How To Become an Ohioan in 16 Steps
1. Introduce yourself to someone new and proudly claim you’re from the city when in reality you are just from one of its many indistinguishable suburbs.
2. Develop some sort of complex relationship with Detroit.
Cleveland and Cincinnati thank the powers that be that no matter how hard they’ve fallen, Detroit is on another realm. Columbus tries to convince people it’s not just a suburb of Detroit, and Toledo blames its woes due to regional proximity.
3. Prepare your accent.
Are you in the nasally north? Pronounce your a’s like the Aflac duck. As you move south, especially into Appalachia of the southeast, start morphing into something of a southern accent.
4. Base your regional pride on things that don’t actually impact everyday life, like the orchestra or football team.
5. Wear a T-shirt that shows how much you love your city, so you can spot others doing the same and give approving nods.
6. Brush up on your craft beer knowledge.
Great Lakes Brewing, Columbus Brewing, Maumee Bay Brewing, Christian Moerlein — the state has craft breweries sprinkled throughout. Ordering piss-in-a-can from one of the national juggernauts is frowned upon.
7. Know your local foods.
In Cleveland? Your only condiment is Stadium Mustard. Down in Cincinnati you’re telling everyone that Skyline Chili is not, despite popular belief, a constipation reliever. And in Columbus, the only dessert is Jeni’s Ice Cream.
8. If the sun is out, worship it as a devout Christian monk would Christ.
Given Ohio weather, you might not see it again for a couple of millenia and counting.
9. Grab your phone often to confirm the latest sports scores.
Even if you don’t care about sports, you find yourself taking a glimpse in order to gauge what the city’s mood will be for that day.
10. If the day is going well, ruin it with a strong political disagreement, preferably between city and suburban-living relatives.
Topics can include the disparity in suburban-friendly highways versus public transportation or more broadly how President Obama has ruined or saved everything.
11. Speaking of that last note, have a general fear of public transportation. </h2
Look at RTA, COTA or Metro with unjustifiable suspicion. Wonder what sketchy things could possibly, maybe happen should you ride it even though you’ve never ridden it with frequency and probably don’t know anyone who does. Ponder all these issues of transportation safety as you hurl your 4,000-pound vehicle 10 miles over the speed limit around Dead Man’s Curve.
12. Be prepared to spout off your rolodex of Ohio facts to prove the state’s worth to out-of-towners.
We have the most astronauts, we produced a number presidents (never mind three died while in office), and we invented flying via the Wright Brothers.
This story was produced through the travel journalism programs at MatadorU.
13. Have a basic background in baseball, basketball and football — preferably from playing in high school.
If you lack personal experience, come out with a believable excuse, such as “I went to a big school where you really had to focus on one or two sports.”
14. After those glory days of high school sports, continue the party at a Division 1 university near you.
For instance, Bowling Green and Kent State are really just western and southern districts of the greater Cleveland school system.
15. Have some kind of a relationship with the outdoors.
This could mean spending your free time cycling and hiking through Cuyahoga Valley National Park or Wayne National Forest, or merely driving to Brandywine Falls for an overlook view and counting that as time spent outdoors.
16. Harbor hatred of Michigan (the state up North) and Pittsburgh based solely on sports.
For those who don’t enjoy sports, mock your neighbors via social media posts boldly letting others know just how little you care and how stupid you think it is.