janklow stars in … Ohio: where everyone is way too nice

while not as large-scale as my recent journey to Minnesota, even MORE recently, my illustrious associate Jae Millz and i recently decided that we’d travel out to the Midwest for the wedding of a colleague who’d moved out there to go to school and then, apparently, get married. i’m not going to say whether or not the promise of an open bar had anything to do with this, but i WILL say that the last time J was on the scene, he found Colombus to be “way too nice,” and declared that a team of Maryland-bred assholes could “take that shit over” with ease. a wedding, lots of free alcohol AND the possibility of taking the state of Ohio over and running it like a fiefdom? sign us up! but first, we’ll need a vacation checklist:

[x] drive through some of the most depressing areas of the US
[x] make fun of West Virginia and/or rednecks
[x] examine graffiti from here to Ohio (and possibly back again)
[x] go to a wedding and drink, drink, drink

and once again, let’s boring this up with conversation!

chapter I: West Virginia is DEPRESSING
so, this time on the way to Ohio, we drove a different route than my last Ohio travels, through an area that, frankly, should be its own state: a combination of southwestern Pennsylvania, West Virginia (which is itself often depressing) and southeastern Ohio that is basically the same damn place and also filled with dying small towns and no more industry and so on. you can actually add western Maryland to that if you like, because it’s all the same deal. but there were some light-hearted observations:

-so, RIGHT after cruising out of my house – and this has nothing to do with the trip, actually – i saw a raggedy sign posted on a sign bearing the speed limit that read simply “LOST DOG.” is it just me, or is this is not an effective way of notifying people about your lost dog? how am i supposed to know what it looks like, or what it answers to? what do i do with it if i find it? so many questions!

-town of West Alexander, it’s possibly not the best sales pitch to paint “EXPERIENCE WEST ALEXANDER” on a falling-apart wooden barn, unless this was less sales pitch and more “depressing realization of life in WV.”

-minutes after crossing into West Virginia, we happened to see some classy example of the White Trash Tribe throwing his dumpy, overweight white trash girlfriend/wife/sister out of his car. this was such a classic (and stereotypical) WV moment that we had to laugh about it.

on the way back, we had to take a detour through another small town and tried to lighten the mood by saying “get ready to get depressed.” unfortunately, you know, it may have happened anyway.

chapter II: Graffititrek 2007
now, i had commented during the discussion of my last trip that “graffiti in America is very, very unoriginal, especially in two places – bathroom stalls and anything like a wooden railing. bathroom stalls are sounding boards for various racist commentary and drawings i can only describe as “wangs and stuff.”” since this was sort of an inadvertent observation, we decided to make a note of the graffiti on the way out there, only to find that, apparently, people respect their bathrooms in PA, WV and OH. seriously, what the hell. in fairness, though, we DID find this cryptic symbol:

seriously, what?
my conspiracy theory in regards to this graffiti: it was created by alien astronauts who walked the earth before man

since all the graffiti in MD is about, as stated, racist stuff and “wangs and stuff,” i don’t even know where to begin when it comes to translating this, so while it’s lucky a camera was in the bathroom, it’s still not solving the mystery. and though we searched through every rest stop and gas station bathroom on the way there and back, there was basically nothing. until we returned to Maryland and stopped near Cumberland:

seriously, what?
everyone that stops at a rest stop to make notes about their wife has one of those wives with fidelity issues, it would seem

seriously, what?
honestly, i don’t think even Jesus wants very much to do with the kind of people frequenting this place, or their problems

seriously, what?
so THAT is how Larry Craig got into all that trouble!

…and that’s how we knew we were truly back in MD. it feels so good to be home! err, sort of.

but we did make it to the city that bears Columbus’ name and which is way too nice. and EVERYONE there is too nice: waitresses and bartenders and panhandlers who might or might not be homeless and crazy people in White Castle and so on. this is something we’re really not used to in Maryland, where you have to be prepared for everyone to act like an asshole, treat you like shit, and drive recklessly. i must have seen half-a-dozen people back out of city parking spaces in a trusting fashion, whereas in MD that shit gets your car into an accident and maybe you into a fight. okay, example: let’s say you order a beer in a public venue and they’re out of it.

server in Maryland: we’re out of that. (stares blankly at you)
server in Ohio: i’m sorry, i’m out of that. (RUNS DOWN TO NEXT STAND AND GETS YOU THE BEER THERE) sorry about that, here you go.


but the wedding went well, we drank and drank from the open bar and we didn’t even take advantage of the fact that we could have rampaged through the city of Columbus, unopposed by polite pedestrians and these cops that wear bright white uniform shirts, as if to imply they don’t have to soil themselves with things like “work” and “crime.” good times (and mild internet withdrawals) were had by all.

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