One of my favorite things to read is an annual contest in the Nashville Scene. They start the sentence "You are so Nashville if..." and readers send in suggestions to finish it. It is funny, but it is also very revealing about what people think of their community. A lot of the entries are snarky or cynical, of course, but most of them are written with some affection.
It is more fun than a tedious treatise on politics and culture and provides you a better grasp of people's attitudes than a poll. So let's "do" Knoxville. After all, we may as well laugh at ourselves. We shouldn't let the readers of The New York Times have all the fun.
With apologies to the Scene, I thought I might offer a few observations on our fair city by ripping off their format. So here goes.
You are so Knoxville if... During football season your local newspaper has three sports sections.
You are so Knoxville if... You never eat in a restaurant that has been open longer than six months.
You are so Knoxville if... You write a letter to the editor complaining that June Morgan, of the Rex Morgan M.D. comic strip, has been wearing a bikini.
You are so Knoxville if... You pay Knox County taxes but you work in Oak Ridge, get your utilities from Lenoir City, and send your kid to a private school.
You are so Knoxville if... You believe simultaneously and absolutely that the Vols football team should be number one in the national rankings and that we can't beat Florida.
You are so Knoxville if... Two of your school board members have been accused of inappropriate conduct.
You are so Knoxville if... You are a self-reliant conservative "tea bagger"—who works for the government.
You are so Knoxville if... The community cable broadcast of County Commission is your favorite reality show.
You are so Knoxville if... Your county government is being investigated by the TBI, a Memphis prosecutor, the state attorney general, the county auditor, and the ethics committee.
You are so Knoxville if... You can get elected to City Council with fewer votes than the people your average politician has in his cell phone.
You are so Knoxville if... Your outlaw motorcycle gang gets raided by police and they confiscate... a vegetable tray.
You are so Knoxville if... Your college team has a Saturday night game and radio coverage starts at 7 a.m.
You are so Knoxville if... Your college athletics department has defense lawyers on retainer.
You are so Knoxville if... You stop and buy milk when snow is forecast, even though you are lactose intolerant.
You are so Knoxville if... Friday night high school football broadcasts are sponsored by an orthopedic clinic. And it stays open late in case your kid gets maimed.
You are so Knoxville if... Your former mayor is standing guard duty in front of his trees.
You are so Knoxville if... You've had three different county commissioners in two years.
You are so Knoxville if... Your mayor's chance to be governor is determined by the price of gasoline in August.
You are so Knoxville if... Your community is divided, not by political parties, but picking sides between Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer.
You are so Knoxville if... Your county commissioners have names like Nookie, Lumpy, and Tank.
You are so Knoxville if... You love Market Square but you don't know where it is.
Knoxville is a wonderful, wacky place to live and if you can overlook the occasional embarrassment, it's a fun place. You too, can play. Use the comment section at the end of this column to share your thoughts. I'm sure you can be more inventive than me, so have at it.