By way of tying this all up, here's an anonymous quotation about New Jersey that was popular AIM profile fodder for teens in the late '90s. Here it is in its approximate form (from Urban Dictionary, so sic everything):
"I am from NJ. I curse... a lot. I say 'yo', and I say it often. I never had school on Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. I sure as hell don't pump my own gas. I know what real pizza tastes like, and I know that a bagel is much more than a fuckin' roll with a hole in the middle. I judge people by what exit they get off the parkway. I can navigate a circle -- with attitude. All good nights must end at a diner -- preferably with cheese fries. It's a sub, not a hoagie or, worse yet, a hero, and I wash it down with soda, not pop. Two words... 'mother fucker.' I don't go to the beach, I go down the shore. And boardwalk brawls are just a part of the atmosphere. Yes, I drink cawfee. I know that 65mph really means 80. I've always lived within 10 minutes of a mall. When someone cuts me off, they get the horn AND the finger. And they expect it. I am from New Jersey, and damn proud of it."
I know: poetry, right? Not all of it is entirely accurate, but it's a poignant articulation of New Jersey's fearsome underdog spirit. When everyone in the country thinks you're a festering corpse covered in Blimpie wrappers and methane fumes, you tend to get a little defensive. Maybe it's insecurity that makes us loud, crass, and obnoxiously cohesive; maybe it's delusional confidence. More likely, it's both. That's New Jersey: a barrel of well-meaning contradictions full of pugnacious people and unpredictable natural beauty.
Honestly, it's better than wherever you're from. Come at me, bro.
Dave Infante is a senior writer for Thrillist who is proud to claim New Jersey as his homeland. Come at him, bro, or just follow @dinfontay on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.