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?