Pleased to meet you!
My name is Pennsylvania.
I’ve been getting a lot of bad press recently on account of, you know, that big snow storm and the ice and the three major interstates being closed down and trapping hundreds of motorists in their freezing cars for a day and a night and a day. Or so.
And I just wanted to take a few minutes to first apologize…
and then do a better job of introducing myself.
How yous guys doin'!
I’m a lovely state, really.
I have purple mountains and crystal lakes. I have yummy chocolate-themed amusement parks and great big river down my middle that's just dandy for meandering along in an inner tube on a warm summer's day. I even have a small slice of shoreline along one of the Great Lakes! For you hunters and fishers, I have fields and streams a plenty. And if city lights and fine dining are your fancy, well sir, I’ve got world class cities propping up both my eastern and western borders in just the precise spots to help keep you from ending up in New Jersey or Ohio.
I mean, you don’t want to go to New Jersey.
What’s New Jersey got that I don’t got?
Nuthin’ that’s what.
Oh sure, there’s The Shore. But it ain’t much of a shore, let me tell you. They don’t even call it a shore. They call it a “sure”. Who wants to go swimming at a “sure”? If you ask me, Jersey Sure sounds suspiciously like Jersey Sewer. In fact, I once heard that if you go sea bathing at Atlantic City, you might find yourself swimming alongside old syringes and other medical waste from New York’s Fresh Kills Landfill. Like, this one kid I know was down the shore one year, and he was bodysurfing, and he, like, kept feeling little fish bumping up against his legs. Except when he finally landed on the beach and took a look around him, it wasn’t little fish bumping up against his legs. It was, like, a bunch of used gall bladders.
I swear it’s true.
And Ohio? I mean, whatever. If you really want to go play with Ohio, go knock yourself out. Ohio has no hills at all so you can’t even go sledding. And in the summer, all there is to do is walk around kicking cans or maybe hang out at the 7-Eleven. Don’t even get me started on Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. First of all, how is Miles Davis in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Witness - the most awesome rock band ever on the face of the planet - hasn’t even been nominated yet? (Ohmigod, Billy Spence, the lead singer, was so dreamy!) Sure, Witness was mostly just a Jethro Tull-Billy Joel cover band, and they mostly just played down the Jersey Sewer. But the band also did a lot of gigs at Cardinal Brennan High School in Fountain Springs, PA, and I so own them.
But yeah, if you want to play with Ohio, be my guest. All I'm going to say is that one time Illinois told me that Scranton reminded him of Cleveland except with classier truck stops and better tasting kielbasa. And Scranton’s sitcom kicks Cincinnati’s sitcom’s ass any day, any year.
Like the slogan says, You’ve Got A Friend In Pennsylvania!
I want to be your friend.
I’ll give you a piece of gum if you’ll be my friend.
Anyway, your mom says you have to play with me because I got all that important old-timey stuff in Philadelphia and in Gettysburg and it’s real important and you’re supposed to hang out with me and improve your mind. Your mom told my mom that you’re not allowed to play with California or Nevada anymore because you keep coming home smelling like wine and hookers. In Pennsylvania, you’re not even allowed to buy wine on a Sunday except for in specially run State Stores, and even then you have to prove that you’re at least 35 years old and were just attending church services. Where they were baptizing hookers.
I promise it’ll be fun!
Wanna see my broken nuclear reactor collection?
Ooh! Ooh! I know! Let’s go tip some Amish cows!
Be that way.
But if you don’t play with me, I’m not going to let you get to New York City.
Yeah, that’s right. Whaddaya gonna do now? Oooohhh, cut all the way through Maryland to get on I-95? You’ll never make the matinee showing of Spamalot.
I'm a nice state.
Wanna see my new puppy?
That’s right…just get on the I-78 entrance ramp.
I'll have you in The Big Apple in no time.
Oh, that’s just a little snow. A few flurries. We call them “fun flakes” here in Pennsylvania. Just a little something to add to the festival atmosphere of driving 75 miles per hour on a four-lane highway while double-trailer big rigs rumble by you at 95 miles an hour, clip your side-view mirror, and then suddenly swerve into your lane after jamming into first gear to make it up the next hill.
Whoops! Watch that black ice!
Looks like things are getting a bit hairy on the interstates again. Better pull off and let PennDOT get to work clearing the roads.
No, no! It won’t take long, I promise. Pinky swear.
Looky here! Why it’s a quaint little Pennsylvania Dutchy town. Just drive a bit down this back road toward the Hausselhoofen Diner and linger over a light dish of chicken croquettes a while. See that? I’m not so bad. Just a bit further down the road and you can bide your time with a quick dish of waffles and gravy and a slice of shoofly pie. Oh yeah, that's low fat. All PA Dutch cooking is low fat. Just around this bend, and then I’ll have you back on the Interstate in no…
IT RUBS THE LOTION ON ITS SKIN! IT RUBS THE LOTION ON ITS SKIN!
Heh heh heh.
(Top photo: highway outside of Centralia, PA; Bottom photo: sinkhole on Rt. 924 Schuylkill County, PA.)