I wasn't able to go home to Minnesota over the holidays, but I did manage to find an enclave of natives at Cadillac Jack's (2250 South Monaco Parkway), where my world ended a few weekends ago. Perhaps you remember this particular Sunday: The Vikings lost to the Arizona state high school championship team, and the Broncos decided to not even show up at Lambeau Field. I have never seen a team roll over like the Broncos did for the Packers.
You'd think they would have liked to go into their inevitable loss to Indianapolis with at least a little positive momentum. But no.
Blame Mark Kiszla, the Denver Post sportswriter every Minnesotan hates after his article about the Minnesota Wild and why they don't belong in the same building as the model human beings who are the Avs. Displaying a measure of small-mindedness, superficiality and juvenile thought typically only seen in the soul-baring outpourings of a teenage girl's diary, Kiszla provided a cogent pre-playoff analysis on how the Minnesota uniforms were so ridiculous, the Wild couldn't win. (Maybe he would have had a more favorable view if the jersey featured a mysterious and pointless foot.) In doing so, he provided just the motivation the Wild needed to triumph over the mighty Avs, giving Minnesotans the greatest day in history since the birth of Christ.
2250 South Monaco Parkway
Anyway, since then we've blamed Kiszla for everything from a sports-team loss to a bad crop of soybeans, just so he knows there are people out there who are almost as petty and immature as he is.
And I'll admit it: By no means are Minnesotans a perfect people. On display at Cadillac Jack's was ample evidence that in my home state, mullets are not only prevalent, but they're socially acceptable. Black concert T-shirts never went out of style in Minnesota, either. Nor are we the healthiest group. As at any bar in Minnesota, the smoke at Cadillac Jack's saturates your skin and announces to the world that you're a five-pack-a-day man. And since most Minnesotans like cheap beer, you can't find real beer in the bars that cater to us. (At Cadillac Jack's, my request for a Black and Tan was met with stunning silence by our waitress.) We are in perpetual denial of our alcohol abuse and invent things like "ice fishing" or "cow-tipping" as excuses to drink. Most of us talk in a nasally tone that makes it difficult to take us seriously -- but doesn't make us sound outright moronic, like a Deep South accent does.
Still, there is one thing that sets us Minnesotans apart from -- and above -- everybody else in Colorado: We know how to drive.
Let's face it: Most people here suck at winter driving. Every year, I wonder if it's the first time they've seen the fluffy white stuff that falls from the sky. Colorado natives (all seven of you currently in captivity) blame Texans, Californians or Martians, but I've been here off and on for over thirteen years, and those rare natives suck, too -- an observation that caused a near riot when I shared it with Cadillac Jack's customers.
But I'm not one to just bitch and moan. And as part of my New Year's resolution to make the world a better place -- for me -- I've single-handedly solved the Colorado-drivers-suck-in-snow problem by creating this quiz (during a four-hour traffic jam on the way to Breckenridge) that all drivers must take before they're allowed on I-70.
1. Do you respond to the sight of snow by immediately locking up your brakes regardless of speed, proximity to other cars and actual amount of accumulation?
2. Do you own a BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes or Lexus "SUV" that says to the world, "I can drive without consideration for the safety of others or even some laws of physics"?
3. Are you a snowboarder and thus like the driver of one of the SUVs listed above on the slopes, placing every nearby human at risk?
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4. Do you view the speed limit as an immutable law of nature that you would never exceed or even approach?
5. Is your response to the appearance of brake lights on the car ahead of you -- even if the car is technically over the visible horizon -- to slam on your brakes, much like if you saw a snowflake hit your windshield?
If you answered "yes" to one of the above, you would have your license suspended until you passed a driving course administered by me. Two affirmative answers would result in permanent revocation of driving privileges. If you agreed with three or more questions on the quiz, you would be shot before your vehicular ineptitude could kill someone else.
Until this state implements my plan, I suggest you find the nearest Minnesotan and ask his help in negotiating those "treacherous" winter roads. We'll be at your nearest dive bar.