1. Judge everyone who doesn’t prepare sweet corn like your mom.

You harken back to the days when you detasseled it yourself, when you came home crying, covered in sunburns and corn rash after 10-hour shifts in the same field over and over in the middle of July. You got tackled endlessly and could never see it coming, you waded through families of skin-crawling corn spiders, you got poked in the eye too many times by razor-thin corn leaves and now you have to witness the travesty of overcooked sweet corn on top of it? No. No, no, no. Unacceptable.

2. Learn the difference between the aromas of pig sh#t and cow pies.

Each one lies on the spectrum of 1 to Cedar Rapids.

3. Learn every famous fact about Iowa.

Quick! What do Ashton Kutcher, John Wayne, Captain Kirk, Elijah Wood, and Kurt Warner all have in common? Easy.

What’s Madison County famous for? Duh.

Wright County? Too obvious.

The world’s largest frying pan? You’ve taken a selfie with it.

4. Pick a side — Hawks or Cyclones.

Seriously. Just pick. Go grab your 12-pack of Coors Light, set your alarm for 6 AM, and we’ll go off to the triangle and make the same poor decisions everyone else is making. It’ll be great! You’ll fit right in. Oh, and be sure to brag disproportionately if your team wins, even though you and everyone else knows neither side is going anywhere.

5. Start making bi-monthly trips to “Little Minneapolis.”

Ah, a hint of culture. Asheville, watch your back. Between Ray Gun, Zonwerld, and Zombie Burger — it’s hard to leave. Make sure to post vague Facebook statuses about going to “The Village” because they make you feel like a real person. And gaze upon those Social Clubbers with hints of both jealousy and disdain.

What’s it like being a part of “the best nightlife in the Midwest?” Sigh. You’ll never know.

6. Get legitimately excited about C-list musical groups.

There’s a Journey cover band coming to McElroy next month and later in the year the Texas Tenors are at the Civic Center?! It’s like Christmas all year ‘round! One of these days Eiffel 65 is going to come, you just know it.

7. Cover everything you eat in ranch dressing and blame your increasing waistline on cold winter months and seasonal depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing, okay? Back off, you’ll work on it come May when you can finally wear shorts and have the motivation of Adventureland to get your act together. You don’t care what you have to do, you WILL look damn good in Professor Bellows’  old time-y photos. It’s the 6th year running that your Dad has let you hold the Jack Daniels bottle! Score.

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8. Convince yourself that cornfields are prettier than mountains.

What’s not pretty about being able to see for miles and miles and miles? So much fresh air. So much…nothingness. You hear that? Nope, not silence. Not the wind blowing through the corn stalks. That’s Buzz’s tractor revving from 5 miles away. Funnily enough, he’s also 5 minutes away and you can hear him humming:

“Crops are green, tractors are red
If it ain’t red, leave it in the shed.
Hold my beer while I slay this Deere.
I’ll be a part of the green when I’m dead.”

9. Leave home in your 20s.

Because the ocean is probably pretty and you’re wondering what kale tastes like. You also want to conquer your fear of parking ramps eventually, right?

10. But then come back in your 30s.

Because despite the fried butter on a stick, despite the crappy weather, and despite the fact that you’ve yet to meet someone who can locate Iowa on a map, why would you want to raise a family anywhere else? Great education? Check. Great people? Check. Safe communities? Check. Delicious maidrites followed by a 42-oz “pop” and a slice (or two) of rhubarb pie?

Check, check, and mmmmm, check.