Don't Mess With Indiana

Don't Mess with Indiana

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2009

I love Indiana. I love the people, I love the cities and towns, I love everything we stand for: corn, car racing, and the belief that any high school basketball team anywhere can win a state championship and have a movie made about them.

I moved here with my family when I was two, moved away for a couple years in my mid-20s, and immediately came back. I'm a Hoosier through and through. I grew up in Indiana, went to an Indiana college, and have started a family here.

I've traveled throughout the United States, and have been outside the country several times, but I'm always happy to come home. Once, I had an opportunity to interview for a job in Wisconsin, and as I was making travel plans for the interview, I chickened out. I didn't want to leave my home, even for the cheese.

Unfortunately, Indiana has gotten a bad rap outside the Midwest. New York City and Washington DC think we're a bunch of politically unsophisticated hicks. California and Oregon think we're backwoods Neanderthals who still haven't given women the right to vote.

Of course, I can brag about how Indianapolis has a Super Bowl team. New York got their Super Bowl a year later, but Los Angeles hasn't had a football team, much less a Super Bowl trophy, since Arnold Schwarzenegger played a pregnant dude in "Junior."

Personally, I'm tired of the urbane snootiness that oozes from the two coasts. You're not that special, coastal states. We're the freaking heartland of the entire country, you guys are the flabby arms.

In psychological terms, Indiana is the middle child of the country, between angry older brother New York, and California, the baby who was given free run and no rules. (And don't tell me Hawaii is younger than California. Hawaii is Cousin Oliver.)

We're not very fashion forward here in the Hoosier state either. The East Coast fashion Nazis never have anything nice to say about us Midwesterners, no matter what we wear, thinking we only wear overalls and flannel shirts. I'll admit, we're not always up on the latest fashion, but then again, we have more important things to spend our money on than a $500 pair of shoes.

Because here in the heartland, where the real people live, we dress for comfort and appropriateness. Not for style, not for fashion, not to impress other fashion Nazis.

See, here in Indiana, we don't feel the need to take arbitrary color and fashion advice from a bleach-blonde bag of hangers. We don't want to wear the latest in haute couture. We don't want an extreme fashion makeover. This is Indiana. We wear whatever the hell we feel like.

Weather is another thing that separates us from the rest of the country. We don't have problems with typhoons or hurricanes. We're safe from that kind of business. We realize we're not on the ocean, but then again, the term "ocean view" doesn't mean it may be the last thing we ever see during bad weather.

Earthquakes are very rare here too. We had an earthquake last year, and we're still talking about it. Unlike some other, more earthquake-prone states I could name, we don't worry about the southern third of Indiana snapping off and floating away down the Ohio River.

On the other hand, our big weather drawback is tornados, but we're used to it, having come from a long line of Republican politicians. We're in Tornado Alley, which means we get as many tornados before breakfast as California gets all year.

Hoosiers are a hardy, resilient bunch. When we get knocked down by a tornado, we jump up, shake our fists at the departing funnel cloud, and shout, "Is that all you got?!"

And we're nice people, unlike some other major metropolitan cities I could name. (*cough* New York *cough cough*) We've got such a reputation for being nice, there's even a name for it: "Indiana Nice."

We're America's Canada.

In Indiana, we don't like to hurt other people's feelings (not like those jerks from Ohio!), so we try to avoid telling people no. We'll put people off, tell them we'll do something later, and then never do it at all.

We call this the "Indiana No," which can be annoying and inconvenient, especially when you're dealing with the business world.

But if that's our only problem, it's a nice problem to have. We don't have a reputation for being rude and obnoxious, or shallow and self-absorbed. We're Indiana, and we like it that way.

So keep the $&^%#! out!

Like this post? Leave a comment, Digg it, or Stumble it.