THE STATE OF WISCONSIN serves as home to people from all walks of life. The locals, or “Sconnies,” are born and bred. Others have lived here long enough to become members of “Packer Nation” by common law. And many, many others have relocated to the State of Wisconsin recently enough to stick out like a shish kabob on a grill full of brats. Here are just a few ways to help you decipher the newbies from the Sconnies.
1. A transplant will spot a Green Bay Packer player at a local restaurant, scrounge for a pen and paper, stumble to the table and stammer out a request for an autograph. A Sconnie will notice the athlete, forget about it until the end of dinner, and give him a high five as he passes by. If they have a bit more time, they might also ask something like: “Hey, how do you feel about us signing that new rookie?” (Which the Sconnie can do, because being one of 360,000 shareholders, they own them. Sort of).
2. During the winter, a transplant will head out for her vehicle at the same time they leave for work, and quickly realize they don’t have enough time to scrape their windows. During their freezing drive to work, they will curse their relocation as they watch the steam from their breath block their view. A Sconnie starts their vehicle and cranks the heater 15 minutes prior to departure, 20 minutes if they want it extra toasty. They know by the time they climb in that they won’t even need their coat, much less an ice scraper.
3. A transplant might hear the words “cheese curds” and think of the deep fried, state fair variety. Coming from a state where the Annual Cheese Curd Festival takes place, the Sconnie knows plain curds are the way to go. The squeakier, the better. And if there happens to be any cheese curds left over after a couple of days, Sconnies know that the squeak will return with a quick zap in the microwave. Although, I have yet to meet a Sconnie that would let cheese curds sit in the fridge for that long.
4. A transplant will drive by one of the 15,000 Wisconsin lakes during the winter months, gasp that people are standing on them, and make sure their cell phone is readily available in the event of an emergency. A Sconnie will laugh as they drive their 4×4 monster truck past the transplant’s gaping mouth and straight onto the lake, towing their 5,000-pound Ice Castle RV behind them.
5. A transplant might think the best of Wisconsin is to be found in Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay. A Sconnie knows that Door County, the Apostle Islands, the Mississippi River Valley, Lake Geneva, Devil’s Lake, the Ice Age Trail, and the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior are just a few in a long list of beautiful destinations.
6. A transplant might celebrate the fact that it is Friday with a nice steak or seafood dinner, and wonder why the higher-end restaurants are so quiet. A Sconnie knows that Fridays are for fish fries, all year long. Rumor has it, even Culvers now participates in the tradition.
7. Listening to a transplant recite the names of Wisconsin cities never ceases to amuse the locals. It is like hearing children learn to talk. Observe while they attempt to pronounce Shawano, Oconomowoc, Weyauwega, Winnebago, Ashwaubenon, Sheboygan, or Mukwonago properly, and you will undoubtedly have to stifle your laughter.
8. A transplant will dress according to season and temperatures. A Sconnie knows that the season can change at any given moment, so they dress in layers.
9. A transplant will wonder why the only traffic jams in Wisconsin take place: (1) on northbound roads; (2) between Memorial Day and Labor Day, (3) on Fridays at noon, and again Sunday afternoon. A Sconnie knows that during the summer, “Up North” is where the fun is at. (And that what is normally a two-hour trip will “pert near” become a three-hour drive).
10. A transplant wonders where the hell everyone disappears to on Sundays between September and January. A Sconnie is too busy staring at the Packers on television to care what’s going on out there.
11. A transplant might have survived the long Wisconsin winter, but find themselves with PTSD. A Sconnie knows that Memorial Day marks the beginning of the three best months of the year.
12. A transplant might hear of a lost loved one and sent their deepest sympathies to the relatives. A Sconnie cares about one thing and one thing only: who inherited the Packer Season Tickets and bypassed the 955-year wait.
13. Transplants will pass on a Packer game. Sconnies will volunteer to shovel Lambeau Field the night before the game, show up the next morning for tailgating at 8 AM, consume ungodly amounts of brats, curds, and beer, paint their faces and chests, and cheer their way into the game as if it was the best day in the world. Because let’s face it, it is.