Having been conceived, born and forced to live throughout my formative years in Pennsyltucky, you would think that I would know exactly where that mythical area is? Yes, I know that isn't proper grammar but that is how they talk in Pennsyltucky.
After 30 years away from Pennsyltucky, I consider myself a 'state-less' person. I can't claim to be a Floridian because a native has to be born in this state. If I had my druthers, I would live on the Outer Banks of North Carolina during the summer months and Florida during the winter. So technically I wish to be considered a FLOBX: FL for Florida and OBX for Outer Banks.
Not that I wish to totally disavow Pennsyltucky, but I prefer not to identify with any specific state within the region. Pennsyltucky includes Pennsylvania, the good part of West Virginia, all of Ohio (sorry there isn't a good part), the lower half of Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky. If I've left anyone out, I apologize because Geography wasn't taught so good in 'you know where.'
My state-less status comes in handy during football season. I can go to any establishment and not have a stake in any of the teams. I can root for the underdog, no matter. I find people dressed in team colors amusing so my wife and I can sit between blood and guts rivals and not take sides. I especially like the Big Game Waterfront Grill because they recognize all the college and pro teams in their unique decor.
Where I feel the least comfortable is a place dedicated to just one state, be it Florida or any of the aforementioned states that constitute Pennsyltucky. This is just a personal observation but after an informal poll of the members of the 'Dead End Canal Yacht Club', 74.35 percent feel the same way.
I don't like the term Mid-westerners. How ambiguous is that? Most of the snow birds and a high percentage of 'locals' come from Pennsyltucky although there is an increasing number further-westerners finding their way here via the east-west feeder road system, to southbound Interstate I-75.
With my 'state-less status' I can converse with and listen to nearly everyone. When someone asks where I'm from, my standard answer is Pennsyltucky. If I'm rooting for a Big Ten team, some acquaintances assume I'm from that state. The most enjoyable game to watch for me is anyone from the Pennsyltucky Big Ten playing the few teams in the big ten not from Pennsyltucky.
I also have five pro football teams for whom I can root. That makes traveling between the 'Brown Backers' place and the 'Pittsburgh Terrible Towel' crowd, easy. For some reason I don't know where the fans of the Detroit Lions gather but, if you know, please clue me in.
There are several establishments who back the Browns, although for the life of me I don't know why. 'Loveable losers syndrome', I guess. Maybe it is because, like the Phoenix, they have risen from the NFL ash pit.
If an establishment wants to seek sports bar status they must have at least 12 wide screen television sets, the NFL ticket from Direct TV and a menu to entice the sports bar crowd. Whether they attach themselves to one state in Pennsyltucky and exclude all the rest, is their prerogative. If they have the money, they can do anything they want.
A perfect example is the 'Green Flash' on Captiva. Never mind that it replaced one of the 'all-time' great waterfront 'joints' (Timmy's Nook) but it is named after the green flash phenomenon associated with the sunset. But, and let me be crystal clear on this point, ready, the sun sets on the other side of the island! If that weren’t so ludicrous it would be hysterical.
So lets all cheer for Pennsyltucky U and the five pro teams within the region. You can have your favorites but you should still root for Michigan playing USC or Ohio State playing Miami, right? If Penn State is your favorite and you own the sports bar then you may want to have Joe Pa's picture in a prominent place, 'Happy Valley' beer on tap and a Penn State pennant above the door but not exclusively.
I guess it would be alright if you took some of PU stuff down for the rest of the week and put up other Pennsyltucky schools logos but there isn't a law. But how would the adjoining state chauvinists feel having a rival's banners and logos plastered all around the walls. Would they 'not' patronize the establishment because of that association? I guess we won't know until the snowbirds return next fall.
Until then it is just us locals. We get to play in the sand and on the water. My son and his friends don't even care where Pennsyltucky is or isn't. Their only concern is the traffic to the beach and visiting their friends at the local waterfront watering holes. Who knows, there may even be some locals working there this summer. Enjoy the heat!
Boatguy Ed is a retired bottom paint maker and is currently a volunteer extra on his son's Boater's Treasures television show that sells half priced dining certificates, www.boaterstreasures.com. Send your comments to boatguiEd@aol.com!