1. Moses Cleaveland.
You know who that is and why his last name is spelled differently.
2. You’re irrationally protective of Cleveland.
Suburbanites and urbanites alike can be irrationally protective of the city itself. Sure, we might poke fun at ourselves, but you damn well better keep your mouth shut if you’re not from here. Mistake by the lake? Burning river? Ha! So original. But the latter is, indeed, an appropriate reference if you’re drinking a Great Lakes Brewing Company pale ale that commemorates the infamous inferno.
3. You have a nasal “A.”
The Cleveland accent isn’t as distinguishable as, say, Boston or the South Side of Chicago. Nonetheless, you can tell a Clevelander by the way they pronounce their ‘a’s as if they were plugging their nose. “I’m from ClevelAnd, what about you?”
4. Sports are your religion.
ESPN is your tormenter with the inevitable “Cleveland sports misery montage” rolled whenever our teams come close to actually accomplishing something. Otherwise, you’re your own tormenter by subjecting yourself to so many horrific years of alleged athletics. At least the Cavs are finally starting to come together, but you either know they’ll blow it in the end or are naively optimistic despite the past 60-plus years of evidence to the contrary. That’s why we cling to Buckeye football instead.
5. Stadium mustard or bust.
The only kind of edible mustard worthy of your phallic-shaped meat is stadium mustard — made famous by Municipal Stadium and now readily available in any supermarket worth its salt.
6. You know what Dyngus Day is.
Dyngus Day is a relatively obscure holiday as far as major US dates go. Celebrated by Polish communities the first Monday after Easter, Buffalo holds the largest celebrations. Cleveland’s festivities, however, grow bigger and bigger year after year with perogies and accordion-based music dominating the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood for the holiday. Consider yourself lucky if you get whipped by a pussy willow (yeah, it sounds weird but totally isn’t) or shot with a squirt gun.
7. You know who wins in a big city rivalry.
St. Patty’s in Chicago? Rock and Roll Hall of Fame awards in New York City? Both are better in Cleveland.
8. And geographic rivalries.
Occasionally you make a half-hearted reference to the east-side, west-side rivalry that we all know is ultimately bogus. West Lake and Mentor are the same thing, folks.
9. You have an impeccable sense of geography.
With a great lake on our shores, nobody has any excuse for not knowing where north is. The rest simply falls into place.
10. You name drop Michael Symon, Jonathan Sawyer, and Zach Bruell.
These are just some of the famous chef names you’ll drop into conversation whenever telling out-of-state friends and family about our exceptional culinary scene.
11. Saturdays are spent at the West Side Market.
Nothing, no matter how miserable the weather can get, beats a Saturday at the West Side Market. Whether you’re driving in from the suburbs or taking the red line to Ohio City, this is how we Clevelanders get our shopping done, shaking hands with the butcher who slaughtered your cow. It just doesn’t get any better. There’s a hint of romanticism to it, really.
12. You’ve experienced four seasons in a week.
Cleveland occasionally experiences a phenomenon where we are subjected to all four seasons within a single week. That means summer sun on Monday, cool spring and fall temperatures midweek, and freezing temps and snow by week’s end.
13. Let’s be honest. You’re reading this and are agreeing, but you weren’t really born in Cleveland.
Whenever meeting new people, there’s the obligatory exchange of hometowns. If you say you’re from Cleveland, you’re most likely lying, because you’re most likely really from [insert nondescript suburb with an Olive Garden]. That’s fine if that’s what you like. But let’s just own where we’re from, folks.