Pronounce the “s” in “Illinois.”

I thought this would be just plain common sense, but you should see the looks on my friends’ faces when an outsider refers to their homeland as “Illinoize.” Even I can’t help but wonder if these lunatics are just messing with us. The “s” is silent, people.

Assume that everyone is from Chicago

There is a whole state under Chicago. Literally the entire state. This is how this conversation usually goes down:

    “Where are you from?”
    “Illinois.”
    “Oh, cool! Chicago!”
    “Actually, I’m from Mt. Vernon, which is closer to St. Louis, so…”

And no, everything below I-90 is not just “northern Kentucky.”

Assume that the Windy City is always windy

Nope. Just nope. In fact, Chicago isn’t windier than any other city in the US.

Here’s a history lesson for you non-natives: Chicago got its nickname back in the 1800s from a former editor of the New York Sun who was referring to all of its full-of-hot-air-politicians. Even a semi-Illinoisan would know that.

Call it the Willis Tower

It’s the Sears Tower. SEARS. S-E-A-R-S. Just because the sign now reads “Willis” doesn’t mean you should call it that.

Put ketchup on a hotdog

To most northern Illinoisans this is an act akin to selling your soul to the devil or committing a mortal sin.

Mustard is cool, though.

Claim that the whole state can’t drive.

Really? I mean, okay — they might consider distances in minutes rather than miles. But they can surprise you with their ability to drive over pavement, over plowed fields, over ice, and through water in high winds. Sometimes they will do all of the above within a 20-minute time period. Trust me, I’ve seen it.

Call them “FIBs” or “Flatlanders”

“Flatlander” is pretty straightforward, but I can’t even repeat what FIB means. First of all, it’s just rude. And secondly, it’s just rude.

Force them to choose between the Cubs or the White Sox

A good Southern Illinoisan will support the true team of the state: The Cardinals.

Attempt to play “6 Degrees of Al Capone”

I’m Italian, so I get this one a lot. As soon as someone pieces together that generations of my family have hailed from the Chicago area, I can immediately see the wheels turning in their heads. This conversation usually ends before it even begins.

Complain about the cold

One of the worst conversations you can have with an Illinoisan is about the weather, especially if you are trying to claim it’s colder where you’re from. FYI, Chicagoans only experience two seasons — humid hellfire and what is not affectionately referred to as “Chiberia.” Only Minnesotans get a pass.

And finally, the quickest way to piss off an Illinoisan is to…

Make fun of Jay Cutler

Yes, he sucks. Yes, we are aware. And yes, we hate him more than you do.