This post was published here on the Huffington Post
I was in newlywed bliss having just arrived back home to New Jersey less than a week ago. Leaving the airport, I told my daughter to breathe it in, “Ahhh, do you smell that? Cologne and cigarettes.” I was kidding of course; teasing the way one might tease your favorite cousin – with love and just the right amount of burn. A lady next to me heard me and chuckled, “Ha. I was just thinking the same thing. Jersey has a distinct smell.” She wasn’t talking about the refineries or the Turnpike (which is the only thing outsiders really know of NJ), she was talking about the familiar smell of home. This broad was from New Jersey, I knew it, because only a New Jerseyan would hear my joke, get it, and revel in it with me. I was home and sailing the high seas of Back Home Happy.
A day or two after our arrival, a recent poll by YouGov came out, identifying New Jersey as “the least liked state in America.” Well, didn’t that just take the wind out of my “glad to be home in NJ” sails. Apparently, “New Jersey is the only state in the country which people tend to have a negative opinion of” to which I would say Nice going “Jersey Shore” cast for depicting us as morons even though half your cast wasn’t from here. But, hey, Jersey tomato – tomatoe. Since I was curious as to why New Jersey is the most hated state, I clicked further into the results and then investigated Jersey more on my own. After mulling it over a bit, I could see why we were the least liked state in America. Let’s take a look…
Did you know that the first drive-in movie theater was opened in Camden and that the first baseball game was played in Hoboken, not to mention the first brewery in America was opened here too. Baseball? Beer? Boooooring. Talk about an unAmerican waste of time. More recently, New Jersey has been known for Carli Lloyd, the athlete who pulled out a hat trick at the 2015 World Cup Final, who people are saying might be the best US performance in a title game? And I don’t want to mention Tobin Heath who played a hell of a game that night or Tim Howard from the Men’s 2014 World Cup Team who might as well be Superman in fear that I might bore you all to death. So, you know, “thanks” New Jersey for producing such mediocre talent. And did you know that silly things like electricity and recorded sound were invented in Thomas Edison’s New Jersey laboratory and that George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware and victory in Trenton, NJ was the first major victory and a turning point in the war. I mean, Freedom from the Brits, really, who cares?
Parks and Farms
And get this, New Jersey, the 46th smallest state, has 36 state parks. Of the 24 states shown here, only 10 states (mostly the bigger ones) have more state parks. Let’s be real, what are parks good for? NJ also ranks high in the production of blueberries (our state fruit), peaches, and cranberries and almost all garden vegetables like the well known Jersey tomatoes and Jersey Sweet Corn which come from one of the 10,000+ farms located in this tiny, dumb, park and farm friendly state. Yummy fruit and veggies? What a waste of perfectly good green space. Am I right or am I right?
The YouGov survey says that people from New Jersey are “unusually likely to take a hard-nosed attitude towards life” but since it doesn’t explain what they mean by this I looked up hard-nosed. It means “realistic and determined; tough-minded.” So I’ll read that as having a realistic, determined, and tough-minded attitude towards life. G*d damn it, New Jersey. Realistic, really? Get your head stuck high up in those clouds and stop being so rational. And while you’re at it, stop being so freaking determined too. Who likes determination anyway? And tough… wait, I have a separate category for that one.
While doing my research into New Jersey, I saw lots of rich Revolutionary History; a lot of battles won and lost and a lot of blood shed on these soils. First of all, gross. Turns out that because of its location between the two major cities of Philly and New York, New Jersey was pivotal in the American Revolution, eventually being named the “Crossroads of the Revolution” and the “Military Capital of the Revolution.” Apparently, we bang out a lot of tough people here. I guess tough worked for us then, but maybe, New Jersey, you could tone down your tough guy crap now that it isn’t needed.
Speaking of New Jersey’s location between those two cities — Terrible (capital T). Who would want to be nestled between New York City and Philadelphia? Bleh. Awful places full of culture and history and world famous cheesesteaks. And the nearby options when you live in New Jersey are countless: the beach, skiing, mountains, and city life. So many damn options – who needs ’em. Stupid New Jersey.
According to the Science and Engineering Readiness Index, New Jersey ranks the 3rd highest state in Math and Science. What the f… Science and Math? As if those subjects matter these days. According to another dumb report released by EdWeek, New Jersey public education system ranks 3rd, among the best in the nation. Ugh! And, wait – get this – this year, New Jersey ranked second in the “Chance for Success” index and second in the number of students scoring at the advanced level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Then, it ranked third in K-12 achievement and has consistently ranked in the top 10 nationally on the report. Could you believe that garbage? Top 3? What a bunch of dummies.
In the same week, I also read Parenting.com’s 2014 Top 10 Safest Cities in America List and would you believe that the #1 spot was my very own, Edison, NJ (and #4 was Woodbridge Twsp., NJ) Safety is so overrated. Feeling comfortable walking around alone at night or letting my kids play outside? Psh, child please. I want a little danger, a little risqué as the French say. We need a little “dancing with the devil in the pale of the moonlight” Joker type risk in our cities. We need a little danger. That’s what this 35-year old mom always says. Screw safety. And Batman. And New Jersey with their safe neighborhoods.
The survey also mentioned that people from New Jersey are “unusually likely – compared to Americans in the rest of the country – to say that they enjoying going out drinking in bars.” I think I’m missing something here… is this a downside?
I’d say it’s obvious why New Jersey is the most hated state. Solid history, nice parks, great location, small but tough, educated, and we could throw down with the best of them at America’s oldest brewery. Like that really good looking cousin that’s creative, smart, and sassy to the bone who is attending Yale on a full ride because she chose not to go to Harvard on a full scholarship, sure, there is a lot to hate but that’s really about you and not about her. And just like that cousin, make no mistake, Jersey is family too and only people related could tease her and get away with it. Don’t say you weren’t warned.