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How To Tell You're From Kansas...UPDATED
In a box from storage the other day I came across an old...really old...list of how to tell if you're from Kansas, aka the Land of Oz. Or as the Board of Tourism spelled it to their everlasting regret, the Land of Ah's (apostrophe theirs).
Having lived in Flyover Country most of my life, I'm now an ex-Ozzer - or Ah'ser - voluntarily transplanted to the current inferno called Central Oklahoma.
Seeing the list again, though, was a trip down Memory Lane, but it definitely needed updating. While doing that, I added a few personal observations on Life in the Sunflower State.
Some things haven't changed.
You know you're from Kansas if:
- You no longer associate bridges or rivers with water.
- Your school has ever cancelled classes because of the cold.
- Your school has ever cancelled classes because of the heat.
- You've had to switch from heat to AC (and back) in the same day.
- A tornado siren is your signal to go outside and look for a funnel.
The next three items will give you an idea of how old the list is.
6. You never met any celebrities. (Bob Dole doesn't count - he's your neighbor.)
Correction: The long-time U.S. Senator and presidential wannabe was only a neighbor of Russellites (Russellians?) for about 5 minutes before he went off to WWII. After that, Liddy's Little Pineapple only came "home" at election time...and only long enough for photo ops with a few select locals. And who wants to claim to have been a neighbor of the "Viagra guy" anyway?
Obama's future grandparents don't count either, because they weren't in the Augusta-El Dorado area all that long before they took daughter Stanley Anne off to Hawaii. Maybe they knew Eisenhower had a lock on the "President from Kansas" title?
7. "Going on vacation" means going to Hutch to the State Fair, to Abilene to see Ike's house, or Boot Hill to see Miss Kitty.
These days, by the time the State Fair opens, the kids have been in back in school for almost a month. So "going on vacation" more likely means going to Topeka for the races, then north to one of the Indian-owned casinos that has a hotel and live entertainment, and if Abilene is on the itinerary, it's for lunch or dinner at the Brookville Hotel, not to see where Ike grew up.
(Consider yourself in the "old geezer" class if you know who Miss Kitty was.)
8. A Mercedes-Benz is not a status symbol. A Ford F-150 4X4 is (except in Johnson County).
These days substitute Cadillac Escalade for the Mercedes and any crew cab pickup big enough to have its own zip code for the F-150 (except in Johnson County).
For those who "aren't from around here": Johnson County is an blanket term for the upscale suburbs on the Kansas side of KC. So the two main regions of the state are Johnson County and Everything Else (meaning the other 104 counties) in the same way England is divided into Greater London and Everywhere Else. Johnson Countians, btw, would happily secede from KS and become part of Missouri if they could get away with it.
On with the list...
9. You know everything tastes better with Ranch.
10. You know what the One-Finger Wave is and where you're expected to use it.
More importantly, which finger to use to execute it properly. (No, NOT that one...)
11. A traffic jam involves two cars staring each other down at a 4-way stop, each determined to be the most polite and let the other go first.
This is one of those situations where the One Finger Wave is expected. Another is when one vehicle meets another on a gravel road in the middle of nowhere.
12. You discover that in July, it only takes two fingers to steer your car.
This method of steering can be mistaken for the One Finger Wave. If so, just smile as if you meant it to be.
13. Your closest neighbor is a mile away, and you can still see him from your front porch.
This one only applies to those parts of Kansas south or west of Salina, but comes in handy when driving at night out around Liberal with a big storm coming at you. You can spot a farm's yard light from miles away and if need be, head for shelter there like a moth to a flame.
14. You call that smell coming from the feedlot...money.
15. You can properly pronounce Salina, Basehor, Olathe, El Dorado and Kechi.
What. You thought I'd make it easy for you and give the correct pronunciations, thereby ruining the fun for locals if you're an out-of-stater dumb enough to get off the interstate and ask directions to these places?
16. You know the name of the state directly south of Missouri is pronounced "ar can saw" but the river and town are "ar KANSAS".
...and that anybody who calls the river "the Arcansaw" or the town "Arcansaw City" instead of Ark City definitely ain't from around here.
17. You know the difference between 3.2 and 6 point and have made beer runs to another state more than once.
Only if you're a complete idiot who likes to waste gas. You can buy 6 point at any liquor store!
I should add that Ark Citians are used to Okie tags at their liquor stores, because only 3.2 is sold in OK. But it all works out because the nearest casino on the KS side is a couple hundred miles north, so KS tags are a common site in the parking lot of the casino in OK a hair over the state line from Ark City.
18. The terms Sooners and Huskers cause the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up straight and your blood pressure to rise.
Actually, I was never into college ball, but did understand the wisdom of my friends and I not mentioning that we were on our way back to Kansas that Saturday in the restaurant in Lincoln during the Nebraska-Kansas game...and Nebraska was losing.
19. You've been in one of the 10 cars waiting to pass a combine on the highway.
Only if I forgot wheat harvest had already started and took the two-lane instead of going two miles out of my way to hop on the interstate.
20. You've seen people wear bib overalls to funerals and weddings.
And your point would be?...
21. You think people who complain about the wind in their state are sissies.
...or jealous because it doesn't blow hard enough to get 'em a wind farm.
22. You know exactly what calf fries are, and eat 'em anyway.
Well, I never heard 'em called "calf fries". They've always been "mountain oysters". The small ones are the most tender, go down like candy, and are best eaten while consuming pitchers of ice cold beer.
Real beer, that is, not the poor excuses for it with "lite" on the label or brewed in the back room of a trendy sports bar. Puhleeese...
23. You have owned at least one belt buckle bigger than your fist.
I personally have never owned one, but a cousin won one in 4-H for calf-roping or some such. And they were a common sight on Saturday nights in any bar offering live country music.
24. You have been asked at least a hundred times "Where's Toto?".
To which my automatic response is: "You ain't from around here, are you?". OR...(on a Saturday night in a bar that offers live country music) "Toto's outside, same as you'll be if my boyfriend with the belt buckle bigger than his fist sees you hittin' on me".
25. You learned how to shoot a gun and/or drive before you learned to multiply.
No need to learn to multiply now - there's an app for that on your cell phone!