I still can't get past the idea of Minnesota being funny, somehow. Like the entire state seems inherently whimsical. It's just a funny state. That perception on my part has made it harder to feel like this is home.
And that's hampered my ability to settle in here somewhat. Not a lot but some. I feel like to some extent I'm living in, perhaps not a cartoon, but a romantic comedy with an absurdist streak. I'm living in So I Married an Axe Murderer (you know, from Mike Myers "funny" period). We all know that me trying to make sense of Minnesota is a big part of this blog. Things are just more comic here. I feel like I should work in a wacky ad agency and Matthew Perry should be there too along with, I don't know, Betty White.
A couple weeks ago I got an email asking to elaborate on that and I've found it difficult. But I'll try. Here's why Minnesota is a comic place to me:
1. The enthusiasm. Minnesotans get excited about things. Plays at the Guthrie, cold, heat, Juicy Lucys, hockey, it doesn't matter. Even music! Minnesotans don't take a cool, detached view of liking something. If they (we?) like it, then they LOVE it. Enthusiasm is funnier than detachment.
2. The cold. It gets so damn cold in the winter here that absurdity enters into it. There's no reason why we as a species should live here and go through that cold yet millions of us do anyway. We dress thickly, we plug in cars, we scamper into buildings, we live here all winter. That is hilarious.
3. The accents. I mean, geez, come on dere.
4. The phonetics of the name. Mi-nuh-SOE-tuh. It's funny. Much funnier than Maryland. Or Kansas. And when you provide a chance for that round Minnesota Oh sound right in the middle? It's like comic opera just giving your address.
5. Sports futility. Now, I grew up rooting for the Vikings until I was 8 years old because the Seahawks didn't yet exist. It was explained to me that we were Norwegians and this team is from a sort of "American Norway" and named after a sort of Norwegian pirate. So Chuck Foreman is Norwegian?
Yeah, let's go with that. Anyway, the Vikings, God love 'em, went to the Super Bowl often back then and lost every time. They haven't been back. Meanwhile the Twins, dear hearts though they are, are stuck with a low payroll and though they sometimes overachieve I can't see them going too far (at least until the new stadium opens). The Timberwolves have a funny name and, man, I don't know when things get turned around. Then there's a team called the Minnesota Wild, which is an inherently comic name too. All in all, scrappy and admirable teams that just aren't all that good. In Seattle, it was similar but often those teams were expected to do well and then they failed, which is not as funny.
6. People have a pretty great sense of humor here. They can make a joke, they can take a joke. They regularly fail to register sarcasm, which makes for some awkward social situations, but generally they don't take stuff too seriously and they have fun. So it's funny and fun too.
If you're Minnesotan, or geez even if you're not, why do you (or do you?) think Minnesota is funny?