Best motto? Or best motto ever? (Photo: Thinkstock)
There is no place like Nebraska. The steak is premium, the cost of living is low, and the sunsets are enough to take your breath away. As the state motto declares, it really is “The Good Life.” I was born, raised, and educated in Nebraska, and I tend to get very protective of my home state. Living on the East Coast has been great, but I can’t get used to the same silly questions I get every time people find out where I’m from.
We Nebraskans have a reputation for being friendly — and we are. But enough is enough. I want to set the record straight. Here are 12 surefire ways to rub a Nebraskan the wrong way:
1. Assume we all live on farms.
After surveying my friends, this was the biggest complaint that Nebraskans have. Farms are an important part of our landscape — they are beautiful and profitable — but there is a lot more to Nebraska than cornfields. More than 700,000 Nebraskans live in Lincoln and Omaha, which are both thriving cities. We don’t ride cows to school, our cities have more than one stoplight, and we have indoor plumbing. The first time I touched livestock was at a petting zoo.
A view of downtown Omaha (Photo: Thinkstock)
2. Ask if everyone is a farmer.
Do you consider Warren Buffett a farmer? Didn’t think so. Warren B is the second-richest man in the world, and his company Berkshire Hathaway is headquartered in Omaha. Nebraska is also home to other Fortune 500 companies like ConAgra, Union Pacific, Mutual of Omaha, Kiewit Corporation, and TD Ameritrade. There is even a Yahoo office in Omaha! People are making money here, and it’s not from milking cows. On that note, farming is big business and not something to brush off. We’re feeding you!
This kid took an epic selfie with Warren Buffett and Paul McCartney just hanging out on the streets of Omaha. (Photo: Speeeeeed_of_white/ Instagram)
3. Tell us we don’t act like we’re from Nebraska.
When I moved to New York, people kept saying, “You don’t act like you’re from Nebraska … you’re normal.” That might be the biggest backhanded compliment I have ever heard. Nebraskans are not hicks like Larry the Cable Guy (that accent is fake, by the way). I act exactly like a Nebraskan. I’m educated, I’m up on current events, I don’t have an accent, I smile at strangers, and I really love steak. Deal with it.
4. Ask us where Nebraska is on a map.
First of all, Nebraska is not Alaska. Let’s get that straight. Second of all, Nebraska is not only in the Midwest, it’s THE heart of the Midwest — literally; it’s right in the middle of the map. If one more New Yorker asks me if Nebraska is in the South, I will have the Husker blackshirts take them out.
5. Assume that we want a professional sports team.
On the topic of blackshirts, why would we need a professional sports team when we have the Cornhuskers? On game days, Memorial Stadium becomes the third-largest city in the state. You bleed red, but we bleed Husker red. We sell out stadiums, chug Elk Creek, and down Runzas while humming the tunnel walk. Nothing else matters.
Husker power! (Photo: Giphy)
6. Tell us we used to be good at football.
And one more thing about football. There are two ways to really get a Nebraskan’s blood boiling. The first is to reference the Husker domination in the ’90s as some kind of distant memory — it’s still very real to us. Second, don’t ask us who Tom Osborne is. If you don’t know, then kindly leave our state.
7. Call Omaha a small town where nothing happens.
My friend Kathleen’s NYC boss laughed when she told him that the local newspaper was called the Omaha World-Herald — as if anything of importance to the world could happen here. Um, he should try telling that to our military. Offutt Air Force Base is located in Bellevue, Nebraska. It’s the headquarters for the U.S. Strategic Command, and the first two bombers to drop atomic bombs were constructed there. I guarantee you, important stuff is happening. Also, one of Omaha’s proudest exports, director Alexander Payne, makes a point of filming movies like Election (filmed in my high school), About Schmidt, and Nebraska in the state because it’s just that awesome.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel meets with soldiers at Offutt Air Force Base. (Photo: AP)
8. Call Nebraska a fly-over state.
If by “fly over” you mean that we soar above all over states, then carry on. But if you mean that we are invisible and unimportant, I’ll just name-drop Warren Buffett again.
9. Ask the question “Are there black people there?”
No. I was the only one. And now that I moved away, the governor is trying to find a replacement. Of course there are! I am not a unicorn; there are a lot of diverse faces in the Husker state. Sure, the population is predominately white, but the black, Hispanic, and international populations are growing every day.
10. Ask us what we do for fun.
[Takes a deep breath.] Every summer, Omaha hosts the College World Series, the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is nationally recognized, the Olympic swimming trials are held here, new bands are always gigging at the Slowdown or the Waiting Room, everyone from Justin Timberlake to Coldplay has played at the Century Link, there are dozens of amazing restaurants, outdoor art festivals spring up constantly, and shopping gets better every day. [Takes another deep breath.] Nebraskans also love boating, off-roading, hunting, fishing, tubing, and camping — want me to keep going?
The desert dome at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo (Photo: AP)
11. Assume that we barter for goods.
When my friend Shaun was in California, a man asked him if there were Burger Kings in Nebraska. SMH. We can buy what everyone else can buy. There are Burger Kings, Dunkin’ Donuts, an Apple Store, an H&M, multiple malls, cool trendy boutique stores, and amazing fusion restaurants. We are not Amish.
12. Call us corn fed.
Are you calling me fat? No? Because all I hear is fat.