There is a good chance that by the time you read this I'll be interned somewhere, tortured, and perhaps worse (like forced to watch a lame-ass Ohio State game).
A few years back I was living the good life, free of the oppression I am forced to live under today. It seems so foreign today, but if I close my eyes, I can almost see it still today. Sadly when my eyes open, I return to the oppression, and my eyes fill with tears.
Living in Gainesville, I never appreciated the freedoms I enjoyed, and I never realized what impact a decision I made would have. My employer forced me to decide to remain in the Promised Land and lose my job or move into this strange foreign land and get promoted. I didn't know so much about Buckeyes, apart from some miserable moments as a kid watching crappy-ass Big Ten football on ABC (stretching the adage that any football is better than no football). So I did some research, I came to the realization that a Buckeye tree is just code for cannabis. I guess I was at the point in my life where I was ready to experiment, and Columbus Ohio is a hell of a lot closer than Amsterdam. Besides, in Amsterdam they hide the stuff in coffee shops, off of the menu, but in Columbus, they celebrate it with a football team. Maybe Columbus wasn't so bad.
I move up to Columbus, only looking for the best. I try to accept my new surroundings, but they wouldn't accept me. I discover that no one wants me to be there, as I get greeted with "Why the hell did you want to move from Florida to Ohio?" (that question has stuck in my head for years, and I really don't have answer). People also quickly try to convert me into being a Buckeye. I look around, and few people have not been converted, and they don't make eye contact. I stand proud, put up my Gator pictures, calendars, and other shit on my cube walls. I wear my Wuerffel and Spurrier jerseys, and I represent the for the Gator Nation. Soon I've become an outcast at work: people get up and leave in the café when I sit next to them; cars won't let me in when they see my Gator tags, and parents grab their children when they see me wearing orange and blue. I really started regretting things.
Well football season came, and I figured I had to see what this was all about (and I was still looking to smoke some "Buckeye"—hehehe). I walk to the stadium, and as I get there, I see the burly masses wearing their red and silver. I look for tailgaters to mooch off of, which is what I'd do down in Gainesville. I soon discover that there are no tailgaters, as there are no tailgates. There are parking garages, fields, and a whole lot of hillbillies standing around with 24 packs of cans in one hand and a can in the other. What kind of beer is so good that people need to drink so much? Holy shit, they're all drinking Busch and Natural Light. It's more popular than Kool Aid at Jonestown (and given the choice, cyanide laced Kool Aid wins over Naddy Light all the time). You see, they call it tailgating, as historically it involved a vehicle with a tailgate: a truck, suv, minivan, station wagon, etc… I could care less on the mode of transit, but these vehicles were used because they could haul some chairs, a table, a cooler, and a grill. With this friends could sit, relax, and enjoy the food, beer, and atmosphere. As I was discovering, there was no atmosphere in Columbus. I've already discussed the beer, so onto the sad state of food. Food options range from carts serving hot dogs, sausages, and gyros (which all in all are good options, especially when drunk at 2:30am) to corporate sponsored, Clear Channel promoted, affairs, which may involve a cover, always involve a shitty band playing Hang On Sloopy (face it dude, the bitch let go a long time ago, just like that chick on Titanic did), and the food selection pretty much is the same.
At this point I realize that things would be so much better if I could find myself some Buckeye to smoke. I start by asking some locals who look the part, and they laugh at me when I ask. Discouraged, I walk on. As I'm walking, I start to notice many folks have these crazy ass beads on. It's like a white trash Mardi Gras. Big fat hairy guys are walking around topless, proudly displaying their man-boobs and their beads (this made my appetite disappear, so the lousy selection of grub no longer is disappointing). All of a sudden, some little old lady offers me some beads. I try to partake in local custom, but I really don't feel like flashing anything for some old lady, and lord knows what else she wants from a strapping young lad like me. She says, "take them, they're Buckeyes!" Buckeyes? I told her I thought Buckeyes were code for hippy lettuce, and she said that Ohio is famous for that too, but Buckeyes were nuts, poisonous nuts. I then realized that I wasn't gonna get to experiment, and I was surrounded by a bunch of druid like tree worshipers drinking skanky-ass beer. I went home utterly dejected.
The next Monday at work, I try to laugh it off. Soon it became obvious that my non-participation in the Buckeye pre-game rituals has made me a further outcast. Soon no one would talk to me, stores would kick me out, and meals at restaurants had a slimy glaze. Ohio became hell on earth to me, and all I could do is stay at home and watch the Gators on pay-per view. Since 99% of people are Buckeye worshipers up here, I tried to reach out to the other 1%. They still didn't make eye contact, and when I finally caught a glimpse of someone, I saw that they were almost like zombies, oppressed until they broke. Nothing remained inside these people, and their will to live had been extinguished. Was I next? How could I fight it?
Well I have fought it, and I still survive. I must pick my battles, and I've learned to deal with the funny looks, scared parents, and exclusion from society. If anyone up here found out I wrote this, I might not ever write again. I'd likely get lobotomized and learn the words to Hang on Sloopy (the bitch will still let go, and who the fuck is Slooopy?). If you can read this, stay away. If you're already up here, join the revolution. I know that big Midwestern car flippin' rioting types can be scary, but we have our UF wit and cleverness. We can find a way. We can prevail!