Artwork by Charles G. ("Dan") Bush
This blog post has nothing to do with Saint Maggie. It’s closer to the spirit of HEART SOUL & ROCK’N’ROLL because of where my characters live. But this post isn’t about that book either. It’s about an existential threat posed to my home state.
Many of you know I live in New Jersey, aka the Garden State.
Right about now you are snickering, “Garden State? Where's the garden?”
I’m here to tell you my entire state does not look like what you’ve seen on the NJ Turnpike or the northern stretches of the Garden State Parkway, nor are its people like the folks you’ve seen on “The Sopranos: or “Jersey Shore.” Well, most of them aren’t, anyway.
We do have friendly, kind, and courteous people. Our state also has trees, and streams, and rivers, and fields, not to mention a gorgeous shore. Yeah, that’s right. I said “shore,” not “the beach.” I’m a Jersey girl, for crying out loud.
However, I am resigned to that fact that other people will continue to refer to New Jersey as “The Armpit of the Nation.”
It’s also a given that when I tell people where I’m from they suddenly turn into stand up comedians and make with the New Jersey jokes.
I have life experiences to that effect. Here’s just one of them.
I lived in California for a while and twice a year would fly east to visit my family. So, I arrived at LAX and went to check in for my flight.
“Hi,” the overly-friendly and perky Cali guy behind the counter said. “Where are you headed?”
“Really,” he deadpanned. “Why?”
Everyone’s a comedian.
To paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield, New Jersey don’t get no respect.
As if encountering insults from others when I am out of state were not enough, this morning I learned that even the universe hates us.
Apparently, a Chinese satellite is expected to crash to earth.
And guess where it’s headed?
I said to Dan, “Just my luck. I’m going to step outside and a flaming piece of space junk the size of a school bus is going to land on me!”
“It won’t land on you.”
“What if it lands on my car?”
“Don’t worry. Your insurance will cover it, and you’ll get a new car.”
“Dan, I still haven’t fixed the scratches on the right side of my car from that little accident I had in October. It’s taking me forever to save up the $500 deductible. The insurance people won’t pay for a new car if they see my old one is still scratched!”
“Boo, the space junk won’t hit your car.”
Really? The man has lived here all his life and still he doesn’t get how it works?
Nobody likes New Jersey!
Even the universe.
My car and even my body have existential targets painted on them. It’s the price we pay – along with high taxes, out of sight housing costs, and ridiculous traffic – for living in the Garden State.
All joking aside, I’m praying China’s rogue satellite will burn up as it enters Earth’s atmosphere and that we in New Jersey (or anywhere else) will suffer no ill effects.
But if it does hit here, look out, China.
I speak Chinese.
Someone’s gonna get a severe tongue-lashing!
That is if I still have a tongue...
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder