“We have hookers, gambling, and no actual open container laws. Oh sorry, is that the sound of you booking a ticket?”
~Residents of Las Vegas
When one of our readers asked us to list every state in America and tell him the most American part about each one, he expected an email with a list of fifty sentences like “Illinois gets you fat” and “New Yorkers don’t like us anymore because of how much we made fun of them in this article series.” What he didn’t expect was 10,000 words spread out over seven articles with the promise of writing three more no matter how many emails we get saying things like, “Pleeease, just stop, we don’t care what you think, go back to writing about expensive vodka or something” and, “I don’t appreciate all these Texas jokes, you’re dead motherfucker.”
Well, we have ten more states, which means we have ten more chances to make a bad impression. So let’s start with…
NEVADA: Admitted on October 31st, 1864
Of course Nevada was admitted to the Union on Halloween. Of course it was. That doesn’t surprise us in the least. Nevada has a surprisingly large mining sector, and they are the fourth largest producer of gold in the world, but come oe, you know where we’re going to have to go with this one.
Las Vegas, baby!
Las Vegas came into this millennium with the distinction of being the most populous city to be founded in the 20th century (it was incorporated as a city in 1911) which is hardly surprising since at least one quarter of the people you went to college with would drop anything and move in to a city if they heard it was called “Sin City.” Nevada is the only state in the Union to allow legal prostitution, and the Las Vegas Strip is one of the few places in the nation where it is completely legal to wander the streets with an open alcohol container. Las Vegas has been trying to re-invent itself as a family-friendly location recently, but really when you spent a large amount of money advertising your city with a slogan that basically says, “Hey, as long as you used protection, your wife will never know,” you can’t really turn around ten years later and try to welcome the very children who were conceived by strangers in a cramped bathroom stall at the Bellagio.
But no matter what their tourism board says, behind the scenes Las Vegas knows what’s up. Sure, you can see a lovely Cirque du Soleil show, but come on, all your hotels have casinos and your streets are lined with silent armies of men eerily and silently clapping together calling cards of hundreds of escorts with their nipples digitally replaced by enough lens flare to make you think you’re in a goddamn J.J. Abrams film. Las Vegas owns vice, and really what other city in America can you lose a grand at a blackjack table, solicit a prostitute, and then get married to, and annulled from, a cocktail waitress in a single night without ending up in jail? Las Vegas has got your back, America.
NEBRASKA: Admitted on October 31st, 1864
Nebraska automatically earns our respect because their capital is named Lincoln, motherfuckers! They love them some college football, they invented Kool-Aid (oh yeah!), and they have Warren Buffett who basically spends most of his time making it rain over the nation. Dolla dolla bills, yo.
But our favorite thing about Nebraska is the beef. They know how to make a mean steak, and they love eating cows more than just about any state in America. Oh, you might be saying, “What are you talking about, AFFotD? I’m from *some state* and I fucking love steak! I LOVE BEEF!” To that we’d say, dude, calm down, but also, your state might like eating steak…but do they have a professional sports team called the Omaha Beef? No. We didn’t think so. So step off.
Nebraska has nearly five million cows being raised for the sole purpose of Anton Chigurh-ing into delicious meat bits on your plate, and by some estimates, cattle outnumbers Nebraskans four to one. They devote 40% of their corn production to fattening cows up to make sure they become savory, delicious steaks. And, as some of you may recall…we really fucking love steak. And we love Nebraska for making sure we are never wanting for steak, while letting visitors dine at some of the best steakhouses this nation has to offer.
COLORADO: Admitted on August 1st, 1876
Colorado was the first state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, which is a statement made a lot more humorous when you realize that before they changed their motto to “The Centennial State” in the 1960’s, they were known as “The High State.” Seriously. They also are home to the US Penitentiary, Florence ADX, which means that Colorado is responsible for locking up some of the more notorious criminals and terrorists out there and keeping them off the streets for us. And, hell, they invented Jolly Ranchers! We love Jolly Ranchers! They’re by far the number one candy for people who like having their tongues change colors while they make the leather interior of their parents’ car all sticky.
Colorado (specifically the view from Pikes Peak) was the inspiration for Katherine Lee Bates to write “America the Beautiful” and they host the world’s largest Rodeo. But by far, our favorite thing about Colorado would have to be the beer.
While this certainly isn’t the first time we pulled the “they brew good beer so that is American” card, Colorado’s devotion to beer is something to behold. The state is chock-full of breweries, and some even call Denver the Napa valley of beer, though we are the Wikipedia of not offering a citation to back that claim up.
Besides the old standbys that are a staple at every college party (hi there, Coors and Keystone!) you can find the Denver Beer Company, which gives you a free beer if you spend some time pedaling a bike to grind their barley. Hell, Colorado currently sells a beer that’s brewed with bull testicles. Leave it to Colorado to not only look at the balls of a bull and say, “hey, let’s deep fry that and eat it after we pound it flat,” they took it one step further and figured, “might as well toss it in the old brew vat as well.” And if we were offered a bull testicle beer, would we drink it? Of course we would. Because it’s from Colorado, so you know it’ll be good.
NORTH DAKOTA: Admitted on November 2nd, 1889
If you’ve ever met someone from North Dakota, we want you to think really long and hard about that. Just concentrate. Are you sure you met a North Dakotan, or did you fall asleep while watching Fargo a few nights ago? Did the guy look suspiciously like a younger William H. Macy? Yeah, that was Fargo. That’s okay, it’s a common mistake—after all, less than 700,000 people call North Dakota home, making it the third least populous state in the entire nation.
North Dakota is a quirky little state. Rugby, ND is the geographical center of North America, which is incredibly fascinating to several dozen high schoolers who are reading this on their smartphones while stuffed inside a locker at the moment. Milk is the official state beverage, which actually is quite unsettling in a way we can’t quite put our finger on. They grow more sunflowers than any other state, which is incredibly random. And Lewis and Clark encountered their first grizzly bear while trekking through North Dakota, which is actually cool.
But despite a seeming hodgepodge of factoids regarding the state, they can hang their hat on one truly American fact—the state managed to impress none other than Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt first came to North Dakota to hunt bison in 1883, because of course he did. He immediately fell in love with the “perfect freedom” of the West (read as “damn, it’s really easy to kill giant animals here”) and invested $14,000 in the Maltese Cross Ranch, eventually keeping a home in the state and starting an additional ranch, the Elkhorn Ranch. These ranches still exist now as part of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. That’s right, North Dakota has the most land devoted to the name of Teddy Roosevelt than any other in the nation. Can you think of any other state that’ll set aside 110 square miles for our most badass president? Hell no, only North Dakota’s got that kind of real estate. It’s not like they’ve got anyone to actually, you know, live there.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Admitted on November 2nd, 1889
While South Dakota has more people than its neighbor to the north (Woo! 833,000!) it’s still likely that the main reason you’ve met people from that state is that you’ve done a road trip to Mount Rushmore (which, admittedly, is your God-given duty as an American). But we’ll get to that later.
South Dakota is home to Citibank as well as a whole slew of credit card companies, due to favorable banking regulations, but it’s also brought us people such as Tom Brokaw, January Jones, and Hubert Humphrey. Custer’s Last Stand took place in South Dakota, and the Badlands National Park is one of the more extensive parks in the nation. But you don’t want to hear about that. You want to hear about the giant Americans carved into a goddamn mountain.
America’s might is on full display at Mount Rushmore, as we stumbled across a random mountain and said, “Nice try, nature, we’ll take it from here” and then carved 60-foot sculptures of the heads of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln while giving the middle finger to the rest of the surrounding mountain ranges saying, “You best behave or you’re next, motherfuckers. Ulysses S. Grant is just itching to turn you into his face.” It is the ultimate example of America crushing nature, our sworn enemy, while also exemplifying the awesomeness of some of our greatest presidents. It’s really a win-win. So thank you, South Dakota, if you were looking for a good reason to get three million Americans a year to flock to your state, you picked a helluva good one.
With that, we’ve knocked off 40 of the states of this fair nation, and we’ll be back in a few days to continue our countdown, starting with Montana, which will answer the age old question of, “…Uh, wait, what’s in Montana again?” Until then, you stay American, America.