10 dumb questions people have asked me about New Jersey
Do I have to limit this to just ten? Ok. This will be easy then.
I was born in Union County. I grew up in Rahway and Clark. I've also lived in Cape May, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, and Hunterdon counties. For about 15 of my years I lived sporadically in several other states, but I always come home. Invariably in those other states, I have been asked the dumbest questions about being from New Jersey. Here are my top ten in no particular order.
Do you know Snooki? This dumb question was all the rage during and even after Jersey Shore went off the air. Half the time it was said as a joke, annoying because they always seemed convinced they were the only idiot to ever ask it. The other half I swear they seemed serious. No, I don't know Snooki. No, Snooki is not even from New Jersey. There are nearly 9 million people in New Jersey. We don't all know each other.
Is it true you can't pump your own gas? Yes, it's true. Why would we create a rumor so hard to believe that it defies all logic? Please don't bring up one of my greatest pet peeves.
Isn't it nothing but factories? I have almost throat punched people over this one. No, moron, it isn't nothing but factories. Did you ever hear it called the Garden State? Did you think that's cuz it's one state over from Madison Square Garden? Imbeciles. Ever take geography in elementary school? Then you should know about our magnificent coast line and shore towns and tourist industry. Not to mention farms, mountains, state parks, etc.. If anyone asks me this again I cannot guarantee their safety.
Why don't you have an accent? Because New Jersey exists as an actual place, with 9 million people, not as a TV show/stereotype. We don't all have a North Jersey accent, even those who live in North Jersey. Northerners are sometimes influenced by New York City, yes. Southerners are sometimes influenced by Philadelphia, yes. And there's everything in between. But we don't all sound like Tony Soprano.
You know people in the mob? Wow. Just, wow.
You're from Jersey, what exit? Some older people who I guess used to watch Joe Piscopo's stupid Jersey guy character on SNL bought way into this one. I have never once heard an actual New Jersey person answer the question of where they live by saying, "Exit 135." They will say, "Clark." If they know they're talking to someone from a different part of the state who might not know where Clark is, they might say, "Clark, it's off 135 on the Parkway." But we live in towns and houses just like you, not on exit ramps.
Have you met Bruce? While it seems many people have stories about Bruce run-ins, you have to realize most of us have never met him. Again, 9 million people. Some people here don't even like Bruce. Hate to destroy yet another stereotype for outsiders.
Isn't everybody rude? This is the most ironic question. Just asking this is rude. No we are not rude. We are busy. We are fast paced. Therefore we are often direct. Very direct. It's off-putting to some. When Superstorm Sandy happened, I saw first hand how our listeners helped each other. Total strangers offered up their homes to victims. Don't give me this stuff about being rude. If you have to go through a crisis, you'd better hope you get to go through it in New Jersey.
It's really expensive there, right? Gee, would you like to see my tax return next? Am I running for president here? Yes, it's very expensive. And we don't need to be reminded of it by some rube who has a house three times as big as ours who pays $1,500 a year in property taxes.
Doesn't it smell terrible? Thanks for painting such a dystopian picture of my home state. No, most of New Jersey smells like fresh ocean air, or like cut grass, or like the best restaurant food you could hope to imagine, or like a beautiful hiking trail in the mountains. If you want to pretend all of New Jersey is the one time you left Newark Airport and saw only the oil tanks and Anheuser-Busch plant on route 1 and smelled only the pollution (that translates into an economic juggernaut by the way) have at it, but we in New Jersey aren't listening to you anymore.