Our town

A colleague sent me a list this week of about 50 signs you know you're from the town where we live ...

Reprinting all of them would do no good, because a majority of them could be said for every place I've lived. But here are some of my favorites from the list that truly define the quirks of our town (with my commentary and background in parentheses) ...

... your last name is Tenuta, Ruffolo, DeBartolo or some other overly-Italian name ... (They're everywhere!)

... you've seen the Food Network special on Frank's every time it has aired ... (Frank's is an infamous rail car diner downtown, and you're not a citizen here until you've eaten there. The Food Network aired a special on the place a couple weeks ago, and Kates and I are saving it on our DVR ...)

... you remember when George Bush came to town, and the entire city shut down ... (Oh yeah, I remember it! Schools and businesses closed for the day. Streets were blocked off. The entire population congregated on one of the city's main arteries just to watch his motorcade pass through and a lucky few got to see the President when he stopped at Tenuta's Deli. My view of him was blocked, however, by his fat campaign bus ...)

... you've always rooted for the Bulls because the Bucks have never been very good ... (Pretty much.)

... you watch the Milwaukee news at 5 and the Chicago news at 6. (I much prefer the Chicago news over the sensational junk Milwaukee stations try to pass off as news. Yet I watch both because I have to know what's going on ... )

... you're shocked when you visit other places, and you find there are more cable companies than just Time Warner. (That's true too. Around here, you would think Time Warner Cable covered the whole country.)

... you can't believe how bad other student musicians your own age are. (Yep. The music programs around here are for serious musicians only ... )

... you've spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how they connected Simmons Island to the mainland. (Kates and I were just discussing this while taking a drive on the "island" last weekend. Technically, it's a peninsula.)

... you're shocked to realize nobody else in the state knows the Empire Carpet jingle. (Pretty much. It's a Chicago thing. Watch this clip from Conan's Chicago show last year.)

... you hate it when people drive down by the lighthouse for 10 seconds and leave, but you do it too. (I do kinda laugh when I see other people do it. Ok. Yeah. I do it too ... )

... you never understood why we have a 1 1/2 mile trolley system that goes absolutely nowhere. (Yep. It just goes in an oval around downtown. But it's still pretty cool to watch it pass by. And it makes for great postcard pictures ...)

...you've experienced 90 degrees and humid at 60th Street & 22nd Avenue and 65 degrees and chilly at 60th Street & Seventh Avenue in the three minutes it took you to drive the distance. (Ah, the effects Lake Michigan has on the weather ...)

... you don't understand why there's 75 elementary schools (most of which you've never heard of) and only three high schools (... high schools that, my colleague jokingly pointed out, have student populations of like 40,000 kids each because residents refuse to put up the money for new schools ...)

...White Caps was the place where the "rich" people lived until you realized the houses there sucked too. (Also true.)

... Big Star is better than The Spot, or The Spot is better than Big Star. (Our town is fraught with drive-ins and these are two of the most popular. It depends on which side of town you live in, I guess. Kates and I prefer The Spot.)

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