1. You have fond memories of drinking Natural Light or Keystone in a field.
If you were born in Kansas, chances are some of the best memories you have revolve around getting together with a group of friends and drinking cheap beer on a hot summer night in a field in the middle of nowhere under an endless sky, dreaming about the future. It’s the simple things that count in Kansas.
2. You have seen The Wizard of Oz more than a dozen times.
Yeah, sure, there’s all the “How’s Toto?” jokes. Or, “We’re not in Kansas, anymore.” Fine, Kansans have heard them all. But, when I was a kid, it was a yearly ritual to watch the local broadcast of The Wizard of Oz and something to look forward to all year.
3. You’ve probably gotten your car stuck in a minimum maintenance road at some point.
In Kansas, you’ll spend at least some of your driving time on country roads. One mistake you only need to make once is to come upon a sign that reads, “Minimum Maintenance Road Travel at Your Own Risk” and then decide to chance it anyway. You think, “how bad could it be?” And then you find out it’s even worse than you think. It’s seriously an overstatement to call them “roads,” unless you travel by covered wagon, I suppose.
4. You have an intense hatred of chiggers and are convinced you’ll pick some up by stepping one foot on a patch of grass.
In Kansas, you grow up hearing that everything is part of God’s creation. However, you know that chiggers must be part of the devil’s design. These things have no decency at all and get on some parts of you that are not polite to talk about in mixed company. They’re nothing but bad news.
5. You can deal with all types of weather.
There’s a saying in Kansas that if you don’t like the weather just wait five minutes. And it’s true. I remember one week where it was in the 80s one day and then snowed two days later. Or it’s not unusual for it to be in the 70s during the day and then drop down to the 40s overnight. Essentially, aside from four to six weeks of the year when it’s really nice out, there are two seasons: too freakin’ hot or too freakin’ cold. Kansans can deal with it.
6. You have spent time in a basement during a tornado.
Some Kansans like to pretend to be impervious to tornadoes and think of themselves as Lieutenant Dan from Forrest Gump, only instead of climbing to the top of a mast on a boat in the middle of a storm at sea, it’s running out into the middle of a field challenging a tornado to hit them with everything it’s got. The truth is, however, if there’s a tornado warning, you go to the basement with a portable radio, some water, a flashlight, and brace yourself for the worst until the storm’s over.
7. Your idea of a drinking fountain is a garden hose.
I suppose there are people from some parts of the world that would be shocked to see a person pick up a garden hose and start drinking out of it. But that’s just how it is in Kansas.
8. Children of the Corn scared the crap out of you.
This might not be the scariest movie that’s ever been made, but when you grow up across the road from a huge corn field, near a small town, and everyone you know goes to church, it’s pretty freakin’ scary. Every time you walk down the road, you expect some creepy kids to come walking out of the field. You just know they will.
9. You’re fanatically devoted to either KU basketball or K-State.
Not both. Let’s just put it this way: You don’t walk around in Lawrence wearing a K-State shirt, and you don’t walk around Manhattan in KU clothes. And, living here in Lawrence, I can tell you the Wildcats don’t stand a chance against the Jayhawks. They just don’t, and that’s just how it is. I think everybody knows that. Of course, they’ll tell it to you the other way around in Manhattan, and that’s just fine. Everybody ultimately supports whichever team makes it to the championship simply because they’re from Kansas.
10. You have mastered the art of being polite.
Kansans are polite to a fault. Except, perhaps, when it comes to college basketball.