[Puddin’s note: Anyone who’s a regular Puddintopia visitor or loves 3-Way Chili probably already knows our final guest blogger for the week. Tom and his wife, Carla, have been bringin’ it when it comes to news about better beer around here on their blog, Hoperatives (full disclosure: yes, of course, I ramble about beer over there, too). He was my first thought to bat clean up on guest week, and I’m glad he agreed to do it. Of course, I had to bribe him with beer and first peeks at revised novels. I’m not sure he knows what he’s gotten himself into. Anyway, here’s Tom to close out the week, in true Puddintopia form.]
So now we’re at the end of The Week Without a Puddin. To be honest, I’m not sure it’ll ever become an annual classic like The Year Without a Santa Claus. Then again, The Year Without a Santa Claus really can’t hold a candle to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town in the pantheon of Rankin-Bass Christmas specials. I think it comes in ahead of The Little Drummer Boy. And don’t speak to me of the Frosty the Snowman sequel. That was just sad.
Anyhow it’s probably OK I don’t expect The Week Without a Puddin to become a runaway hit in the competitive world of week-long annual observances. How can it compete with things like Shark Week? Or Restaurant Week? Or even Take a Prostate to Work Week?
What? You never heard of that last one? You need to get out more.
I’m reasonably confident I was asked to go last this week so it’ll be that much more of a relief when Puddin starts posting again. And that doesn’t bother me. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on that novel he’s writing so I can laugh at the funny parts and cry at the sad ones. I’m
just praying I’m able to figure out which is which excited about it. Glad to help, buddy.
I was told that the theme for the week was guest bloggers who are somehow the opposite of Puddin. He mentioned it might be a bit tough because we’re a lot alike. We both love beer. We both have beards. We can both write more than 260 words and not really have a recognizable point. Heck, we’re both just warming up anywhere under 500. But it turns out there are a couple of differences between us. My wife and I have no kids. And I’m not from ’round here.
I was going to talk about the no kids thing since so much of what Puddin writes revolves around his. He makes a good argument for kids in general, and his in particular. When I began writing, though, it started getting serious and who wants that on a weekend? So for the remainder of this sermon, I’ll be reading from the book of “You do know that’s just a Cincinnati thing and not everywhere, right?”
I’m going to leave out the obvious things like being able to talk to your date about three-ways and cornhole without getting slapped, and the use of the word “please?” when what you really mean is “huh?” The former has been done to death and the latter is actually charming. I’ll even forego pointing out that the location of “The Cut in the Hill” is not implanted in all human consciousness at birth and once in a while it would be courteous to point out to newcomers that it’s that big hill on I-71/75 in Kentucky just across the river from downtown Cincinnati. And I get bored even thinking about how much your identity is tied to where you went to high school around here.
The funny thing is, I don’t think high school sports are as big a deal here as other places I’ve lived. What struck me when I moved here was how small the football stadiums were. I know they get a bit bigger as you head to northern Ohio, but I’ve seen stadiums in Texas for 6-man football bigger than some of the ones around here. I’m not saying this is bad, by the way. Sports are fun, but reading, writing and math are forever..
It’s hilarious to me that the Ohio River is such a psychological dividing line. People north of the river routinely call folks who live south of the river “rednecks,” “hillbilly’s,” or worse. People south of the river talk about going into downtown Cincinnati or, heaven forbid, Over-the-Rhine like they were going into Beirut circa 1982 via Dresden and Coventry in 1943. True story: when I was interviewing for a job in Cincinnati — at UC — my prospective department head warned me gravely that UC was an urban campus. I lived in Philly at the time, and taught at Temple. There were three armed robberies in the building where I taught my last year. Ted Koppel did four nights of Nightline called “Living in the Badlands” about neighborhoods where cops were afraid to go. They shot it three blocks north of my office. So when I saw UC and downtown and OTR for the first time my only reaction was, “Yeah, those places could use some paint.”
I love how people in Cincinnati freak out over the fact that the major airport is in Kentucky. I’ll concede that it’s weird that the Kenton County Airport Board governs the airport even though it’s in Boone County. I also love how someone who lives in Springdale and works downtown thinks it’s weird to drive in all the way from Crestview Hills.
I admire how the city makes such a big deal about the Red’s Opening Day. I’m astonished that anyone follows the Bengals. The Anderson Ferry is cool. It’s remarkable how many people outside the area know about the Florence Y’all water tower.
Puddin, being an observer of the human condition, has probably noticed a lot of these things. He’s also had the good sense not to bring most of them up. That’s why he can write a blog that’s about everything and I have to stick to beer in order not to ramble too much. With any luck I’ve managed to help you kill the amount of time you were looking to kill without it being too painful.
Fear not, gentle reader, he’ll be back Monday.