For those of you who don’t live in the middle, here are 11 things that we Midwesterners know:
1. Cow tipping is bullshit. I’m not claiming that there’s never been a tipped cow. I am not even claiming that some of you tipped one yourselves or really do know someone who tipped a cow. I’m just saying that cow tipping doesn’t happen as often as people who aren’t from the Midwest think it does. We all claim to know a cow tipper, though. Yeah, we went to school with him and his name was Wayne and he tipped more cows in one year that you ever even thought about tipping. This bragging is our version of being at Woodstock.
2. We know our way around a burn barrel. Most of the Midwest is flat, but not all of it. If you live in the hilly part of the middle, then you know how to prep a sled and you know how to start a burn barrel fire and keep it burning all day. You are also adept at saying “Don’t get that close, you’re going to burn yourself” and “Put some butter on it, you’ll be fine.”
3. We know that our Catholic church festivals are the best. Catholic church festivals all have that perfectly roasted sweet corn dipped in butter and honey and magic dust. The rides are sturdy and the games are fun. The cakewalks guarantee a perfect cake to the winner, no store-bought bundt cakes.
4. We know how to drive in snow and ice. Those people on the side of the road? Yeah, they are transplants to the Midwest.
5. Cornhole. Contrary to common belief, not every Midwesterner loves playing cornhole. Some of us find tossing little bags of corn at boards with holes in them boring. Even so, we’ve all played cornhole. At least once.
6. We are weirdly curious about what high school you went to. When you meet someone new, the discussion of where you went to school will happen in the first five minutes. We all know that we’re not talking about college.
7. Every third person is prone to saying “Don’t like the weather here? Wait five minutes and it will change.” These are the same people who will remind you in the summer how cold it was in the winter, and when you’re freezing your ass off in the winter, they will remind you how hot last summer was.
8. We take our euchre tournaments seriously. We take euchre seriously, period. Even casual games need a conversation beforehand about which rules will be followed. All nines and tens is a valid misdeal. We know that as long as we have four people and a half a deck of cards, then there is something to do.
9. Tractor pulls are fun. We can make fun of them all we want, but if we’re honest, we admit that if there is a tractor pull going on nearby, we’re going to watch.
10. We will feed any kid who comes in our house. If a kid refuses our food, we’ll ask at least three more times just to make sure. We will also dispense parental advice to our kid’s friends and not give it a second thought.
11. Jell-O molds. Once Midwestern women get to age 50, we feel compelled to suspend food inside of gelatin, just like our mothers and our mothers’ mothers did.
12. We don’t have an ocean and our mountains are not huge, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have beaches or don’t know how to ski.
13. We drink pop and we’re friendly. If you’re from Cincinnati, you can suggest having a three-way and no one thinks you’re a freak.
14. Sometimes, we leave and find a coast to settle on, but we still feel like we’re most at home when we’re in the middle.