21 January 2003
Brunswicks and Oranges
In a lifetime of fifty years, give or take a few weeks, I have spent maybe a total of six days in New Jersey. And while some fascinating things have happened to me in the Garden State how many people can say that they've trodden the Boardwalk at Seaside Heights in wing-tips? its contribution to what I am is necessarily fairly small. (Well, yes, there was that meeting with Susanna Cornett, but she's not really from New Jersey, if you know what I mean, and this is where I got my first real-life glimpse of SWINTBN, but she's not really from New Jersey, if you know what I mean.)
To grow up in New Jersey is to grow up an existentialist, to realize the world is indifferent, if not downright hostile. You have to be on the lookout for other people's bullshit, because you're constantly being told that where you're coming from is useless. After a while, you realize that a lot of political and social distinctions are not about reality and truth, but about people trying to put you in your place so they can better regulate your behavior.
Come to think of it, it's not all that different from growing up in South Carolina, another state routinely maligned by people who really should know better, or living in Oklahoma, yet another.