Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Tuesday I post a new column.
Don’t ever cross a Minnesotan. People in Minnesota mean business. We may not be the biggest or the best-known state, and brain-dead people in California may think we’re a providence in Canada (true story), but we’re a state worth respecting.
Who built the world’s biggest mall for absolutely no reason whatsoever? Minnesota. Who had an openly gay Republican running for office without much controversy? Minnesota. Who elected the first Muslim to Congress? Minnesota. Who has a festival every year called “Taste of Minnesota” that is held specifically so fat people can get fatter? Minnesota. Who has voted for Democratic presidents consistently since 1976, longer than any other so-called liberal state? Minnesota.
Those hippies in Berkeley and hipsters in New York have nothing on us. When you piss off a Minnesotan, we do crazy things like shout at you in Norwegian or chuck a beer bottle at your head. If you’re really rude, we might do both at the same time. If you’re too far away to have a bottle chucked at you, we might secede from the United States just to spite you.
No, really. On July 13, 1977, the town of Kinney, MN seceded from the United States because they couldn’t get money to repair their water system. Their population had doubled because of the mining boom, and they badly needed the repairs. They asked for state funding and were denied. They asked for national funding and were denied. Then they said “You done tickled my angry for the last time, city folk” and wrote an official letter of secession.
Did it work? You bet your ass it worked. Minnesotans aren’t stupid. We don’t get the fanfare of other states, but it’s not because we couldn’t if we wanted to. We pick and choose when we want to broadcast our weirdness. When Hunter S. Thompson said “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”, it was almost as if he was talking about all of the weirdos from Kinney.
The weirdos of Kinney issued thousands of passports and got the publicity they needed to get a new water system. Now they’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of their secession and re-admission into the United States. It might as well be a statewide celebration of weirdness.
I spent nearly 26 years living and working in Minnesota. I worked in both urban and rural areas, and I’ve seen plenty of it. I once met a man who carried a concealed weapon because “I just likes the way it feels in my pants.” That’s very creepy and very Minnesotan. I once met a girl who was training to be a professional model but fixed cars in her spare time. I should have married that one.
Minnesota knows how to drink but they don’t drink too much (Hint hint, Wisconsin). Minnesota sells 2.3 million theater tickets per year, second only to New York. Minnesota has cooler music venues than Los Angeles and many other supposed big music cities. Minnesota spawned Jessica Biel.
Seriously. Jessica Biel. She’s hotter than everyone.
I’m not here to get into some nasty makeout session with my home state, especially since I’m living in a different state now, but after hearing about the anniversary of Kinney’s secession, I felt a need to show my admiration to Minnesota. Also, I’m hoping Jessica Biel will read this and marry me.
It’s unusual to have one state that’s so logical and well-grounded, but at the same time very zany. Congratulations to the people of Kinney and everyone else in Minnesota. On Friday, when the weirdos of Kinney are celebrating their weirdness, the rest of you should go out there and get your weird on, too. It’s your heritage and your right.