Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Keys to being a Minnesotan

Immigrants to Minnesota say that it's hard to adapt, that us native Minnesotans are closed off and cliquish. While that may be true, in my 31-plus years as a native Minnesotan I've noticed certain things that will make you stick out like a sore thumb so below are some tips on how to fit in to the Minnesota culture.

Know how to pronounce Wayzata and Edina. (Why-zet-uh and E-dine-uh) I've haeard both radio and TV personalities virtually slaughter these two lofty Minneapolis suburbs. As for the suburbs of St. Paul, they are so basic and forgettable that nobody cares so let's move along.

Know something about our cultural icons. For instance, Minneapolis used to have an NBA team (don't confuse the Minnesota Timberwolves with being of NBA caliber). The Minneapolis Lakers were a damn good team but moved to the greener (?) pastures of Los Angeles where people actually venture outdoors during the winter months and professional-quality basketball arenas abound.

Don't forget, too, about legends such as Paul Bunyan. He was a steel driving man who, as legend has it, stood eight feet tall and had a toenail on his penis. Legend also has it that his back was the first mode of transport across the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. Important man indeed.

Minnesota also has true, honest to God winters but they aren't nearly as bad as people would have you believe. In all seriousness, buy a pair of gloves and a warm winter jacket. Feel free to invest in a stocking cap and remember to keep your tires inflated. Lastly, don't walk out to get your mail barefoot in the middle of January. That will not end well and you could very well end up stuck to your ice-covered sidewalk for all of the neighborhood to laugh at... and we WILL laugh.

Buy a boat. In a state whose population is nearly 5 million there are just over 3 million registered boats so if you don't have a boat in your driveway people will know you're not one of us. If you can't afford a Glastron or Alumacraft, save up your milk jugs and cartons and build your own boat. Hey, if it floats, it's a boat. Right? If it doesn't float you could still enter it in a milk carton boat race. It seems like most every town with a lake in Minnesota sponsors a milk carton boat race during their cutesy little annual summer festival.

Finally you should learn to love hot dish (or as some refer to it, casserole). Church festivals and neighborhood gatherings will require you to bring a dish to pass and hot dish is viewed as an alternate form of currency in Minnesota. Tater Tot hot dish is always a classic but if you're in desperate need of a recipe, ask your neighbor. Chances are that any millde-aged Minnesotan has a shoebox full of hot dish recipes lying around that they'd be more than eager to share and recommend their favorite to you.

With the basics down, you're one step closer to fitting in. Just don't piss us off because while we'll just brush it off, after you leave we'll bad talk you until the day you die because Minnesota nice is just a myth.


M said...

lol thats awesome!

Anonymous said...

Minnesota winters "aren't nearly as bad as people would have you believe?" Seriously, that sentence is a work of fiction. Minnesota winters are horrifying. It gets to -40 sometimes! I endured two winters in Minneapolis and I had to sleep with a blanket wrapped around my head because the heat in my building couldn't keep up. You'd think that they'd have good heating systems in coldest city in America, right? Well, they don't.

Minnesotans are extremely clannish and unfriendly. I'm so glad I escaped that icy patch of flyover country for good.

Anonymous said...

The Minnesotans you met were probably not accustomed to hearing a person wine so much about something so easily prevented with just a few extra layers of flannel.

Jules said...

LOL, well that hit my funny bone!

Does owning one of those ships in a bottle count if you proudly display it in your driveway? that's about the closest I'll ever come to owning a boat.

Whiskeymarie said...

I'd also add to the list: If you want to fit in, forget how to merge while driving. We Minnesotans seem to have given up altogether on learning how to merge- being skilled at such a thing will only arouse suspicion, and will likely result in you not being invited to the big Christmas Potluck.

Mrs Marcos said...

Dude! WTH, why are you giving up the secrets?!?!

Clint said...

Nice, as a former MN'er and frequent visitor, I agree with all points. But can I get a ruling on the term "The Cities"? Drove me crazy when people would say that referring to the entire metro area.

My girlfriend wrote an extensive blog post about Minnesota and hot dish for Chicago readers. Check it out if you have a minute.