Posted by: robinsonwarner | July 17, 2008

How to spot someone from New England without listening to them speak

I was born and raised in the Northeast, more specifically, New England, and even more specifically, New Hampshire.  Over the years I’ve noticed that there are many different things that all New Englanders really like and are very strong supporters of:

  • Maple syrup
  • Golden and Labrador retrievers
  • Northface jackets
  • Going to Plymouth Rock
  • Skiing
  • Being terribly selective about what “good” clam chowder is
  • The Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics
  • Any team that is not the Yankees, Colts, or Lakers
  • Seasons – more specifically, when the leaves change color in autumn.  If you want to really see a grown woman cry, have her tell you about the first time she remembers the leaves changing and playing in them in BlahBlah, Massachusetts.
  • Volvos– New Englanders often tend to be big fans of the Democratic Party, Karl Marx and social progressivism, and nothing embodies this like driving a car made by socialists.  Not only is the car made in Europe, which is often a huge draw for people in the Northeast, but it is compounded by being made in a socialist nation.
  • Cape Cod
  • Catholicism
  • Hot chocolate
  • Pretending their ancestors never owned slaves because they were totally at the forefront of the abolitionist movement
  • Good Will Hunting, The Departed, Boondock Saints
  • James Taylor, The Dropkick Murphys, Dispatch
  • Being under 21 and driving to Canada to get wasted
  • Pretending they care about hockey and the rest of the country should too
  • Being camp counselors in the summer


This is a relatively short list of things that New Englanders like.  There could be more added, but they are often very state specific.  For example, in Vermont, they strongly support comparing stories about “that time they saw a really big moose, but didn’t hit it”.


In New Hampshire they truly take pride in saying things like, “I was in Massachusetts, the other day and I was so surprised to have to pay taxes.  I’m so glad we don’t have those.  Let’s go get in our cars and not be legally obligated to buckle our seatbelts.” 


In Massachusetts they say things like, “I’m so glad that whole thing with the Catholic Church and the priests cleared up and that something like this will never happen again and it was just a fluke occurrence.  Let’s go vote for a Kennedy.” 


In Connecticut they say things like, “Hartford is so safe, but by God do I miss the Whalers.”


All of these things are quite noteworthy, but what is the one characteristic that unifies all New Englanders?  It is quite simple really.  If you truly want to recognize if someone is from New England, you have to catch them at the beach because every person goes into the ocean the same way.  The water is so cold at the beaches in New England (yes, there are beaches) that everyone takes the same evasive maneuvers to prolong the cold rush of actually going underwater.  Those of you who are reading this are very familiar with the way New Englanders do this.  They walk into the water very slowly with their arms held out at their sides wincing from the icy cold of the frigid Northern waters.  And then, they become deathly serious as they spy a small, rogue wave, coming near them.  An expert New Englander does not panic and recognizes the necessary procedure.  As the wave is just about to hit the potential swimmer, they launch themselves up through the water so that the wave does not hit them in the chest.  Their elbows go in at their sides, their hands fly up around their face and they turn their heads like they’re absorbing a right hook from Evander Holyfield.  After a minute or so of this, the New Englander will see a much larger wave coming towards them and they realize that their days as a semi-dry, relatively warm individual are numbered.  They ready themselves, eye the large wave, put their arms above their head, preparing to dive, and are instantly splashed on their back by a loved one who is a total asshole.


Thanks to Chase for his keen observation that inspired this post.


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