Some Iowans have thicker skin than others. Here are 10 things you could say to a tried-and-true lifelong Iowan that may inspire a contrary or possibly ornery answer.
1. Say Maid Rite is a chain and all of them are the same.
There are 25 Maid Rite restaurants in Iowa, and many of them are owned by different people. Taylor's Maid Rite is not Julie's Maid Rite, which is also not Big T Maid Rite. Technically, Maid Rite is a "chain" but it's not McDonald's, folks. It's just not.
2. Tell us about how you didn't vote in the last election.
We don't just "vote" here in Iowa. We caucus. There's a corn poll at the Iowa State Fair. Where's the center of the political universe? Why, it's right here in Iowa.
3.Talk about how backwards Iowans are.
Really? So the first electronic digital computer was invented in your state? Nope. We (John VIncent Atanasoff) did it at ISU in 1930. First female lawyer? Arabella Mansfield was admitted to the Iowa bar in 1869. Before that, the University of Iowa was the first state university in the US to open degree programs to women. We could go on...
4. Insult fried food.
We fry it all. Oreos, apple pie, Snickers bars, corn, pineapple, bacon, Twinkies, cookie dough, pork chops....
5. Talk about how they close schools in Tennessee when it snows 1/2 of an inch.
We never close school for weather. Kids use snow shoes to get to school in snow that's so deep it buries whole cars. Our snow plows run 24/7 six months a year. OK, that's not true. But we can definitely handle challenging weather of all sorts.
6. Ask us about our farm when you find out we live in Iowa.
Four out of every five Iowans live in cities. So there.
7. "Corn is animal food." Say that out loud.
It's not just food, here. Sweet corn means summer, grilling out, salt and butter (or not), and that magical part of July when everything is growing furiously under the hot and bright Iowa sun.
8. Talk about how great farmers have it, since they don't have to go to a "real job."
The average size of an Iowa farm is the equivalent of 300 football fields. Many farmers have advanced degrees in Ag Science. The dinosaur-sized high-tech equipment would make most non-farmers cry the first day they had to use it to make a living. One Iowa farmer feeds the equivalent of 155 humans. But you'll know all of that if you dare to breathe a word about how easy farming must be.
9. Mention that we could get a better education elsewhere.
Iowa public schools' graduation rate is nearly 90%, which is 10% higher than the national average. Our SAT and ACT scores are well above the national average as well.
10. Say Iowa is flat.
Loess Hills, Pikes Peak, Backbone State Park, Ledges State Park, and we could go on and on. Iowa has some interesting terrain. Sure, some portions of Iowa are just acres of beautiful farmland, but the hiking and sightseeing opportunities here in Iowa are amazing.