I just got a great e-mail forward from my Aunt Deb entitled “How to be a Hoosier”. (For you international types, a “Hoosier” is a person from Indiana, USA.) It’s pretty funny and scarily accurate. I figure Moire will get a kick out of it anyway. What “rules” could you come up with for your home state/city? (Read on for the whole Hoosier list.)”Here are some guidelines to assist others in understanding what it takes to be a Hoosier.

  1. Know the state casserole. The state casserole consists of canned green beans, Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup and dried onions. You can safely take this casserole to any social event and know that you will be accepted.
  2. Get used to food festivals. The Indiana General Assembly, in an effort to grow bigger athletes, passed legislation years ago requiring every incorporated community to have at least one festival per year dedicated to a high-fat food. It is your duty as a Hoosier to attend these festivals and at least buy an elephant ear.
  3. Know the geography. Of Florida, I mean. I’ve run into Hoosiers who couldn’t tell you where Evansville is but they know the exact distance from Fort Myers to Bonita Springs. That’s because all Hoosiers go
    to Florida in the winter. Or plan to when they retire. We consider Florida to be the Lower Peninsula of Indiana.

  4. If you can’t afford to spend the winter in Florida, use the state excuse, which is that you stay here because you enjoy the change of season. You’ll be lying, but that’s OK. We’ve all done it.
  5. Speaking of Indiana weather, wear layers or die. The thing to remember about Indiana seasons is that they can occur at anytime. We have spring like days in January and wintry weekends in October. April is capable of providing a sampling of all four seasons in a single 24-hour period. For these reasons, Indiana is the Layering Capital of the World. Even layering, however, can pose danger. Golfers have been known to dress for hypothermia and end up dead of heat stroke because they couldn’t strip off their layers of plaid fast enough on a changeable spring morning.
  6. Don’t take Indiana place names literally. East Enterprise has no counterpart to the west, South Bend is in the north, and French Lick is nothing like you might think. Also, if a town has the same name as a foreign city…..Versailles, for example (Ver-Sigh)……you must
    not pronounce it that way lest you come under suspicion as a spy. (It is pronounced Ver-SALES by true Hoosiers.)

  7. Become mulch literate. Hoosiers love mulch and appreciate its subtle differences. Learn the difference between hardwood, cypress and pine bark at a minimum. Researchers think the state affinity for mulch derives from its relatively flat terrain. People have a subconscious need for topography, and when it can’t be supplied naturally, they are more likely to make little mulch hillocks in their front yards.
  8. In order to talk sports with obsessive fans in Indiana, you have to be knowledgeable on three levels-professional, college and high school. The truly expert Indiana sports fan knows not only the name of the hotshot center at Abercrombie and Fitch High School, but also what colleges he’s interested in, how much he bench-presses, who he took to the prom, and what he got on his biology quiz last week. (SPECIAL NOTE: SPORTS in Indiana consist of Basketball and NO OTHER. Don’t try to drag baseball or football or soccer into your discussion of Sports with a Hoosier. You will get a blank stare and a look of confusion.)
  9. Remember that Hoosiers are never the first to embrace trends. When we do embrace them, we do so with a Midwestern pragmatism. For example, if you see a Hoosier with a nose ring, there’s a good chance he’s had it undercoated to guard against rust. If you see a Hoosier in a modern haircut, they will have been wearing it that way since the first time it was in style.)
  10. The best way to sell something in Indiana is to attach the term “Amish” to it. The product need not be genuinely Amish. This would explain the existence of Amish moo shu pork.
  11. Meat and Potatoes, Whole Milk and canned vegetables are the staple diet of all Hoosiers. When dining out, the Hoosier will always gravitate toward the “All You Can Eat Buffet” style of restaurant dining. Amish Style Family dining, served on long trestle tables and providing giant helpings of all starchy foods (rolls, biscuits, mashed potatoes and noodles) are preferred over buffets that just serve an excellant salad bar. Occasionally, Hoosiers will eat out at Chinese Restaurants and Mexican Restaurants. Those are the only two ‘foreign foods’ allowed in the Hoosier diet. Hoosiers like Amish moo shu pork and Amish Tostadas. Those items must be on the menu or true Hoosiers will pass those restaurants by!

I hope you found this guide to be useful. If it offends you, please let me know. I will bring a green-bean casserole to your house to make amends.”

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  1. Ha! How in the hell did I miss this one?? 😉

    Yes, I did get a kick out of this! Everything is so true, especially the bit about the Amish stuff, and green bean casserole. It’s a Hoosier staple, man. When we’d have Food Days at work, someone would usually bring a mini crock-pot of nacho dip (Velveeta, salsa, and ground chuck), and green bean casserole.

    When my younger siblings were in town the weekend before last, I was surprised to find how foreign some of their words and phases seemed to me… Like using “pop” instead of “soda,” and the lovely insult “forget you!” Heh! There were others, but I can’t remember any of them right now.

    What I thought was truly funny, however, is when I brought the Twins and the little bro down to Southern Maryland, they loudly proclaimed that WE, as in us here in SoMD, were REDNECKS. Imagine how my jaw dropped. The nerve! Of these Auburn, Indiana locals, calling US rednecks!

    *snort*

    Like, whatever dude. ;D

  2. I was wondering why you never commented on it! I have difficulty with the pop/soda thing too. I was a diehard “pop” sayer when I lived there, but I’ve lost the habit now. I didn’t know your family was from Auburn! Do you know if the Drive-In’s still open? I love that place. And we always begged to go to the Auburn Fair every year. My favorite thing was the Culligan display in the Industrial tent where it looked like a column of water was pouring out of the sky.

  3. Auburn is a really neat little town… Justin was wildly impressed by the Auburn-Cord-Duesenburg museum when I took him out there to visit the last time. My mom has lived in Auburn for, ohhhh, about 10 years or so, and the youngest of our brood live with her there. I never lived there, myself; we lived in Ft. Wayne, then Columbia City, and then I moved back again to Ft. Wayne when I started working downtown.

    As far as I know, the Garrett Drive-In is still around. I love that place, too! About two years ago I took my little brothers there to see a few double features. I think we saw Tarzan, My Favorite Martian, The Mummy, and, er… some other movie. I don’t remember now, it’s been so long. The good thing about the Garrett Drive-In was that it kept a safe family atmosphere… None of the teenaged punks really seemed to think it was cool to hang out at the drive in, at least none that I saw. Mostly it’s herds of children, and tons of mosquitoes. Still, a great time. I miss that place.

    I don’t remember much about the Auburn Fair, other than they shut down the town square and have lots of craft booths. Oh, and the Auburn-Cord-Duesenburg parade of vehicles that takes place the first Saturday morning of the Fair. That was always fun… That, and the junk food.

    I wrote a sci-fi story once about this angsty teenaged girl who meets a dashing young wizard at the Auburn Fair. He was in disguise and ran the elephant ear stand. He recognized her as the long-lost orphaned daughter of the most powerful sorceress that ever lived, so after he got off work he collected her and told her of the alternate-reality world that he was from, and how he would teach her to weild her as-yet-unawakened powers. They later fall in love, of course. Action/adventure, and terror ensues. Heh. I was such a geek.

  4. Being from Virginia and all, I get a kick every time I hear the west/mid-western “pop.” In the southeast/mid-atlantic states, one says “coke” for every kind of carbonated beverage:

    Do you wanna coke? Yeah. What kind? Diet Dr. Pepper…

    And, I’m sorry, Moire, but Charles County is Redneck country… (said with all possible respect)

  5. *gasp* How dare you! 😉

    Yeah, yeah… There are quite a few rednecks in Charles County — many of them of the mind-bogglingly backhills variety — but I don’t see how my brother and sisters had any room to talk. I should know; I grew up in Indiana, too! 🙂

    I do believe that the Charles Co. rednecks are different than the Indiana rednecks, however. Some of them here in SoMD have no excuse whatsoever for being as such. 😉

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