“Mother nature may be forgiving this year, or next year, but eventually she’s going to come around and whack you. You’ve got to be prepared.” – Geraldo Rivera
I think we can all agree that hurricane Sandy was a mean, bloated, insane, bitch of a storm. As you all probably know I currently live in South Carolina but Jersey is and always will be my home. To see her get punched in the face like that was horrible. I felt this strange combination of disbelief, regret, and for some reason jealousy. I know the last one sounds stupid but let me explain why, I think it speaks to the very thing that makes people from New Jersey what they are.
I was jealous because I wanted to see it, I wanted to live through the madness and destruction. I wanted to live a few days without power, without traffic lights, with boats in the road and people fighting over bread and water. The anarchy of the situation to me seemed very appropriate for the wild west kind of state New Jersey is. Anyone who doesn’t live there will never understand what its like. The best way that I can describe it is like being at a giant parkway truck stop at one am with an open bar, one cop for every thirty people, with tribes of elderly and well off people clustered in small groups well armed and protected by lawyers and pitt bulls. To pack that many Irish, Italian, Black, Mexican, Arab and Arian peoples into one state is insanity. It’s kind of like taking twelve people of various ethnic background and social status, leaving them in an elevator with a few bottles of booze, a few bags of chips and letting them figure it out on their own. The magic of New Jersey is that somehow it works.
“The Jersey Shore” and “Real Housewives” is not New Jersey. Sure these people do exist, to the detriment of the rest of society. The same way a population of inbred, moonshine swilling, rifle toting hillbillies in West Virginia exist. These are polarizing figures and are easy to latch onto. Im not mad at the rest of the world for accepting this stereo type. I like to make fun of them as much as the next guy. But apparently God was sick of seeing Snookies dirty panties all over TV and smote the whole north-east coast for producing her.
“Too weird to live, too rare to die.” – Hunter S. Thompson
People from Jersey are an elite group of social renegades. Sure you have your dirty politicians, your drug dealers, murderers, strippers, child molesters, Mafioso, addicts, right wing evangelicals retirees, postal workers, Nazi’s, and duche-bags. But there are a lot of normal people too, a lot of good people. The difference between us and most other states is that we still have to see the crazies every day in a variety of forms. On the highway driving ten miles per hour under the speed limit. At the 7-11 standing by the magazine rack just staring at. fucking. nothing. When you go to the movies and some lady is there with her shitty kids that keep throwing popcorn and screaming and she doesn’t do shit because all of her will to live has been sucked out of her. In Jersey you cannot hide from the grime because it rubs you constantly like sandpaper making you a little rough around the edges. Not in a bad way though. It makes you laugh a little harder, love a little deeper, live a little faster. When the bottom of the barrel is so obviously and permanently in your face you appreciate things a little more.
So even though we got wrecked, we will re-build. When I called my friends and family back home no one bitched about it. At the worst they seemed annoyed that a catastrophe had interfered with their daily lives. How dare nature fuck with us? When it was all said and done people woke up the next morning, cracked a beer, lit a smoke and said “I guess I have the day off.” What else is there to do. I am proud to have grown up where that kind of attitude is prevalent. Long live Jersey and God bless America.