1. Try to outdo the region with the longest championship drought in sports misery.
Nobody competes with Cleveland in sports misery. Yeah, the Cubs have been lovable losers for a century, but that’s actually a sweet dish of schadenfreude for the entire south side of Chicago who have seen their baseball team when a World Series in recent memory. Not to mention the Bulls, Bears and now Blackhawks have had dominant runs over the past 30 years.
Cleveland hasn’t won a damn thing since 1964. So no more complaining, Chicago. And that goes for any other major league city with at least a successful team in the mix. If nothing else, nothing beats Northern Ohio when it comes to sports misery. Just look at our mountain of catastrophes: The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, The Move, The Mesa… and that’s merely a sampling.
2. Throw us in with the red part of the state south of Columbus.
Northern Ohio is very different from the south when it comes to politics. Those trying to drag us kicking and screaming back into the 19th century generally reside in southern sectors of the state. Not that we don’t have our own fair share of awful politicians to deal with. Lynn Wachtmann and his shit-eating grin immediately comes to mind, infamous for trying to use his office to pass legislation that would allow private water bottle companies, like one he owns, to take more water out of Lake Erie.
Then there’s Cleveland-area’s Josh Mandel, infamous in his own right for — among many, many things — faking a southern accent and refusing to answer questions asked directly to his man-child face while campaigning for the Senate in southern Ohio. But at least they’re not forcing vaginal probes on women considering an abortion.
3. Talk politics.
Come to think of it, just don’t bring it up. Otherwise you’re likely to trigger some kind of horrific memory back to the last campaign season when WKYC and WEWS were inevitably inundated with nameless blank smiles approving of some message. Billboards lining I-90 and I-77, plastered with ads from some committee to make America even better. Automated phone calls with recorded pleas for your vote.
Worse yet, we might flashback to a presidential campaign season when the nation’s egos descend upon our humble state to try and convince us they actually give a damn before they disappear until the next election cycle.
4. Knock our cities by bringing up John Denver’s thoughts on Toledo or making a Johnny Carson Cleveland joke.
Regional pride might not exist to quite the same extent in Toledo as Cleveland — at least you don’t see as many locally made tee shirts proclaiming that it’s awesome here — but we don’t take too kindly to folks who have never lived here telling us how shitty it is here.
Our cities our like our family. Only we can make fun of them. So shove a Tony Packo’s dog or Cleveland Po’ Boy in your gaping hole and shove it, ya mouth-breather.
5. Describe Lake Erie as a nuclear landfill.
Have you ever gone for a romantic stroll along Voinovich Park in the midst of a Lake Erie sunset on a brisk summer evening? No? Then you don’t know what you’re talking about.
6. Complain about our weather.
As of writing, it’s a cloudy and chilly afternoon that only feels like it’s in the 60s because of our infamous humidity. And this is July we’re talking about, the one month of the year where we agreed with the powers that be that Northern Ohio would actually see the sun. Instead, the day before, there was a torrential downpour. Later in the week there might be a glimpse of sun, then suddenly the horrific lake effect snow will begin its annual onslaught against our souls.
Your cloudy days means nothing.
7. Be from Northern Ohio and cheer for that team up north.
Not everyone likes football. That’s fine. But there’s no need to cheer for that team up north out of spite or to constantly update your Facebook status during The Big Game to remind us how little you care. Good for you, but there still isn’t a soul who cares about your opinion.
8. Try to turn positive Ohio news into something insulting.
The biggest culprit of this is the joke about how so many United States astronauts were born in Ohio. Generally the punchline goes, “What’s wrong with Ohio that so many people want to get as far away as humanly possible?”
That’s as idiotic as saying Michael Jordan hates North Carolina because he went halfway across the country to play professional ball. They just went where the work was. Astronaut work happens to be in space, and Ohio just-so-happens to produce brilliant overachievers to do incredible things, like Neil Armstrong of Wapakoneta who came right back to Ohio after making a little history.
We’re over dissecting a joke here, of course. But there are far better ways to poke fun at us than to try and use our astronauts against us. I refer you back to our asshat politicians.