Greetings. Rickey's currently recovering from near lethal levels of exposure to sunshine, barbecue food, and Aaron Heilman. In short, Rickey is now singed, overly sated, and in not much of a rush to catch another Mets game at Shea any time soon. To take one of The Bard's phrases wildly out of context: the weekend was too much with Rickey. So no new material today from Rickey, sorry folks. We'll be back in the coming days with some cutting edge analysis of the Democratic ticket featuring Joe Biden, a handy guide for what to do when the cork breaks off in the wine bottle you're trying to open, and a review of "Tropic Thunder." Fortunately however, Rickey's younger brother (for the sake of continuity and anonymity, we'll call him "Henderson the Younger") in Florida emailed in with a description of just what it means to dwell in the state that has the dubious distinction of being known as "God's Waiting Room". So without further delay, take it away Young Henderson, because Rickey has to put more aloe on his sun baked forehead. Ow, ow, ow...
The state of Florida has traditionally been viewed as good for only two uses: as a place to park old family members so that they may retire and die and as a place to park young family members so that they may enjoy cartoon characters and amusement rides. But under this veneer lies a wealth of different peoples and cultures. Nah, just kidding. Florida is really a simple place full of simple people, but for those of you that are completely clueless here is a beginner’s guide to the Sunshine State.
Although the U.S. government has declared that Florida is one state, it in fact is composed of two sections: a northern region and a southern region (think Italy, but not really) separated by a mason-dixon-eqsue line that runs across the middle of the state. To the South lies a land that is familiar to the old Jewish grandmothers and obnoxious Italian Yankees’ fan. This land shares the same values and culture of states like New York, New Jersey, and Boston. Basically people in South Florida are materialistic, judgmental, and quite high-maintenance. Cities like Boca Raton and Miami are populated with men that take out a second mortgage just to be seen driving around in a BMW 3-series and women that literally don’t work during the daytime but instead wake up at 8pm to hit the clubs and find a man to provide total and utter financial support. No doubt, these are horrible people who deserve the harshest that the world can dish out to them. And as retribution, the strong UV rays present in this climate will surely turn their skin cancerous and transform them into wrinkled prunes that smell like coconut oil. Think of this as God saying: “yeah, you can be a jackass and live it up in a sunny climate, but I’m gonna cut your lifespan in half!” Also like the Northeast, Southern Florida is a melting pot of ethnic groups. There are a ba-jillion different Hispanic neighborhoods, each with its own identity and smelly food. And let’s not forget the Jews! The Chosen People have long been a staple of this region, what with their insistence of reading the New York Times and arguments over what constitutes a proper bagel.
[Editors note #1: lest we be accused of being anti semetic, Rickey would like to point out that the Henderson family is moderately Jewish, so any slings and barbs that Young Henderson directs at the tribe is perfectly kosher. We're guessing that any insensitivity directed towards other ethnic groups & minorities is completely intentional however. The kid's been living in Florida for too damned long...]
Northern Florida is quite a different story. People are less tolerant of difference. They are old fashioned and simple. They look forward to a weekend of fishing out on the boat with a cooler of Schlitz. Many people have farms, some with horses. If you walk into a bar wearing a ridiculous shirt, people will pick a legitimate fight with you. If you did this in Miami, people would just laugh at you. In short, North Florida is like the South…and enough said about that. Towards the panhandle, in towns like Panama City and Destin people are beach-going rednecks whose main purpose is to eat lots of BBQ food and get through life without working hard. Everyone has a tattoo and drives either a truck or a motorcycle.
[Editor's note #2: we're assuming these "rednecks" are the same sort of people who verbally accosted Henderson the Younger for throwing up at a gas station pump in Orlando after he attempted to cook Vietnamese food for himself and ended up with food poisoning].
People from Alabama even migrate to this region for vacations and for this reason it is affectionately called The Redneck Riviera. Traveling through Northern Florida, you might find yourself thinking “yeah, I could live here for a few weeks, but then it would get boring fast”. You are correct. Time stands still in these parts and even goes backwards in some cases (on my last trip to the redneck Riviera I spotted a beat up red pickup sporting large confederate flags hanging off the back and a couple guys sitting in the bed. The clincher: at every stop sign, the driver and passenger reached around to the back passing around cans of beer to drink and throwing out the empties. Yeah….).
Then there are a multitude of cities in between: Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Ft. Myers. These places have the identity of a microwaved eggplant. Yes, some cities have their own unique areas and neighborhoods that are worth seeing once: Tampa has the beach life in nearby Clearwater, Jacksonville has a good local music scene. But speaking as an Orlando resident, I’ve seen firsthand the wide variety of stores, restaurants, and trendy locations in these towns and it’s not that impressive.
[Editor's note #3: and that's where he ended. Would this long missive ever have been emailed to Rickey if Tropical Storm Fey hadn't bombarded Florida with rain for five days straight and driven Henderson the Younger to adopt Jack Nicholson's style of writing in "The Shining"? We'll never know...]
[Posted at Humor-Blogs]