. Check with your phone company. I spent an hour convincing my cousin that she could possibly get high speed this way. And when she got back home she found out she could. She was SOOOOO happy.

  • Reply
    September 30, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    I started out with dial-up also. But as soon as I heard that DSL was available I jumped on that wagon as fast as I could. I don’t miss that squealing noise of the dial-up one bit.
    I have never heard of Exede. They don’t know me and I don’t know them from Adam either. LoL

  • Reply
    Carol Blanton
    September 28, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    My family has a similar version. You don’t know me from Adams house cat.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    I’ve used the Adam saying for most of my 71 years and grew up in Maryland. As far as the internet, here in eastern NC we use Suddenlink, which works okay. In Maryland, we had a small horse farm in rural Baltimore County. I was amazed that we got Verizon Fios before many parts of Baltimore City. It worked pretty well once we figure not to turn off the router connected to the computer. But we had to call the help line 3 separate times to get that squared away. I got so tired of not being allowed to circumvent the automated diagnostic service that I finally shouted into the phone, “I hate you!” Low and behold I was immediately connected to a live person. Sarah

  • Reply
    September 27, 2012 at 11:32 am

    I know about Adam…I thought that was common but maybe it’s an Appalachian thing too? Anyhow, my city home has high speed of course but my place I am building has satellite or dial-up only…with no hope for anything else for the foreseeable future…

  • Reply
    September 27, 2012 at 2:30 am

    Adam’s well-known in this part of the world too; the expression being very common. Many enquiry lines however are hosted by Indian companies so you end up speaking to someone in Bangalore which can lead to all kinds of misunderstandings!

  • Reply
    Madge @ The View From Right Here
    September 26, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    I know exactly what you mean…! And yes, we have a lot of choices for highspeed internet, but then I live in Seattle, a fairly large metropolitan area…

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    September 26, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Yes i know what you mean by Adam.. We are one of the lucky ones, we’ve got the fiber optic down our road.. I hate it so bad that they can’t get it spread out more so others can have it.. It took awhile for us to get it and then they just went so far up my road.. They finally got it all the way up about a year ago..I hope you can have it soon.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 26, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I never heard of an off ox or any kind ox for that matter until I was way up in school and we had to read Paul Bunyan. When we got to the part about Babe the blue ox, I asked what an ox was. When the teacher told me, I said “Oh, that’s a steer.”
    Daddy got a bull turned into a steer once when I was young. He had it broke to yoke and taught it to gee and haw and whoa. He had a real yoke he had bought somewhere but ever put it on the steer because it was still young and it wouldn’t fit yet. He fashioned a training yoke from stuff he had around the place. Before it got full grown times got so hard that he had to sell it. I’ll bet it got turned into steaks and hamburgers. What a waste!
    You know times were hard growing up for me and my family but if I could have traded my upbringing for what today’s children are getting, I would have turned and run like a whupped pup.
    So I know you from Adam and his housecat and his off steer!

  • Reply
    September 26, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Interesting article about teams of oxen.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    September 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    I live in South Florida among a couple of million people, so I get great service, but it will be different when we move to Brevard next year. They do have an interesting option there called Mountain Internet. These guys have put up a big FM Radio antenna on a mountain and they mount an FM-band transmitter/receiver on your house. If you can see the tower from your house you get quite fast service and if you can’t see it, it is a bit slower, but pretty good.
    No cables to run, which is a huge cost in the mountains, especially when the population density is thin.

  • Reply
    Sally Kennedy
    September 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Well yes, I do know you from Adam, blog wise anyway 🙂 One of the things we debate about retirement – could we move back to the “homeland” in So. Ohio and fight the broadband battle. According to one friend of mine they are about where you are connection-wise. My husband is hoping to teach on-line courses after we retire so IF it improves in a few years we might be able to realize that dream.

  • Reply
    Jen Y
    September 26, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Yes, I know who Adam is but I wouldn’t know him if I saw him. :o)
    We have high speed DSL through our phone line. We used to have dial-up as well & we like our DSL a lot more. We run three computers on it at the same time & the only complaints we get is from our teen son if he’s on X-Box live & dad’s watching a video at the same time. It does cost more for us than those who live in town – about 5 miles away. We pay up to three or four times more.
    The only other choices here are satellite but it’s unreliable & very expensive.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 26, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Hey, Mrs.K-the Appalachians run from way down in Georgia and Alabama to way up in Maine. So there are people in ME, VT, NY, PA, WV, VA, MD, TN, KY, OH, NC, SC, GA, AL and even up into Canada who are Appalachian too. Did I miss any? If we all could get together we could put a whupping on the rest of the country.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I have the “high speed Internet”
    but still lots of trouble. This
    morning my e-mail from your Blind
    Pig was in Spam again.ha
    I’ll find it where ever it gets
    put. And yeah, I’ve heard about
    Jack. He’s pretty popular!…Ken

  • Reply
    September 26, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    There is a “nigh” and an “off” animal in a team. Found this out when I was wondering about the saying, “don’t know him from Adam’s off ox”. Daddy & Mama used this phrase as well as the “don’t know him from Adam”.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Have heard about Adam all my life–and use the term, too. But how did “off ox” get started? Have heard that one, too, but not near as often.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    G’day, Tipper; the recovering Yankee here,
    We didn’t know from Adam when I lived in the tundra but I didn’t know about his house cat nor his off ox until I got to Kentucky. did you ever wonder what is counter to the “off ox”? Why, the near ox, of course. the ox-driver walks alongside the lead pair on the team’s left, so the “Off ox” is the one on the right.
    We’ve been fortunate enough to have DSL for about 8 years now, maybe more, but that’s because we live in a tiny city, about 1900 people, and we are within 3 miles of the ‘phone company’s central office, which is the limit of usefulness for DSL. Beyond that, people rely on Hughes or DirectTV for satellite cable, which is expensive, almost as slow as 56K dialup and non-existent in a rainstorm. As someone else said, our power company, an electric cooperative is looking at providing internet service via their wires but no decision has been made yet. I have been out in the boondocks a time or two and used my smart-phone as a ‘modem’ and gotten very good service, but not as good as I get at home with DSL.

  • Reply
    Mrs. K
    September 26, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Hey, I’m a transplanted Yankee – upstate New York, where we have lots of mountains too. I grew up hearing that expression about Adam and have used it all my life. Don’t think it’s just an Appalachian expression, but it is just an old expression that’s been around forever. Not many younger people use it today, I hear them use another, “you don’t know Jack _ _ _ _ ” – and I don’t mean salt!

  • Reply
    Sallie Covolo
    September 26, 2012 at 8:29 am

    For the longest time I was not allowed High Speed Internet, and Shoot ! I am only a few miles South of Sacramento, Ca. That is so funny, Tipper that he had never heard of the saying, “You don’t know me from Adam!” I did not realize that ‘saying’ was not very common .. Your column makes me realize what my VIrginia cousin meant when he said, “You think you are sophisticated with your “Yankee”accent, but every once in awhile, Western North Carolina is written all over you!”

  • Reply
    John Reese
    September 26, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Yes I know about Adam. Used it a few times myself. I have had a computer for about tweleve years, not the same one ,they don’t seem to last as long as me, and I have had dail up that long. They told me I had to live within a 2 mile radius of the service building and I’m 2 1/2 miles away. Talk about frustrating. Technology lol.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2012 at 11:41 am

    No trouble getting high-speed internet up in my little corner of Ohio.
    The man you spoke with must have been in a distant call center, I can’t imagine an Appalachian not knowing about Adam. I have heard and used that expression as long as I can remember.
    Best of luck getting the whole thing sorted out!

  • Reply
    Stephen Ammons
    September 26, 2012 at 11:16 am

    When you called Exede did the computerized voice tell you to press one if you wanted to talk to someone from this planet and press two if you wanted to talk in English? I am sure you were not talking to someone local or even from this country. As far as knowing about Adam or his house cat I say it all the time.
    In my area we have 30 mbps internet service but my check book screams everytime i mention it. I am wishing you luck on getting all the issues resolved and would hate to think you might shut it all down. 🙁

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 26, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I don’t know Jack Squat but I do know Doodlie Squat. Are they related?

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 26, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Yeah-Miss Cindy-I have Charter too and I know what you mean about when something goes wrong. It’s difficult finding someone who speaks English much less Appalachian.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    September 26, 2012 at 10:18 am

    We have Comcast/Infinity..what ever that is? It’s expensive so it must do something!..I had major trouble with it last night and worked until two or three this morning trying to reset my dials so it would come in correctly, something about a modem???
    I always thought “You don’t know me from Adam” meant that me/you/he/she/they/ didn’t know the beginning of anything, and was a reference to that person not having any knowledge of the Bible and that any “dumb-cluck” knew who Adam was and what he did! He bit the Apple (pun intended) and started all this mess, so we need to line up straighten up so we can thread the needle.. as does the dumb-cluck you’re talking to…LOL
    I’ve used that old sayin’ many a time…When I would get weird calls…mostly if they continue to call..I really try to be nice!
    Tipper what a great post, even if you are having Internet problems, How about a large tin can and hand out us some netting, of course we could supply our own little receiver can!….I hope you have the answer (to Adam) and I don’t have to eat CROW…seems I’m always doing that lately…Do you think it is ’cause it’s getting close to October and crows? Naaaaa

  • Reply
    Lonnie Dockery
    September 26, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Tipper, I know about Adam, lol! And I’ve got great internet. Remind me to show you!

  • Reply
    September 26, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I’ve heard that saying all my life. There was another the folks used to say that was similiar in meaning. “There was this feller down at the store the other day and he said he knew me but, I didn’t know him from a sack of salt!”

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    September 26, 2012 at 9:29 am

    I have service through Frontier(formerly Verizon) with wireless service through a modem. This works fairly well unless the phone service goes down. I thought every Appalachain Native had heard about Adam, Adam’s Cat and his brother Jack Squat. The guy you spoke with must not be from “round here”.

  • Reply
    Gary Miller
    September 26, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Hey Tipper,
    Wow! Yes the expression “He didn’t know me from Adam” has been around forever and it’s possible that you were talking with someone offshore. There are parts of the country that still don’t have high speed internet, and I bet it’s a larger segment of the country than most of us think. In Naperville, there is no problem getting high speed internet at all. Chicago is making WI FI available in all of the parks near Lake Michigan, or you can stop by any McDonalds or Starbucks for access. I’m sorry to hear about your internet dilemma but I kind of thought that once you got outside a major city you were pretty much out of luck.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Several years ago a friend from Louisville came to vist and needed to use my computer while he was here. I had dial-up at that time, while he had Bell South. He argued with me for ten minutes about the avaiability of the service in my area. He didn’t realize we still couldn’t get cable service out here. I think I referred to Jack, not Adam, during our argument. That person you talked to about your service must have been a transplant from God knows where. I can’t imagine anyone from Appalachia not knowing what you meant.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    September 26, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Oh yes, I know Adam and his housecat too! That guy you spoke to about your internet service must not be from around there. Where I live the internet is available from several companies. I would trade them all to be up there in the hills and hollers!

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    September 26, 2012 at 8:39 am

    We use ATT for our internet service. Even though it is supposed to be fast, I don’t think it is. It has been reliable, so I stick with it.
    As for Adam, I have used that phrase throughout my lifetime. It’s an idiom, something that should have been taught in school in a language arts class. We have quite a few of those types of sayings in the English language. Perhaps, since it has a somewhat religious connotation, it may not have been used.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2012 at 8:25 am

    All I can say is,he must have been very young or from outside the US, or taking your call IN another country, as so many companies outsource these days. I have always heard that term, and not just among Southerners- but on TV and movies,other regions of the country, etc.I find it very sad to re-teach the basics to today’s illiterate, when it comes to scripture and classics. Maybe we were smarter BEFORE the internet?

  • Reply
    September 26, 2012 at 8:21 am

    i have mega speed cable internet with an added boost that i pay for. and of course I don’t know you from Adam but I know you from blogland and love you. he must not have been from the south. hope you get your faster speed. when i use Rich’s computer at the nursing home, my blood pressure climbs really high ‘waiting’

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    September 26, 2012 at 8:18 am

    1. No
    2. Of course, but I still don’t know who his off ox is.

  • Reply
    Elaine King
    September 26, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Makes me wonder just where he was from, if he had never heard that old saying before. I always thought it meant you don’t know me any better than you would know Adam …couldn’t even tell us apart if you tried, cause you don’t know either of us. I wonder if everyone thinks that’s what it means?

  • Reply
    September 26, 2012 at 7:58 am

    We get our internet through Verizon using a MiFi unit; we’ve had our share of spotty service but when it works it works well. (We are on the border of Jackson and Macon counties.)
    As for Adam, I’ve heard the phrase often, and have used it a time or two. When I started reading your post today, I thought “what does the internet have to do with Adam”, but you came through with shining colors! Made me laugh out loud:)

  • Reply
    September 26, 2012 at 7:58 am

    I have my service thru the phone company so I don’t have a problem, but a friend does and has Wild Blue. She has problems with it from the beginning. Must not be a very good company.

  • Reply
    Barbara Woodall
    September 26, 2012 at 7:53 am

    I think I’d have better luck with internet in our mountains, if I climbed the pole and beat the messsage out with a stick.
    I do declare, a’body can lose a crop peckin’ away at these little black boxes.
    My connection is slower than cream a’risin on milk.
    As I bookleg round about and use common mtn. expressions, it’s like talking in tongues to the outer world.
    Well, I better get the rag out, the day’s a’wastin.
    Have a great one!

  • Reply
    September 26, 2012 at 7:48 am

    That guy must have been a Yankee. I have found the internet service here frustrating at best. Third world nations have better service. I’ve been calling around (again) looking for faster and more dependable service and have struck out.

  • Reply
    Kerry in GA
    September 26, 2012 at 7:47 am

    We had dial up for a while, then high speed came along a couple years ago. I’ve heard of Adam all my life and “older than Adam’s dog” too.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 26, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Of course I know Adam and his housecat. We have high speed internet and DSL around here, which are great when they are working, but there are a lot more wires and boxes with flashy lights. A lot more stuff to tear up.
    Coincidentally, I had just gotten the Blind Pig loaded up this morning when the power went off. I had to let my teenaged Sony Vaio boot up again, which takes it about ten minutes on a good day. My computer has only 256k of ram memory and isn’t even supposed to handle the high speed intenet but somehow it does. It just keeps plugging along.
    At work they have that lightening fast internet, but when you have to sneak peeks at the Blind Pig, it ain’t much better.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2012 at 7:27 am

    I have heard that phrase all my life. I would think that is a common saying in TN. I feel for you on your internet service. I have the Verizone mi-fi. It works good, just wish it was cheaper.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    September 26, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Yep, I know Adam but had also heard “you don’t know me from Adam’s housecat!” Good luck with your search for a speedy server.

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    September 26, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Yea I know about Adam, did you ever get Exede, we are on Wild Blue also was just wondering about Exedes speed?

  • Reply
    Ruthie Millar
    September 26, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Yes!! I have said that all my life and so has everyone I know. Sometimes we say “He wouldn’t know me from Adam’s housecat” . Do you ever say that?
    Love your blog Tipper!!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 26, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Of course I know Adam and I know you too, I also know you from Adam.LOL!
    I have Charter cable internet service. It works pretty good until you have to call them for something….then it is an absolute nightmare!
    Tipper I still don’t grasp how you were able to start your blog with dial up service. It just goes to prove you have the patience of Job. You know Job? He’s a decedent of Adam.

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    September 26, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Can’t believe that he had never heard that reference about knowing Adam. Guess we take too much for granted.

  • Reply
    Tim Hassell
    September 26, 2012 at 6:58 am

    I definitely know what you mean about “Adam”. I would also have known if you had said “from Adam’s house cat” or “from Adam’s off ox”. Of the two the “house cat” is more common than “off ox”. And yes “Hi speed” is hard to get in my area—-doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the internet or something else.
    Hoping that ya’ll all have a great day.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2012 at 6:38 am

    I knew what you meant. My mom has always said that.

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    September 26, 2012 at 6:36 am

    Yep, I know (I don’t know you from Adam). We have Broadband, the high speed fiber is across the 4 lane on the north side, we can’t get it. Sounds like someone needs to come to your area and put an antenna on a tower and start distributing broadband, that’s a common thing for rural areas around here. We actually have 2 companies that serve broadband in our area, the Electric Coop that I work at looked into internet service across the power lines but decided not to, for now.. Dial up,, been there done that, don’t want to go back…

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 26, 2012 at 6:16 am

    In our Murphy home nothing but dial up is available, not even satellite as we are surrounded by trees. I have heard and used “don’t know me from Adam” all my life.

  • Reply
    Canned Quilter
    September 26, 2012 at 5:52 am

    I would have understood Adam completely : ) When we first got internet here in the Holler only dial up was available. Just within the last 2 years we have been able to get a higher speed internet but if you live in town they have the fiber optic high speed.

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