Ask for “soda.”

It’s “pop” here. It’s a fun word to say, especially when visiting us here in The North. But lord help you if we offer a Coke and you ask, “What kind?”

Tell us that our accents are cute.

I’m sure our accents would be cute if we had one. But we don’t. Newscasters across the country covet our neutral manner of speaking. Tom Brokaw is from North Dakota, and it’s basically the same sound (though NOT the same state – see below).

Act surprised or impressed when someone talks about their “cabin.”

Everyone has a cabin or knows someone with a cabin or has access to a friend or a relative with a cabin. They are not fancy. They’ve likely been in the family for years, have a slight tilt to the frame, and are more occupied by mice than people. But they’re tons of fun! Check one out if you can.

Compliment (or disparage) our casserole when we’ve just served you hotdish.

“Casserole” is an old French word and sounds like something eaten with wine or polished flatware. Hotdish is hearty, it’s served in a dish that really is “hot” (Minnesotans don’t mince words), and there could be just about anything in it. But it’s good for you, you can eat with a plastic fork off a paper plate (or maybe two), and it’ll keep you full for three days (though we never go longer than three hours without feeding our guests).

Complain about the cold when it’s 50 degrees outside.

We don’t even bother putting on long pants until it gets into the 40s. Quit yer’ bitchin’ and have some more gravy.

Ask us about the 10,000 lakes.

There’s 100,000 or so lakes, actually. Some are huge (Superior), some are tiny, some are nice. Not all of them are nice. They’re lakes.

Ask us to take you to the Mall of America.

We will point you in the general direction, but navigating that overpriced, behemoth, tourist trap is an endeavor best left to out-of-staters. If we want to be overcharged for something, we’ll buy it at a Twins game.

Ask us how the Twins are doing.

They are not doing well. Please don’t ask. If they are doing well, trust me you won’t have to ask.

Ask us how Minnesota is different from Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota or any other blurry notion of a state your addled elitist mind thinks is in the general vicinity of the greatest section of this country.

Minnesota is the best part of The North, but the neighboring states still beat out any place with earthquakes, hurricanes, or an excessive number of Starbucks. (We prefer Caribou. If you’ve never been to one, come visit. We’d be happy to take ya!)