Saturday, May 21, 2016

How to Piss off a Chicagoan.

My favorite past time is traveling so I often wonder with each new city I visit if there are certain rules and regulations, if you will, that the locals implement which would make little to no sense to an outsider.

I was recently told a good way to piss people (especially the police) off in Austin is to jaywalk, even if there isn’t a car for miles. Being from Chicago, I haven’t used a crosswalk in 20 years, and playing Frogger with local traffic is part of my daily routine. Remembering to push the button and wait for the “walk” signal definitely took some adjusting, but I am glad I was warned before I racked up several hundred dollars in tickets.

Chicago is no exception. While they may not be laws, we have our own quirks which may seem silly to everyone else, but it’s just what we know/how we do things.

With that being said, here are some surefire ways to piss off a Chicagoan…

Point out our accents.

While most of us don’t say Chicaaaaaago like the old Saturday Night Live skits, after a few drinks, that long “a” may sneak into a word or two. We know how horrible it is and don’t need you to point it out to us. It already makes us want to gaaaaaaag so please spare us your best Ditka impression.

Walk three people wide across the bike path.

It’s a simple concept really; If you want to take a nice leisurely walk along the beach, by all means get your lake on, but do it on the actual sand, grass, or those wonderful concrete elevated steps the city made to keep people like you from blocking the entire path. Joggers and Bikers use it to get exercise without becoming road kill on a city street, and many are hauling ass.

You wouldn’t casually stroll through the middle of a busy intersection so use that same logic here, and stop being a literal walking hazard.

Actually enjoy Malort.

There is a long standing tradition here with out-of-towners, and it is to ruin their day by making them take a shot of Malort. If you have never heard of it, Malort is a wormwood liqueur that tastes nothing short of broken dreams and regret. It’s horrible, and we live for something called “Malort face” which is the near vomit induced look new victims make after one sip. If you are one of the few people to actually like the taste of Gypsy tears, you strip us of the pleasure in your painful initiation.

Compare us to New York.

While we both have neighborhoods and skyscrapers, that’s about where the similarities end. Both cities possess good and bad qualities, and one isn’t better than the other, just different. Remember how your parents always compared you to your sibling? It’s kind of like that, but with several million people doing the comparing.

You can like two kinds of pizza, you guys.

Say you live in the city when you in fact, reside in Naperville.

If someone from here asks you where you live and you say, “Chicago,” you better be prepared to respond with a specific neighborhood, not a suburb 45 minutes away.

Stop trying to make Schaumburg happen, it isn’t going to happen.

Honestly, there is no greater way to piss off a true Chicagoan than to pose as one so if your favorite bar shares a wall with a Petsmart or Chipotle, stop claiming to be one of us.

Call Chicago “Chi-Raq.”

We know we have a gang/crime problem, but people make it out to be much bigger than it actually is. Most of the city is very safe, and if you aren’t looking for trouble, you probably won’t find it. Do things happen? Of course. This is a major city, and you’d be hard pressed to find any heavily populated city with zero crime. One Spike Lee movie, and suddenly everyone thinks I put on my bullet proof vest to go to the corner store.

Just to clarify, the only annoying article of clothing I ever need to put on before I leave the house is pants.

Constantly talk shit about our sports teams.

We are aware the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since the early 1900s (they are currently killing it though), but that seems to be the only thing people focus on regarding our city’s sports. Did you forget we have two baseball teams? Also, who remembers the Bears in the 80s or the Bulls in the 90s? No matter what you say about LeBron James, he will never be Michael Jordan, and you can’t take good ole number 23 or the masterpiece that is “Space Jam” away from us.

If you need more recent examples, see exhibit Blackhawks who have won three of the last seven Stanley Cups.

Put ketchup on your hot dog.

Look, I get it. Ketchup is delicious. If a condiment war broke out, I would enlist Team Ketchup all day, but with that being said, I would treat it like a red-headed step child if you brought it anywhere near my Chicago style hot dog.  Sport peppers? Absolutely. Neon Green Relish? You bet your ass, but Ketchup? Not within these city limits. It may seem silly, but when it comes to our hot dogs, logic isn’t a priority…only mustard and celery salt.

Use empty seats on public transit to store your shit.

Did you do a little (or a lot of) shopping on Michigan Avenue? Have a plethora of bags? Then call a fucking Uber or hail one of our million cabs to avoid being the asshole who hogs up a row of seats while the rest of us are forced to test our personal space boundaries with dozens of strangers.  

Remind us that Kayne West is from Chicago.

Ever since Swift Gate 2009, out of town friends and family love to tell us how Kayne West was born and raised here. Thousands of famous people hail from Chicago, but every time Mr. Modestly does or says something stupid, we get reminded he is one of our people. How soon you guys forget Jeremy Piven and Vince Vaughn, The Cusacks, Walt Disney, Buddy Guy, or Bill Fucking Murray.

Oh, and you like boobs? You can thank Hugh Hefner for paving the way with pictures of them, also from here.

Park in somebody’s “Dibs” spot.

Not only will you piss someone off, you will probably come out to a mountain of snow where you clean car once was. People do not fuck around when it comes to claiming the parking spot they spent two hours digging out. If you aren’t from here and see anything from lawn furniture to vacuums lining the streets during the winter, it’s best to leave them where they lay or get stabbed. I’m kidding. Crime isn’t as bad as they say, remember?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Drinking in your 20s vs. Drinking in your 30s

Dear God, Allah, Jesus, or anybody up there who is listening,

I solemnly swear to never drink again if you can cure me of my current condition. I am obviously dying, and I am positive without your help, nothing will ever make me feel better again. I have tried every remedy known to man, but as the day drags on, my condition is getting worse. I am afraid I am not going to make it.
Send my parents my love.

I know I have vowed to stop drinking on numerous occasions in the past, but I assure you this time, no truer words have ever been spoken. I even mean it more than last Sunday, and the ones before that when I promised to give up the devil’s juice for good.

Please cleanse me of my ailment, so I may begin feeding the homeless, fostering shelter dogs, and working on a cure for cancer.

                                                              Thank you in advance,
                                                                                                   30 something year old me.

Dear God,

Please send pizza because I spent my rent money on tequila shots.

                                                                      You’re the best,
                                                                                                20 something year old me.

My bargaining with various higher beings probably began shortly after my 30th birthday party and has continued nearly every weekend since.

Although it is hard to pin point the exact moment your body decides to turn on you, around 30 it takes away one of your most prized and under-appreciated possessions…the ability to drink all of the alcohol with little to no consequences.

If you are still in your 20s, enjoy it while you can because I promise, you will miss it when it’s gone…especially on Day 2 of your hangover.  You could blend up a Gatorade, Pedialyte, and Advil smoothie, and not even that could save you.

Go ahead and forget about that “hair of the dog” shit too because the sheer thought of trying to cure your hangover by drinking more alcohol will make you vomit, again. Oh, and in case you were wondering how many times a person can throw up and not actually die, the limit does not exist.

Delayed recovery time isn’t the only thing that drastically changes as you get older. Let us not forget about...

Pre-gaming. In your 20s, this is an ingenious plan to get drunker, faster, and for cheaper.  In your 30s, this idea is stored in the part of your memory with your crush on Freddie Prinze Jr.  You have probably forgotten he even existed up until this moment.  Same is probably true of purse flasks and Jagger bombs.

I’d like to say by the time you turn 30, shots become a thing of the past, but many wasted Sundays have taught me otherwise.  However, when you are in your 20s you take shots in order to get wasted, and when you are in your 30s, you take them because you are wasted. Intoxicated o’clock is the only time these evil fuckers seem like a good idea. If only your sober self could tell your 2 am self to avoid them like the plague, or worse, well liquor…

Remember your previous excitement in your 20s when you “won” a free open bar party? Now older and wiser, someone would have to pay me to attend one of those shit shows. If given the option of drinking vodka out of a plastic bottle or my toilet, I may “Orange is the New Black” it…as long as it’s Ketel One.

Also, if you’re anything like me, your preferred type of alcohol in your 20s was “cold,” but in your 30s nothing excites you more than craft beers and cocktails.

Maple Bacon Ale?!

Lavender infused egg foam with honey comb Hibiscus leaves?!

Bring. It. On.

If it has six or more ingredients, I am all over it… just as long as I can drink it somewhere with more chairs than there are people.

Clubs? What are these things you speak of? Are they similar to pre-gaming? I am not familiar…

Since turning 30, my favorite drinking spot has become my couch. The guest list is exclusive, there’s no dress code, and the wine selection is extensive. And who said there are no advantages to aging?

Stop saying you live in Chicago if you are from the Suburbs.

I grew up in the Midwest in a small suburb, and I always knew the minute I turned 18, I was going to move to the city. I am of course referring to Chicago and not New York like some of those ‘Hills’ bitches implied is the only one.

I watched numerous friends go away to college while I chose to attend one in the heart of downtown. Many moved away in search of warmer weather or better opportunities, but I remained. I toughed it out every winter (although the snowpocalype a few years back really tested my patience), and I paid my bills through a series of less than desirable jobs (one word: Wrigleyville). To this day, I still fall asleep to the sweet symphony of sirens every night.

Why would I want to leave? I live somewhere where every year I get to go to the beach, ice skating, and apple picking all in the same place. There is always something to do, including a street or food festival nearly every weekend, and I can get just about anything I need/desire delivered within an hour at time, day or night. Hellooooo shitty pizza at 5 am!

Some of the most beautiful architecture you will ever see is in Chicago, you can eat all of your feelings via the most delicious pizza and hot dogs, and our Art Institute is rated the best in the entire world (take that Louvre’!). Even George Lucas wants a piece of that sweet museum pie when he builds his here in 2019.

I could literally go on and on, but to summarize: Chicago is one of the greatest cities in the world. With that being said, if you don’t reside directly in it, stop claiming it as your own. I am talking to you Schaumburg and Naperville.

If you live in the suburbs, stop saying you are from Chicago.

I have been living in the city for over a decade, and I will tell you first hand, there is no greater way to piss off a true Chicagoan than to say you are from Chicago when you live in a suburb nearly an hour or more away. Calling it “Chi-Town” is a close second.

Call it “Chi-raq” and I will punch you in your throat.

I know many of you lighting your torches at this very moment will argue, “It is just easier than saying, “I live in (insert random shitty suburb here),” but if you have to pay a toll to get the city, you clearly don’t live within it. Therefore, claiming you do is about as authentic as Drake’s street cred.*

*(If you have been living under a rock, google “Hotline Bling.” Yes, mom. I will show you how to use google next week.)

See, there is a certain amount of bullshit one must encounter when living in a major city regardless of how amazing it is. If you do not experience these things, you don’t get to have your cake and call it Chicago too.

You don’t have to deal with the fresh scent of urine on your morning commute, nor do you spend a decent part of your day trying to distinguish between an actual crazy person and an irate homeless person, and you sure as shit don’t have to worry someone will call “Dibs” on the parking spot you spent hours shoveling out. Those of us that live here feel like we earned the right to call this wonderfully crazy place home so if your favorite bar is in a strip mall, stop claiming to be part of our exquisite madness.