1. You have no opinion about the “Missouri vs Missourah” debate.

No, it’s not that locals pronounce it “Missourah” and outsiders pronounce it “Missouri.” Nor does it have anything to do with whether you live in the Ozarks. Most people say “Missouri” and some people say “Missourah” and that’s all cool.

2. You took Hunter Education in school.

Our school literally had us line up in the gym and take turns firing rifles at targets. We were also required to pass a written test on gun safety and hunter safety. Don’t say that Missouri doesn’t take its hunter education seriously.

3. You also had to take a Missouri Constitution Test to graduate high school.

Missouri doesn’t let its students graduate without passing a written test on both the US and Missouri constitutions. Many of us spent a few weeks in high school playing “Missouri Constitution Jeopardy” to prepare for the test. “I’ll take Preambles for $800, Mrs. Harris!”

4. You describe locations in “time it takes to drive to St. Louis.”

St. Louis is often used as an arbitrary endpoint, as in: “I live in Hannibal. It’s about two hours north of St. Louis.” People from Missouri will often say things like that to people from other states, as if everyoneelse automatically knows where St. Louis is and why it’s important that Hannibal is two hours away.

5. You’ve been in the Mark Twain Cave.

While we’re on the subject of Hannibal, you probably took at least one trip to the Mark Twain Cave. Did your tour guide do the thing where they turned out all the lights and showed you what the cave would have looked like when Tom Sawyer explored it by candlelight?

6. You tried out to play Tom Sawyer or Becky Thatcher.

Hannibal’s Tom and Becky Program invites 7th graders to dress up as Mark Twain’s favorite characters and become “goodwill ambassadors” for the local area. If you got to be a Tom or a Becky when you were in 7th grade, you know you were the coolest kid around.

7. You know what a “rural route” school is.

It’s a school for everyone who lives on the same rural route! It’s self-explanatory! What’s a “rural route?” Um… there are rural areas, and they’re connected by roads, and… oh, it’s a US Post Office designation? Good to know.

8. You took a school field trip to the St. Louis Science Center.

It’s practically required that every Missouri child visit the St. Louis Science Center at least once, preferably arriving in a school bus with at least 40 other children. If you were really lucky, your school got you tickets for the OMNIMAX Theater.

9. Forget Walt Disney World: You had Six Flags St. Louis.

The Science Center wasn’t the only reason to visit St. Louis — you also begged your parents to take you to Six Flags at least once every summer, so you could ride the Screamin’ Eagle or Mr. Freeze. The really lucky kids had season passes.

10. You’ve been to Silver Dollar City.

Shhh. Don’t tell non-Missourians how much fun Silver Dollar City is. They still think only senior citizens go to Branson, and there isn’t a secret amusement park with water rides, an old-timey fun house, andsix roller coasters hidden in there.

11. You were in 4-H.

A lot of us Missouri kids were in 4-H, studying everything from livestock to nutrition to technology. Many of us ended up exhibiting what we learned in 4-H at the county or state fairs. Did your exhibit win a ribbon?

12. You’ve heard Truman State University described as “the Harvard of the Midwest.”

Never mind that half-a-dozen other Midwestern schools want to claim that title. Missourians know that there can only be one other Harvard besides Harvard, and it’s Truman State.

13. You had to deal with everyone driving over the state line to buy fireworks.

Fireworks are legal in Missouri, which means there are a lot of fireworks stands set up along the highway come summertime — and a lot of people driving over the state line to get those fireworks, even though they might be breaking the law by shooting off those fireworks in their home state…

14. You know that you’re supposed to call that one part of Missouri the “boot heel.”

Because it’s shaped like a boot heel, of course. What else would you call it?

15. You do, actually, like people to show you things.

Generations ago there was some apocryphal story about some Missourian saying “Show me!” and we’ve been stuck with the “Show-Me State” nickname ever since. But it’s kind of true. Want a Missourian to believe something? You had better be ready to provide proof. After all, we grew up in the land of tall tales, jackalopes, and those “weather predictor dolls” that come with a little index card that reads “If the doll is wet, it’s raining.” You’ve been fooled once and you won’t be fooled again.