By Jessie Dubin
Last night, my adopted state did me proud. Unlike some predicted, we managed to host a major national presidential debate without incident. Not a single redneck parked his lifted F-250 in the grass outside the debate hall of Lynn University, no public exposure arrests, and if you were waiting like I was for a senile septuagenarian in the audience to loudly ask the ladies next to her why that nice Mormon fella had so much Botox, you were sorely disappointed. The audience conducted itself appropriately, the candidates received a warm welcome, traffic was managed with minimal delay for nearby residents, and we ended up looking better than usual to the rest of the country.
For the first time ever, I’m going to take a little state pride victory lap. Go Florida! I’d post a video file of me doing my touchdown-happy-dance, but I don’t want to completely blow your mind and break all the internets.
I haven’t always been able to show my Floridian pride. As my cousin Nicole is so fond of saying, “It’s always Florida.” This references the disproportionately large number of negative national news stories that take place in the Sunshine State. Hanging chad? Florida. Where did the 9/11 suicide attackers attend flight school? Florida. A 17-foot wild Burmese python ate your Golden Retriever? Either Florida or my college dorm room. Rush Limbaugh? You’re welcome. Drug cartels, Elian Gonzalez, Trayvon Martin, shark attacks, Casey Anthony, face-eating zombies, Vanilla Ice…the list goes on.
As a native Kansan who moved to Boca Raton three years ago, I was raised on a steady diet of embarrassment concerning my home state. Even after moving cross-country, it hasn’t abated. My current job puts me in a large number of face-to-face meetings on a daily basis. With my flat Midwestern accent and insistence on being polite, I get a lot of inquiries regarding my origin. I grudgingly admit Kansas. The usual response is a long pause and nervous giggle, so I’m pretty sure the subsequent abrupt subject change is generally a relief for all parties involved.
Kansas is the state that banned the teaching of evolution in the late 1990s, which is all that most people have heard about it in the last 15 years. I don’t enjoy repeatedly explaining why the majority of the state’s legislators believe that Jesus rode a dinosaur to work. My school taught me well; it’s because dinosaur travel is by far the safest mode of transportation.
My point is that this whole state pride thing is a new feeling. I’m kind of enjoying the warm and fuzzy tingle that has me standing up a little straighter—kind of like the mornings when the alligator in my backyard doesn’t barrel roll me into the canal when I give him a hug.
We’ll see how long it lasts. My guess is two days, fourteen hours and thirty-six minutes. You know, a nice round number.
Jessie Dubin is a doctor (gentlemen) of veterinary medicine and the youngest full-time resident of Boca Raton, FL. She enjoys bowling, gardening, and correcting people. Jessie is cheering for the K-State football team to make it to the championship game this year, and if you want to go see “Argo,” just give her a call.