You don't need to be Paul Bunyan or Babe the Blue Ox to call yourself a Minnesotan. In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, there are plenty of sayings ("Don'tcha know!") that have been passed down throughout the years — and a few that are singularly our own.
Here are some things you'll hear more than a few Minnesotans say time and time again. If you've been in the state for even a short stretch of time and catch yourself saying any of these, you betcha you're on your way to becoming an honorary Minnesotan. Did we miss any? Leave your suggestions in the comments.
20.The Long Minnesota Goodbye
This is the polar opposite of an Irish Goodbye or the French Leave — when you just ghost out of a party or leave unannounced, only to have someone say, "Wait... So-and-so left? What?" Taking part in the Minnesota Long Goodbye is a skill that we all honed probably in efforts to a) keep our Minnesota-Nice conversations going as long as possible, and b) not actually have to go outside. If you've ever been to a dinner party and found yourself saying, "Yeah, we've gotta go," you might not actually step foot outdoors for the next 20 minutes if you're trapped in a Minnesota Long Goodbye.
19. "It's 40 degrees out... and I could totally wear a swimsuit right now."
After an entire winter of subzero temps, the moment we get above the freezing point in the North Star State, things start to feel downright balmy. Don't be surprised if you're walking around the lakes and you spot someone in their bathing suit while there are still patches of snow on the ground. If it's sunny and bearable, we're out there soaking up as many rays as we can before the next cold snap sets in.
18. "Need a push?"
Imagine this: It's winter, there's about a foot of fresh snow on the ground, and you're trying to pull out of your parking spot. No matter how much digging you do, there's still that 50/50 chance your wheels will be spinning 'til high heaven until some North Face-sporting angel comes along and asks, "Need a push?" Only then, when this balaclava-faced soul gives your ride the extra oomph it needs to get out of that rut, will your car be on its way. We are forever grateful.
17. "Oh, for cute."
We Minnesotans can't just say how adorable that little tyke (or perhaps more likely, that itty bitty pup) is. No, we've got a whole new saying for how gosh darn delightful whatever it is. See also: "Oh, for fun!" and "Oh, for sure!"
16. "It could be worse."
Spoken like a true Minnesotan: "Oh, it's 15 below zero, it's been blizzarding for three days, all the schools are closed... I'm not sure where my car is because the snowdrifts are too deep, I've got icicles growing out of my nostrils, and I was almost killed by an ice stalactite on my way out of the house, but whatever! It could be worse!" [page]
15. "You guys want some tots?"
When we ask if you want some tots, we're not referring to little kids... or a nip of brandy. No, we're talking about the best iteration of potato product around: tater tots. Bonus points if these tots are in a
casserole hot dish.
14. "Up north"
It doesn't matter if your cabin is actually north of your current location... and it doesn't matter that you're not literally going up (towards the sky, that is). If you are going on a weekend getaway to hike in the woods or fish in some middle-of-nowhere lake, chances are that you're going "up north."
13. "Holy buckets."
Like "Jeez Louise" or "For crying out loud," "Holy buckets" is another one of those bastardizations of some stronger curse that's been watered down enough that you could say it in church without some old lady batting an eye at you. (Hell, she might even say it herself!) Chances are that you probably aren't saying these mild oaths too often, but your grandparents are. Plus, if you watched The Voice at all in 2012, you saw Minnesota's own Nicholas David soar into the top three saying "Holy buckets" at least once an episode.
12. "I voted for... Jesse Ventura. And Walter Mondale."
Okay, maybe you didn't vote for both of them (or maybe you did!). But if you voted for either of them, you've spent some time doing your civic duty and voting in the great state of Minnesota: the only state to swing against Ronald Reagan in 1984, and where a former boa-wearing wrestler can be elected governor.
11. "Skol Vikings!"
Sometimes it's painful to be a Vikings fan. Okay, let's be honest, it's mostly painful. But year after year, fans are awash in purple and gold, donning those helmets, and screaming "SKOL VIKINGS!" in the frigid winter months while cheering on our beleaguered NFL team. Someday, you guys, the Super Bowl will be ours. [page]
10. "You call this snow? Remember the great Halloween blizzard of '91?"
Yeah, this was over 20 years ago, but that night sticks out in Minnesotans' minds like it was yesterday. For some reason, the weather gods decided it was high time for winter to start on the one day of the year kids dress up and get free candy (maybe the patron saint of dentistry cashed in a favor or something). That spooky night brought eight inches of snow, and over the next few days the Twin Cities got almost 30 inches of that white stuff... not to mention the ice that came with it. There have been some pretty chilly Halloweens since then, but none to rival that historic holiday.
9. "That's... different."
Avoiding conflict to a fault, Minnesotans probably won't come out and say, "That's stupid as hell." Instead, we've come up with a series of adjectives that throw some majorly passive-aggressive shade. See also: "That's interesting."
8. "The accents in Fargo are so exaggerated."
If you're from anywhere outside of Minnesota, you've seen Fargo (either the Coen brothers film... or the critically acclaimed TV show) and thought, "Ohhh jeeeez, those Minnesoootans and that butter-thick accent filled with never-ending vowels." Conversely, if you're from Minnesota, you know better. Maybe your grandma still talks like that, but hell, we don't sound that bad. Jerry Lundegaard and Marge Gunderson can shove it. Plus, it's called Fargo for a reason — it's not the real Minnesota
7. "Meat raffle at the VFW tonight!"
We're constantly explaining to our out-of-town friends what a meat raffle is. (It's exactly what it sounds like.) You buy a ticket — or several — and then wait for your name and number to get called so you can start planning a huge meal for all your friends filled with ribs, steak, brisket... you name it. Sure, you can just go to the grocery store or Costco, but where's the fun in that? Mixing red meat, a game of chance, and probably a few beers — that's what we call a productive night on the town.
6. "Borrow me"
In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, "Borrow me" does not refer to the act of letting oneself be borrowed for some task. Nope, it's right alongside "lend" and "loan," but used far more often. "Can you borrow me a dollar for the vending machine?" [page]
5. "They budged!"
Cutting in line? Pssh. People budge in line when they're in the North Star State... that is, if they're bold enough to edge their way past the people already patiently standing in line. (Pro-tip: Most Minnesotans avoid confrontation enough that they probably won't say anything — just be prepared to hear some passive aggressive huffing and puffing.)
4. "What's your favorite kind of pop?"
That corn-syrup loaded fizz bomb that comes in a can? That ain't soda. Here in Minnesota, it's pop. Why stick with boring old "soda"? Our name's got more pizzazz, more panache... more pop. And if you're one of those folks that calls every kind of soft drink — from cola-colored root beer to crystalline 7-Up — Coke, we are definitely not on the same page. It's p-o-p, guys.
3. "Whatever, Nickelodeon Universe. It's still Camp Snoopy."
In 1992, the Mall of America opened the coolest indoor theme park we'd yet seen: Camp Snoopy. Nearly 15 years later, the unthinkable happened: Camp Snoopy turned into... the Park at MOA? Clearly management realized that name just wasn't going to stick, so they got another big sponsor and tacked their namesake onto it: Nickelodeon. We've got nothing against SpongeBob and Jimmy Neutron — but there's still a special place in our hearts for that big ol' Snoopy-shaped bounce house, the kite eating tree swings, and — who could forget — the Screaming Yellow Eagle. (We're still thanking our lucky stars that Paul Bunyan's Log Chute has remained unscathed in all its weird, animatronic glory all these years.)
2. "Bag" (Baaaaayyyyg)
Don't ask why, but Minnesotans hold onto their vowels and run with 'em. (If at the end of Titanic, Jack was a vowel and Rose was a Minnesotan — she really would never let go.) When folks from just about anywhere else in the U.S. hear us say "bag" they're hearing that "a" drawn out like we just started channeling the Fonz. Phonetically, it sounds like this to the rest of the States: "bæg" (as in "sat"). To lots of Minnesotans, it's "be?g," like we're saying "plague" or something. The same goes for pretty much any "ag" word (i.e. hag, rag, dragon, magazine, brag, drag, etc.).
1. "Duck, Duck, Gray Duck!"
This is it, kids... the thing that separates us from the rest of those goose-worshiping states. Even Wisconsin says "Goose," but we know better. Playing Duck, Duck, Gray Duck as a kid means that you will forever hear other children saying "Duck, duck, goose," and know deep down that they are wrong. A goose is huge and menacing... clearly one could tell the difference between that fowl and a little duck. But a gray duck? That's pretty much the same as any other duck. All bets are off — and therein lies the glory of patting everyone's head while they remain in the dark about who exactly is the gray duck.