Photo: Viacheslav Nikolaenko/Shutterstock

How to Piss Off Someone From Ohio

by Matt Hershberger Mar 3, 2014
Bitch about our role in the Presidential elections.

I’ve had a lot of people tell me, “No one would give a shit about your state if it weren’t for the Presidential elections.” First off: Go fuck yourself. 11.5 million Ohioans care about our state. Second: Look, I totally understand thinking the Electoral College is bullshit, but the reason we have so much power is that we’re one of the most populous states in the union. So if the system’s unfair, it’s the system’s fault, not ours. There are a ton of us.

And maybe, if you wanted politicians to pay more attention to you, you could try being a purple state for a bit. Seriously, try it, the power is intoxicating.

Tell us our chili isn’t chili.

Yes it is, and it’s the best chili. Look, I love my family, but when I go back to Cincinnati, I’m going for Skyline Chili first and family second. So naturally, it’s infuriating when visitors to Ohio say, “This isn’t chili, chili needs to have vegetables in it,” or, “Chili doesn’t go on top of spaghetti.” Order a four-way beans if you want some vegetables, and try eating a five-way and telling me there’s anything wrong with the world.

I’ve got nothing against Texas chili, but when those Eastern European immigrants came to Cincinnati decades back and showed us their take on this quintessentially American dish, they did one of two things: They either created the most delicious abomination of all time, or they created the only known proof that God exists and that he loves food.

Tell us Ohio’s just a bunch of farms.

Anyone who’s judging a state by what they’ve seen from the state’s highways is an asshole. But Ohio is way more than farms. We’ve got a number of amazing cities with strong economies and vibrant nightlife, culture, and music scenes, as well as some of the best colleges and universities in the country.

Also, we’ve actually got the 10th-densest population in the country, so if you see Ohio and see an empty expanse, you’re either blind or are living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Downplay our cultural impact.

Another jibe I often hear living on the East Coast is, “What’s Ohio ever given us?” Glad you asked!

Not only has Ohio provided 7 of our 44 Presidents and 25 astronauts, but we’ve also produced one of the best baseball teams of all time (the Big Red Machine), one of the consistently best college football teams (Ohio State), musical acts like Dean Martin, the Righteous Brothers, the Black Keys, and the National, and actors like Clark Gable, Martin Sheen, and Paul Newman. Oh, and Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of the most American icon of all time: Superman. Not to mention the Professional Football Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

I could list off more (always, always glossing over 98 Degrees), but the point stands: Ohio is a culturally significant state. You’re welcome, world.

Have no clue where we are on a map.

For Christ’s sake, there are only 50 US states — how hard is it to remember where they all are? Go to Sporcle and play until you can name all the states on the map. Regardless, it’s galling when people from the East Coast don’t know where we are: Seriously, New York? We’re literally one state away. Just drive through Pennsylvania and you’re there.

On the West Coast, I’ve been asked if we’re “that potato state.” No, you asshole, that’s Idaho, and it’s super close to you. Ohio. We’re sandwiched between Lake Erie and the Ohio River, and we look like a big old lovable heart.

Tell us North Carolina is the birthplace of flight.

No. No no no. This is an ongoing dispute between North Carolina and Ohio, and North Carolina is fucking wrong. NC’s license plates say “First in Flight” because Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, is where the Wright Brothers flew their first airplanes. Ohio’s license plates say “Birthplace of Aviation” because the Wright Brothers — Dayton natives — designed and built their planes in Ohio. Kitty Hawk was legitimately chosen because it was breezy and had sand that would make a crash less destructive.

So if you’re going to give North Carolina credit for anything, give them credit for being a soft, pillowy surface to fail on. Give credit to Ohio for starting the Age of Aviation, which, in turn, kicked off the Golden Age of Travel.

Assume we all talk in a Southern drawl.

I have nothing against Southerners, but Ohio is definitively in the North. We’re literally where slaves escaped to prior to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. And while there are some Southern-ish sounding accents in our southern and Appalachian regions, we don’t all talk like Foghorn Leghorn or those hillbillies from Deliverance. Most of us are more or less indistinguishable from your standard American accent.

When broadcasters like Walter Cronkite, Linda Ellerbee, and Stephen Colbert wanted to sound normal, you know who they tried to sound like? Us.

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