There are times when I feel compelled to brag about living in the Garden State. Like it is my civic duty to point out some of the qualities of New Jersey that go unrecognized by ignorant acquaintances who still think it is funny to identify where I live by a particular Turnpike exit.
“We have really large ants in New Jersey,” I tell some startled out-of-town house guests recently. I say this proudly as a few annoying ghost dots flitter openly across our kitchen floor. “They like the flooded basements in March and the hot sweltering days in early April,” I say like a knowledgeable tour guide. “They drive up from the shore to the suburbs to get some R&R before summer.”
Everyone, especially my wife, is disgusted by the unexpected influx of ants, but I stick to my story because I haven’t figured out how to effectively drive them from the house. The ants I mean.
“Bait traps won’t work on Jersey ants,” I say. “This has something to do with their prolonged exposure to Radon under ground. That’s also why they run so fast; they have two extra legs. Exterminators are afraid of them”.
Of course, I am just making this up, but part of the beauty of living in New Jersey is that people outside the state will believe almost anything at all if it reinforces a negative stereotype. Don’t believe me? Try telling your friends in the Midwest or in California or Colorado that New Jersey is lush and beautiful and see what kind of response you get. Now try telling them that New Jersey is known for its ants.
“They have really big hair, too.” I say for good measure.
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