I spent this past weekend at a family wedding in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and we were introduced as "The cousins from Connecticut". It's funny what people say when they find out you live here.

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Being in Allentown, obviously I had Billy Joel in my brain, yet I didn't ask anyone if they had some spare iron, coke, or chromium steel. The most common response I got when I told them I was from Torrington/Waterbury, Connecticut was "Oh, that's nice". Some followed up with pointed localisms, like "I got a cousin that went to Quinnipiac", or "I drove through Hartford on the way to New Hampshire."

Other states have so many distinct tourist attractions, what the hell does the rest of the US associate with us? Mystic Aquarium or Pizza? Steamed cheeseburgers? Yale? Some of the Pennsylvania people recognized the big clock tower in Waterbury, but most of the rest acted as if Connecticut was nothing more than a rest stop between NYC and Boston.

When I drove down to Oklahoma City last summer, I started getting the Southern use of Yankee as a slur around Indiana. "Oh, you're from Connecticut? You're one of them damn Yankees!" Yes, and Derek Jeter still rules. When I go North to New Hampshire or Maine, I get a pleasant "Oh, you're from Connecticut." That's it.

I got ocean questions in the Midwest - "Ya'll are near the ocean, right?" Well, it's more like the Sound, but there's good ocean in Rhode Island. In the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Mexico, I had to generalize it to "We're between New York City and Boston" for anyone to visualize where we're from.

Connecticut, we need a professional sports team. Identifying ourselves would be so much easier.

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