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A Southerner Looks At Chicago
by K. G. Sims

There are three kinds of weather in Chicago – winter, road construction and Mondays.

Showing your middle finger rather than using the horn is normal.

A raised fist toward another driver is indicative of style and polish.

Riding by another car, smiling and waving, is not necessarily considered a friendly gesture.

Tailgating is standard procedure, as drafting another car is considered good fuel efficiency.

Allowing another into the line of traffic is considered polite and gives you the right to cut in front of them later on.

It is acceptable for big trucks to spout black smoke, but cars are fined for loose gas caps.

Dents in doors or fenders are signs of bravado, or you have attended more than a few sporting or entertainment events.

Rust means your car is over three years old.

Having a pickup truck means you use it in your work or you have not been there long enough to know better.

Harleys are given a wide berth, as everyone would like to trade places, or their owners are guessed to be rich and would sue your pants off if you hit them.

The Gold Coast is actually another name for the parking garages close to the Lake.

A commute can mean adventure, extreme aggravation, release of anger, 1/6 of your day, time to talk on the cell phone or spending your kids’ college money on gasoline.

Car warranties do not cover the sludge in your injection system caused by the overpriced corn fuel you have to buy.

Do not stop to help someone stranded on the road. They will only rush to their car, point a gun at you and scream. Just ride by, shake your head and think of how someone should stop and help them.

Be careful of the attractive blondes driving by with their heads out of the window. They are not really blonds and are only refueling.

Do not pull out in front of:
A car more beat up than yours
Any law enforcement vehicle (they have only one speed; fast)
The road salt truck
Anything with more than four wheels on it or attached to it
Anything that looks faster than your vehicle
Anyone wearing a bandana, more than two earrings, more than three tattoos or a Metallica decal
Anyone with a Chicago Bears tag
Anyone on a cell phone
Anyone sitting so low that you can barely see the top of the head

Tollbooths are actually used as speed-bumps.

No one knows who Mr. Toll is, but he gets a lot of money to make you late and keep the roads torn up.

“How far is it?” is answered in time, not miles.

Fresh fruit and vegetables just means: “Fresh off the truck from the port in Louisiana.”

Winter lasts for five months, followed by what we call spring.

If a guy jogs without his shirt, people think he is fleeing the police.

The Mascot is a Canadian Goose, which is the most prevalent and protected animal.

You should not divulge that you own several guns and know how to use them.


You can go on vacation every day, with all the attractions.

The only thing better than a Chicago style hot dog is two Chicago style hot dogs.

You can eat out each day for a whole year and still not enjoy all the good restaurants.

A large Chicago deep-dish pizza will feed you for three meals, and you will be sad when it is gone.

Everyone sells ice cream and pizza.

Shopping on State Street is gleefully accomplished over two days.

The retail store personnel will talk to you as long as you wish, just to hear your accent.

If you do not see a Home Depot, Office Max, Kohl’s, Dominic’s, Baskin Robbins, Dunkin Donuts, Menard’s, Target, Sears, J. C. Penney, Hooters, Outback Steakhouse, Applebee’s, and thirty banks, you are probably in Indiana.

Chicago natives call 85-degrees hot, which is 6:00 a.m. weather to Southerners.

No need to belong to a Golf Club, there are too many great golf courses.

Littering is a “shoot and ask questions later” offense.

The Taste of Chicago is a taste of the world and more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

The Air and Water Show in August is more fun than two barrels of monkeys.

At the grocery, you can buy your date flowers, a card, a bottle of wine, steak for the grill, a new grill, fresh baked sourdough bread, contraceptives, tickets for the House of Blues, a lottery ticket and seats for Phantom of The Opera.

You will always be the most manly at a party if you tell your best “hand-grabbing” fish story.

Introducing your neighbors to boiled peanuts, Mexican Cornbread, real Chicken and Dressing, fried pies, chicken and dumplings and melted peanut butter-marshmellow crackers will endear you to them for years to come.

Mixing “Yucca Flats” in your bathtub with a boat paddle will always attract a crowd that usually leaves when the tub is finally empty.

The grass is always green, even under the snow.

Lake Michigan and its beaches look like an ocean.

Chicago has a Water Taxi system that actually takes you to special sites, not the jail rides the water patrol in the South provides.

The greatest skyline in the world looks even better when you’re returning from a trip.

AND . . .
Once you show them what real barbeque is, you will be invited to every picnic in town.


K. G. Sims was transplanted from Mississippi to Illinois and then to Missouri. He does his best to spread "Southern-ness" around the area. Be sure to visit his web site at SouthernSpeak.com and watch for his new book, recently released, titled NORTHWEST TRAIN.

Read many more great stories listed on our USADS Articles pages.


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