Thing I hate: Lying about being from Chicago | Bleader

Friday, May 11, 2012

Thing I hate: Lying about being from Chicago

Posted By on 05.11.12 at 06:33 AM

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Are you from here? Maybe not.
  • amtrak_russ
  • Are you from here? Maybe not.
When I was around 13 or 14, my friends and I headed up to Milwaukee to watch the Brewers play the Cubs. My memory’s a little foggy on the details, but either one of us or all of us didn’t have tickets, so we had to buy them off a scalper at the front of the stadium. Within minutes we walked by a portly fellow in full Cubs regalia—striped jersey, blue hat with red 'C' insignia, and Oakley sunglasses (then all the rage). His tickets were very reasonably priced, and as we made the exchange he asked us, "You guys from Chicago?"

"Yes," my friend responded.

"Nice. Where in Chicago are you from?"

"All over, Near North Side over here, Rogers Park over here. How about yourself?"

"Zion."

You find this a lot not just in Chicago, but whenever you meet “Chicagoans” in other locales around the globe. They will tell you they’re from Chicago, but then after asking additional questions about their background, you’ll discover that they’re from Lisle or Wheaton.

Here's the thing: there's nothing wrong with saying you're not from Chicago. Skokie and Highland Park and Naperville and even Gurnee are fine towns, and it's OK to say you're from there. Not that I would want to have been from any of those places; but hey, have some pride!

The excuse I typically hear from people who, frankly, lie about being from Chicago is, "It's just easier to say that you're from Chicago." What’s so hard about saying you're from Naperville? "Well, then people ask you where in Illinois that is, so you tell them it's right outside of Chicago. You might as well just say you're from Chicago." No, you shouldn't. The next time someone asks me where I'm from, I'll tell them I'm from Toronto. Hey, it's right outside of Chicago!

You're from the suburbs—so what? There are worse things—say, being from Florida. Would you really want to be from that backwoods, swamp-laden, orange-skinned mess? I’d honestly rather say that I'm from Schaumburg. Actually, you might as well be from Florida if you're from Schaumburg. There's an IKEA there, right? I kid, I kid.

You may think that being from Glencoe or Glenview or Glenbrook qualifies you as being a Chicagoan. Well, too bad: it doesn't. You're not from Chicago, and that's OK.

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