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“Life in these United States…”

“Life in these United States” was (is?) the name of one of the small sections of jokes in every issue of Reader’s Digest that always poked fun (lovingly, of course) at the idiosyncrasies that make Americans American. After driving 3,200 miles from the Southeast to the Pacific Northwest, I discovered that each area of our country has its own endearing quirks that makes it unique. These lists totally play off stereotypes, but I bet if you’re a Carolinian or a Washingtonian you’ll find yourself smiling at more than one of these!

You know you’re from North Carolina (many of these go for SC too), when:

  • You know Pepsi originated in New Bern, Cheerwine in Salisbury, and that Mountain Dew was invented in Lumberton.
  • You know Coke tastes better in the little bottles and that peanuts make Coke taste even better.
  • You have an opinion about UNC. You went there and loved it, or you hate everyone who did.
  • Your folks have taken trips to the mountains to look at leaves.
  • Your school took a field trip to the State Fair in Raleigh.
  • You would elect Richard Petty or Ric Flair for governor if either ever ran.
  • You watched as Dale Earnhardt was the only man who ever lived who could go 200 mph, spin somebody out, call them a you-know-what, and win the race, all in the last lap.
  • You skipped school or work to go to Dale Earnhardt’s memorial service.
  • A tobaggon to you means a knit cap, not a sled.
  • You sold Krispy Kreme doughnuts for a school or church fundraiser
    before those glazed doughnuts went global.
  • When you’re traveling out of state, people ask if you’re from Mayberry.
  • You remember watching the ACC Tournament on television at school.
  • The local newspaper covers state, national and international news
    in one page, but sports requires six pages.
  • Most men in town consider the first day of deer season a national holiday.
  • Fifty degrees Fahrenheit is “a little chilly.”
  • You have no problem spelling or pronouncing “Conetoe” or “Topsail.”
  • Your school classes were canceled because of cold.
  • Your school classes were canceled because of heat.
  • Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waitin’ to pass a tractor on the highway.
  • Your school classes were canceled because of a hurricane.
  • Your school classes were canceled because of hunting season.
    Your school classes were canceled because of a livestock show.
  • You’ve ridden the school bus for an hour…each way.
  • You know more about ACC basketball than professional basketball.
  • You know the Carolina League is the greatest baseball league in the country.
  • You know tea is served sweet unless you specifically ask for unsweetened.
  • You’ve ever had to switch from “Heat” to “A/C” in the same day.
  • You think ethanol makes your truck run a lot better.
  • Stores don’t have bags…they have sacks and are called Piggly Wigglys.
  • You see people wearing bib overalls at funerals.
  • You see a car running in the parking lot at the store with no one in it, no matter what time of the year.
  • Most of the festivals around the state are named after a fruit, vegetable or tobacco.
  • Priming was your first job…and you know what it means.
  • Your idea of a really great tenderloin is when the meat is twice as big as the bun and comes with cole slaw on top.
  • You say catty-wampus, yunto, ill-ass and ah-ite.
  • You know the difference between a deer dog, a bear dog and a coon dog by the way they bark.
  • You put security lights on your house and your garage and leave both of them unlocked.
  • Your four seasons are almost summer, summer, still summer, and highway construction.
  • You can tell if another North Carolinian is from Eastern or Western North Carolina as soon as he opens his mouth.
  • You can spell words such as Ocracoke, Fuquay-Varina and Chocowinity.
  • When asked how your trip to any foreign, exotic place was you say, “It was different.”
  • Hyde County is considered a foreign or exotic place.
  • In the Piedmont, you see all the grown-ups go out and play in the snow.
  • Schools and churches hold barbecue fundraisers with banana puddin’ as the dessert.
  • Your folks would rather eat at Bojangles’s than McDonald’s.
  • You have actually uttered the phrase, “It’s too hot to go to the pool.”
  • You consider being a “Pork Queen” an honor.
  • You carry jumper cables in your car.
  • You faithfully drink Pepsi or Mt. Dew every day of your life.
  • You know what “cow tipping” is.
  • You have your own secret BBQ sauce.

and now, You know you’re from the Pacific Northwest when you:

  • Feel overdressed wearing a suit to a nice restaurant.
  • Know at least eight people who work for companies that manufacture computer parts, airplanes or athletic shoes.
  • Can tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai food.
  • Return from a California vacation depressed because “all the grass was dead.”
  • Take a half day every July 1 to find your sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • Remember the date, severity, time of day, where you were, and how long you were out of power and phone service for very winter weather event in the last five years
  • Feel guilty for days after throwing an aluminum can in the trash instead of recycling it.
  • Get very, very happy when the early morning weather forecast includes the term “sun breaks.”
  • Are able to use 10 words to order a beverage the rest of the country calls “coffee.”
  • Have ever called your insurance agent to ask if your homeowner’s policy covers falling trees, flooding, or mud slides-or if the number of your favorite roofing company is on your phone’s “speed-dial.”
  • Never go camping without waterproof matches, ponchos, and mattress pads that double as flotation devices.
  • Know more people who own boats than air conditioners.
  • Moved to the Northwest because you read that the two most popular hobbies are fishing and reading. Since arriving you’ve taken up fly fishing and learned to tie flies by reading a book.
  • Consider that if it doesn’t have snow on it or has not recently erupted, regardless of elevation, it is a “hill” and not a “mountain.”
  • Complain about Californians until the day you sell your house to one for twice what you paid for it.
  • Don’t complain about Californians because you’re secretly married to one or are dating one.
  • Personally know someone from Alaska.
  • Find a wallet with $500 in it, return it all to the owner, and refuse a reward.
  • Know the difference between Chinook, Coho, and Sockeye salmon.
  • Used to live somewhere else.
  • Believe swimming is not a sport but a survival skill to prevent boating deaths.
  • Believe swimming should only be done indoors, except in emergencies.
  • Own more than 10 articles of clothing that have the names of microbreweries/brewpubs printed on them. Bonus for embroidery.
  • Wave at people who drive Ford Explorer sport utility vehicles like yours.
  • Basically, you just drive down the road waving.
  • Can point in the direction of two or more volcanoes even though you can’t see them through the clouds.
  • Think downtown is “scary” because you were panhandled there, once.
  • Go to work and return home in the dark in the winter, even though you only work an eight-hour shift.
  • Replace your hiking boots with Birkenstock or Teva sandals when the weather gets above 60 degrees.
  • Believe people who use umbrellas are wimps or Californians, or both.

*These lists are neither from Reader’s Digest nor my own creation; they are from chain emails that have been going around for years and have no known, agreed upon author.

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