Tuesday, August 02, 2016
Lessons for living for non-native Iowans...
Lesson #1: We're glad you're here. Iowans are generally pleased when people choose to move to our fine state. So welcome.
Lesson #2: We'd prefer that you don't tell us all the reasons you prefer your previous residences. I use the word "prefer" because as an Iowan, I'm polite. But in truth, Iowans love Iowa more than Texans love Texas. So, when you tell me about your preferred big city life in Chicago or the heat you miss from Arizona, I'm only politely listening.
Lesson #3: Feel free to choose a State School (UNI, ISU, UI) to support in athletics, but you are not allowed to make commentary on any of the other schools for a minimum of 10 years of sincere fandom. These rivalries are deep and you need to be on Iowa soil for a while before you are allowed to talk smack.
Lesson #4: Never make fun of Iowa, ever. Yes, Iowans joke about being backward, being "idiots out wandering around," and that we have more pigs than people. We can express such sentiments because our loyalties are not in question. When you do it, we are inwardly rolling our eyes and if grace is absent, silently writing you off as "friend potential." Just don't do it. Would you make fun of someone's grandmother?
Lesson #5: You are not an official citizen until you've eaten Casey's pizza, shopped at Hy-Vee and Fareway, and visited the State Fair. (Feel free to leave a few other Iowa staples in the comments section.)
Lesson #6: We like college sports. Sure we have our fair share of Packer fans, Cubs fans, and a smattering of neighboring states' professional teams' fans. But we live and die by college sports. So when you bemoan our lack of professional clubs, we just don't get it. We cheer for one (or all three) state school(s). We even follow high school sports and small college athletics. We like it; it's the way we are. (See #4, if you are struggling with #6.)
Lesson #7: Yes, we wave at strangers (sometimes with a single finger upon the steering wheel). We allow people to merge. We shake hands with anyone and everyone. We open the door for people behind us. We leave pennies (dimes, nickles, and quarters) at cash registers for customers to follow. If you choose to not participate in these activities, you will never become a full citizen (see #5) or be allowed to engage in sports' conversations (see #3).
Lesson #8: Farming is a way of life that is appreciated, supported, and honored. Yes, there are debates about ethanol, hog confinements, and the like that will need to be had among Iowans. But, in principle, we support farmers (Google ANF if you have questions) and thank them for what they do. It's hard work, and our country would not be what it is today without these fine men and women.
Lesson #9: Iowans need Jesus. We are not as good as we think we are. We fall short of God's standards of perfection, holiness, and others-centered love. Deep down, our "niceness" is rooted in pride. Without God's forgiveness through the Cross of Christ, our pride will get worse and our consciences cold to what is true goodness, love, and beauty. We need Jesus as much as residents of Sin City, Hollywood, or wherever. Forgive us, Lord.