I've contributed to perhaps the best humor compilation I've ever read. Available now on Amazon!

My second chapbook, "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats" is now available as either a paper chapbook or as a downloadable item. See below for the Pay Pal link or click on its cover just to the right of the newest blog post to download to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook. Just $3.99 for inspired tales of gin, gambling addiction and inter-feline betrayal.

My first chapbook, I Was Raised to be A Lert is in its third printing and is available both via the PayPal link below and on smashwords! Order one? Download one? It's all for you, baby!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Minnesota Nice, Part II

There’s a term you may or may not be familiar with called “Minnesota Nice”. I’ve no doubt that it has its equal in other parts of the world; but as I don’t get out much, I couldn’t tell you what the, say, reputation of the average Belgian or Latvian is.

But those dirty lousy English?*

And right there, you can know that I am kidding, as your average Minnesotan would never, in sincerity, say such a thing.

Think it, yes.

Say it? Never.

Because that’s not nice.

The repute of the average Minnesotan is one of modesty; of being, perhaps, slightly overweight; of being able to drink many of the people in These United States under a snow-laden table; of saying things like “you betcha” and “uff-da” with a faintly discernible Swedish accent.

These things are true and probably obvious.

But what more should you, as a traveler to the Land Of Ten Thousand Lakes, know?

1. We smile a lot, even to strangers. If our eyes meet, it is nine times out of ten that I’ll smile at you. It is our way of showing that we acknowledge your presence. And, like the open-palmed greetings of the peoples of many lands, it shows you that we do not have anything in our mouths that we will be using later to hurt you.

2. We do not always say what we mean. This makes us seem as if we are complacently agreeing with you. Not true. “Mm-hmm” is not so much an agreement as it is not a disagreement. In another example, the phrase “that’s interesting” can be used in such cases as a thing being truly interesting, a thing being completely uninteresting, or a thing being horrifyingly tacky.

Inflection is everything.

3. There is the possibility – particularly in Greater Minnesota, that Jello/gelatin may be served to you as a salad, possibly with grated carrots in it, even, potentially, being “frosted” with mayonnaise. The proper response to being offered this dish is to smile and say, “So retro! That’s interesting.” Dispose of this dish as unobtrusively as possible.

There’s more, of course, but this is a weekend after all; and I’ve got lutefisk to make; Tuna Noodle Hot Dish and bars to bring to the new neighbors; and then of course there’s the meeting of P.O.L.K.A. club (Polka Lovers Klub of America) later.

Uff-da!



* In typical Minnesotan fashion, I must now back up and say that this is a joke. I read many English blogs, have enjoyed many English beers, and own all of The Jam’s albums – why, some of my best friends are English!

26 comments:

Mr London Street said...

Thanks for explaining it was a joke. I wouldn't have known to laugh otherwise.

Cheaply, xenophobically yours,

MLS

Kavi said...

Sounds like a nice place. 10000 lakes is neat. Carrot jelly sounds interesting. But the smile part...well, that takes the cake. The mouth will eat the cake...! :)

Well, we do not say what we mean...

Well, we have quite a few things common !

Bossy Betty said...

Oh my gosh! This is so true--especially #2! I have gotten in a lot of trouble with this one!

savannah said...

bless your heart, but y'all could move down heah and fit in jes fine! xoxoxox

pegbur7 said...

hmmmnnnnn That's interesting! :-)

You always bring a smile to my face. One of these days maybe I'll get out of the south and visit you'uns'. Is that how yall say it? LOL

Remember to pick up your award!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Yup, you betcha. And instead of saying, "Do it this way," we say, "A lot of guys would do it this way." We leave it to you to decide.

Madame DeFarge said...

I thought they only spoke like that in North Dakota? Those copy cats.

Sam Liu said...

Oh Minnesotans sound like a truly interesting and wonderful bunch, I'd love to go there someday. And don't worry, I know that of course you're joking about us Brits. After all, who could *possibly* hate us? (he asks nervously) :D

Anything Fits A Naked Man said...

Oh, how I love what you've written here! I'm originally from Ohio, and I find much of this to be true of my home state! Conversely, my husband and I have been living in Pennsylvania for the last year, and have found it to be extremely unfriendly, indeed! Maybe we need to give Minnesota a try! Uff-da!!

Douglas said...

You misspelled "infection"... just sayin'

Did you know it is not a clever thing to do to smile at a monkey (or his larger cousins, I suspect). I learned this at a very young age... 5, I think... I still [shudder] have nightmares.

Not that Minnesotans are monkeys, mind you...

Kevin Musgrove said...

Isn't the jello salad served in a ring so that it can contain interesting tit-bits?

Mrs4444 said...

Someone once sent me a recipe for our family cookbook that included jello and OLIVES. I thought, "What is this?! YUCK!" To this day, I don't even know if she was joking (she had a head injury once, so I was afraid to ask.)

I once bought a bumper sticker in St. Paul, which read, "Minnesota: Ten Thousand Lakes and a Few Weirdos." I love Minnesota :) (I fit right in.)

Pat said...

I learned all this when I watched "New in Town" with Renee Zellweger, though it sounded like tapioca pudding is an even bigger deal than gelatinous desserts in Minnesota.

Amber Star said...

But what does Uff-Da mean?? I have a friend from Minnesota and he never ever says things like a Swede or any other nationality, and berated me when I did say something like that.

There used to be a commercial for beer from the land of ten thousand lakes. I wanted to go there very much, but I was 5ish years old.

Amber Star said...

Nevermind about the uff-da...I googled it.

The Jules said...

I'm English and I'll have you know my lice are excedingly clean.

That told 'er.

The Retired One said...

True enough facts about Minnesotans but in the U.P. where the Finns predominate..they SAY whatever they are thinking, rude or not...which is sometimes really embarrassing...such things at family reunions make things really interesting...
if you gained weight, don't worry, they'll tell you..if you are getting gray, don't worry they'll tell you. ha

Sweet Cheeks said...

Your state may be quirky, but I love ya just the same.

Uff-da makes me laugh!
=]
xxx

Cheeseboy said...

Funny - that Jello thing is so much a Utah thing too. But we put carrots in it. Do they do that there too?

Your description of Minnesota is superb. I've never been there but can imagine your average Joe perfectly.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Pearl, thank you for your unique and special way of reminding me of near-home (South Dakota). Ya' sure... you betcha. True story: studying theater in college 20 some odd years ago, listening to audio recordings of various accents and the one for Northern Minnesota had the following (phonetically): "I yoost came back from Mee-nee-so-tah and Holy Zhee Villikers! It shure gets cold up dere in der Vinter time!" Meanwhile, the movie Fargo cracks me the heck up (except for all that, you know, gore). I'm looking forward to the family reunion and planning ways to dodge the Jello "salad" as we speak!

Emma @DivorcedBefore30 said...

I always thought that "Minnesota nice" was just that, but I heard on MPR that it actually means Minnesota "nice," as in #2 in this post. I think most of us are quite nice, but it's true that many Minnesotans don't tell it like they see it.

Jon said...

Hang on - jelly with carrot and mayonaise? Was Minnesota settled in part by the Dutch because that sounds worryingly familiar to me...

Tempo said...

Ah, the poor POMS (English) They seem to cop it from every angle, but only because theyre so damn polite and accepting.
Jelly with carrot? never considered the two going together anywhere except in the bin.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

And I can tell you that Iowa runs in the same way--is it a Midwest thing?

nlma said...

I had to watch Fargo 5 or 6 times, just because I loved listening to the accent so much. I hope it was accurate. Anything they try to do the local accent in movies, it's never quite right.

Vegetables (or fruit) in jelly. I fear it is a North American curse. But mayonaisse on jelly? Well, I never!

WrathofDawn said...

Um... that was me...