Dear TJ Simers
As I'm sure you already know, you've created quite a stir here in the Cornhusker state. Although the intent of your previous columns is obvious to you and I, NU and their fans are still having a bit of trouble with it.
It is my understanding that in preparation for next week's assignment, you have taken it upon yourself to set adrift the byways and highways of the great state of Nebraska and report on the various characters and quirky characteristics that cross your way.
As you may have guessed, I am not here to defend the defenseless. To put it quite bluntly, these people NEED to be made fun of. I'm not sure if you've noticed this either, but I may have a bit of experience in these matters. In case you missed the sign on the front door, I've spent the better part of two decades, reporting to folks outside this place...folks like you...just what this place is all about. For you see Mr. Simers, I've traveled this state for quite some time...from McCook to South Sioux City. I've eaten fast food in Gering. I've smelled the strong aroma of raw hot dogs, as I walked the dusty streets of Fairbury. I've sat on the steps of the capitol in Lincoln. I've slept in a cabin on Lake Mcconaughy . I've attended a wedding in Norfolk.
I've seen it all here.
Although you are DEAD ON in some, yay many of your stereotypes and observations from afar, I think it would be in your best interest if you took a few pointers from me, before you actually stepped foot here. For you see, contrary to what you believe, Nebraska is NOT the Midwest. What goes on here is not typical of the rolling hills of Iowa, the flat plains of Oklahoma or the winding river bottoms of Missouri.
This place is unlike anything you've ever experienced.
First and foremost, these people are going to try and change your mind. If you have to ask yourself, "Is this guy serious?" when somebody asks you to come over and take a look at his Johnny Rogers autograph collection.....yes...he is. If somebody asks you if you want to see his red stuffed Husker rat....they are not kidding. If you thought you saw a white "N" stitched onto some high school girl's homecoming dress...you probably did. I get called "obsessed" because I call these folks out for what they are. However, dressing up as a "Husker Elvis" to the squeals of delight of fellow fans...is not normal, regardless of the part of the country you live in.
Second, when you get to the game, do not bother to look for a tailgate spot. There is no tailgate spot. I'm not sure if it's because most parking lots around campus are too small for the standard issue red Chevy quad cab with Herbie Husker license plate holder, or because there's only 1 way to grill corn and potatoes. Regardless, the people of this state instead congregate at Lincoln watering holes on gameday, filled with memorabilia that remind them of how great they used to be.
This is a constant theme that I'm not quite sure you are prepared to deal with. Not only do they not care what you or other cosmopolitans think of them...they think YOU should be in awe of THEM for being so good for so long. Nevermind the fact many of them regard Major League Baseball or the NBA as a minor spectator sports behind football recruiting. Nevermind the fact that most of them couldn't tell you the difference between South Gate and South Dakota. They will tell YOU how successful they've been. Over and over and over and over again. That is their goal. That is why they invited you here.
Call them a backward ass hillbilly...call them toothless gomers who worship Larry the Cable guy (you'll probably see him too) it won't matter. Why? Because you're unable to handle the sheer magnitude of their greatness. Not just one of them. Not just one team...but all of them...as one. All at once.
They will spin any insult
They will mock any crude remark.
They will mistake your amazement for jealousy.
But do not be fooled. They will flock to you like state fair patrons to the funnel cake stand, because it's THEIR inherent mission in life to make sure you recognize just what you're missing. Just as North Koreans are taught from birth that America is Satan, and the world revolves around the great leader...citizens of Nebraska are taught from the womb that life begins and ends with Husker football.
You're not mean for ripping on them...you're just uninformed. You're not quick-witted for mocking their culture, you're simply live too sad of an existence to fully comprehend. Oh sure, some may act tough. Some may throw an insult..perhaps ask you how many cross-dressing prostitutes you saw on Hollywood Blvd last weekend. But even those brazen few who choose to rebuke your claims will all be thinking the same thing deep down.
"He may call us fat and illiterate..but wait till he sees the TUNNEL WALK!"
Mr. Simers, I beg you to reconsider your visit here next week. Skip the tour. Fly into Lincoln. Go to the game. Eat in the press box. Catch the first flight home. Much like fatherhood, there is no possible way to explain to you the reality of what you're about to encounter. I can not give you further examples, because you simply would not believe them anyway. Instead of seeing this place for yourself, take the word of a professional.
So when Betty Lou from West Point offers you another piece of pumpkin pie, as you sit on her front porch and recreate every scene from the Andy Griffith show, do not ask yourself, "Are these people for real?"
They are very much for real and you are very much in store for quite an education.
Trust me on this one.
PS - With that out of the way, let the record show that although I enjoyed the spirit of your previous Nebraska columns, I found your overall effort nothing short of pathetic. Considering your stature as a high-profile columnist at one of the world's largest newspapers, I find your creativity on the same level as the guys who came up with "So you think you can dance". Seriously...Fat chicks? Toothless? Pitchforks? Sure, you can drop those types of things from time to time, but to base an entire set of columns on it? That's like winning a trip to the Playboy Mansion, and coming back with a camera full of nothing but pictures of birds and lawn ornaments.
Seriously, at least put some effort into it next time. And if some weak-ass, amateur blogger is telling you that, you know you've got some issues.
I've set the bar awfully high for you next week. Don't disappoint me.