Understanding What It Means to Be a Hoosier

Submitted by Nancy Amos



Here are some guidelines to assist others in understanding what it takes to be a Hoosier.

1. Know the state casserole. The state casserole consists of canned green beans, Campbell's cream of mushroom soup and dried onions. You can safely take this casserole to any social event and know that you will be accepted.

2. Get used to food festivals. The Indiana General Assembly, in an effort to grow bigger athletes, passed legislation years ago requiring every community to have at least one festival per year dedicated to a high-fat food. It is your duty as a Hoosier to attend these festivals and at least buy an elephant ear.

3. Know the geography. Of Florida, I mean. I've run into Hoosiers who couldn't tell you where Evansville is but they know the exact distance from Fort Myers to Bonita Springs. That's because all Hoosiers go to Florida in the winter. Or plan to when they retire. We consider Florida to be the Lower Peninsula of Indiana.

4. If you can't afford to spend the winter in Florida, use the state excuse, which is that you stay here because you enjoy the change of seasons. You'll be lying, but that's OK. We've all done it.

5. Speaking of Indiana weather, wear layers or die. The thing to remember about Indiana seasons is that they can occur at anytime. We have spring like days in January and wintry weekends in October. April is capable of providing a sampling of all four seasons in a single 24-hour period. For these reasons, Indiana, is the Layering Capital of the World. Golfers have been known to dress for hypothermia and end up dead of heat stroke because they couldn't strip off their layers fast enough on a changeable spring morning.

6. Don't take Indiana place names literally. East Enterprise has no counterpart to the west, South Bend is in the north, Also, if a town has the same name as a foreign city ... Versailles, for example (Ver-Sigh) ... you must not pronounce it that way lest you come under suspicion as a spy. (It is pronounced Ver-SALES by true Hoosiers)

7. Become mulch literate. Hoosiers love mulch and appreciate its subtle differences. Learn the difference between hardwood, cypress and pine bark at a minimum. Researchers think the state affinity for mulch derives from its relatively flat terrain. People have a subconscious need for topography, and when it can't be supplied naturally, they are more likely to make little mulch hillocks in their front yards.

8. In order to talk sports with obsessive fans in Indiana, you have to be knowledgeable on three levels -- professional, college and high school. The truly expert Indiana sports fan knows not only the name of the hotshot center at Abercrombie and Fitch High School, but also what colleges he's interested in, how much he bench-presses, who he took to the prom, and what he got on his biology quiz last week.

SPECIAL NOTE: SPORTS in Indiana consist of Basketball and NO OTHER.

9. The best way to sell something in Indiana is to attach the term "Amish" to it. The product need not be genuinely Amish. This would explain the existence of Amish moo shu pork.

10. Meat and Potatoes, Whole Milk and canned vegetables are the staple diet of all Hoosiers. When dining out, the Hoosier will Always gravitate toward the "All You Can Eat Buffet" style of restaurant dining. massive helpings of starchy foods (rolls, biscuits, mashed potatoes and noodles) are preferred over buffets that just serve an excellent salad bar. Occasionally, Hoosiers will eat out at Chinese Restaurants and Mexican Restaurants. Hoosiers like Amish moo shu pork and Amish Tostadas.

I hope you found this guide to be useful. If it offends you, please let me know and I will bring a green-bean casserole to your house to make amends.