1. Immediately ask us how close we are to Richmond, or tell us you have friends that live in Richmond.
Fun Fact: West Virginia seceded from Virginia in 1863 to fight with the North in the Civil War. We are, indeed, a separate state, and have been for 152 years. This means we probably live several hours away from your Richmond friend. If you have asked someone this question, please consult a map and a history book.
2. Ask us if we’re married to our cousins, wear shoes, have indoor plumbing, and all of our teeth.
And then giggle because your joke is the funniest. Your joke is also lame and overdone. Let’s get more creative next time.
3. Comment that we don’t sound like we’re from West Virginia.
Please. Enlighten us. What does a West Virginian sound like?
4. You don’t know what the flying WV is.
Come on guys! This one’s iconic. Even Leonardo DiCaprio knows the flying WV!
5. Create a near standstill on I-79 because you can’t handle the windy roads.
As much as we love the view of the lush Appalachian Mountains while we crawl behind your car around the curves, the line you’re creating behind you is absurd. We’re betting your license plate doesn’t say “Wild and Wonderful.”
6. Assume we all personally know Jesco White.
The Tap Dancing Outlaw and his comrades aren’t quintessential West Virginia — neither are their drug addictions. We don’t become aroused by hearing shaking pill bottles. We don’t huff gasoline. And we don’t all live in hollers.
7. Insist Michael Jordan is the NBA logo.
You’re wrong. Jerry West, former Mountaineer and Lakers legend, is the iconic inspiration for the NBA logo.
8. Cheer for Pitt.
9. Buy us a bottle of moonshine from the store and try to pass it off as “real.”
We know it’s not real as soon as we see there’s a label. Moonshine is drunk from a mason jar, usually gifted to us by a family member for some reason, and it should send razors down our throats when we take a sip… Don’t worry. We’re used to it.
10. Refuse to stop and sing Country Roads from the top of your lungs when it plays.
You’re going to look dumb sitting in the corner by yourself looking bored when everyone else is embracing in song. The ballad unites West Virginians everywhere, whether we’re celebrating in blue and gold at Mario’s Fishbowl or rejoicing from a dive bar in Chile (still in blue and gold). Take me home / to the place / I belong…
11. Tell your history class that “Unindustrialized Russia is like current day West Virginia.”
“The streets are unpaved, but it doesn’t matter because no one owns cars. There are starving children on the side of the road…” This was about the time I had to shut down my college history professor: “Um. I’m from there. My parents have two cars. I’ve never seen a starving child on the side of the road, and we have paved highways.” He was really embarrassed and ended class afterwards. I sat in the first row in my WVU sweatshirt the rest of the semester. Lesson learned.