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15 Things the Rest of America Can Learn From Ohio

by Matt Hershberger Oct 16, 2014

OHIO IS A RELATIVELY QUIET, unassuming state. It doesn’t make it into the national news all that much unless it’s football season or election season, and while the state does have a vibrant culture, unlike those of the coastal states, it tends to be a softer-spoken Midwestern culture.

Because of this polite Midwestern-ness, Ohioans may not speak up as loudly as they ought to on important issues, but there’s a lot that other Americans can learn from the great state of Ohio.

1. It pays to be indecisive.

Everyone always talks about electoral indecision as if it’s a bad thing. What those people don’t realize is this: no one panders to someone who has already made up their mind.

2. If you love him, let him go.

He’ll be super shitty when he leaves for someplace warmer, but then he won’t win all the championships he wanted and will come grovelling back to you in the exact way you always fantasized he would.

3. Diversify your portfolio.

Seriously, investing all of your town’s money in a single manufacturing industry is not going to pay off in the long run. Trust us.

4. If you can’t get the best musical acts to stop in your city, just build a Hall of Fame that serves as a giant monument to their egos.

They’ll suddenly be much more interested in dropping in. Seriously though, could someone else take the Hall of Fame? We can’t get Bono to leave.

5. The best waterfronts are on lakes and rivers.

In 100 years, when Florida and New Jersey are underwater, our shorefront property values are going to be skyrocketing. Also, it’s way easier to waterski on smooth water.

6. One of the best ways to get an employee to perform better is to give them a lot more money.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in 2013? Kinda sucked ass. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in 2014 after we dumped $115 million dollars on him? Kinda awesome.

7. Just because your neighbor is doing something doesn’t mean you should do it, too.

Especially if the thing your neighbor is doing is owning slaves.

8. Invest in the sciences.

It’ll pay off, and the world will have you to thank for things like the light bulb, the airplane, and the first man on the moon.

9. You can never have too much corn.

Corn is always good. So long as you have enough toothpicks.

10. It’s better to be appointed than elected.

Ask the only president, William Howard Taft — one of Ohio’s eight — to also serve as a Supreme Court Justice. Taft much preferred the judgeship. He also preferred plus-size bathtubs (after getting stuck in the White House bathtub), thus paving the way for the modern jacuzzi. Again: You’re welcome, world.

11. If you call something by the wrong name long enough, it becomes the right name.

Cincinnati chili is not, by many definitions, chili. Sure, it has meat and (sometimes) chili powder in it, but it could just as easily be defined as a bolognese or a ragu, and it isn’t really served like every other type of chili is served. But Cincinnatians insisted on calling it chili, and now Cincinnati chili is its own thing. Persistence pays.

12. Just bite the bullet and invest in public transportation.

Please. Our cities are more suburb than city, and we spend half of our goddamn lives sitting in interstate traffic jams. Just make the initial investment now and enjoy its benefits later.

13. Public shaming is still a totally viable method of criminal punishment.

In Ohio, if you get a DUI, you usually get the normal punishments — jail time, fines, loss of your license — but once you get your license back, you get bright yellow license plates with red lettering for a period of time. These scarlet letter plates (or “party plates” as they’ve come to be known) are really just a way of shaming you to everyone else on the road. What’s most surprising is how many you actually see out on the road.

14. Don’t ever tie your self worth to a sports team.

It’s a path that leads only occasionally to happiness and frequently to heartbreak.

15. Take care of your environment, because it’s totally possible for a river to catch on fire.

The Cuyahoga River was so polluted that it caught on fire on 13 separate occasions. Fortunately, the river has since undergone serious cleaning efforts, and it has since become less polluted. It hasn’t even caught on fire in 45 years.

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