You, a person living in the greatest pollen-blasted, traffic-snarled city in America, know that Atlanta deserves a lot more gratitude and appreciation than it gets. Though there’s absolutely no shortage of greatness for which people should be thanking our city for delivering to the world, today is as good a day as any to list of some of the most important gifts ATL has given the globe. We'll patiently wait on our Hallmark card and a tribute of beer money for our trouble.
Lay’s potato chips
Herman Lay is from Charlotte, and started his first potato chip business in Nashville. But it was in ATL that he became a salesman for a food product company he eventually took over. From there, he started hustling popcorn, peanut butter cracker sandwiches, and now, an assortment of snacks that kept you and everybody else that’s ever breathed oxygen alive through college -- and to this day. Praise Lay’s.
Did you know that the FX animated series was started by two dudes who worked together at Cartoon Network? Did you also know they got in trouble for setting a fire with props on one of their sets while drinking and working on their first show, High Noon Toons? Doesn’t this seem so Archer... and so Atlanta? We love drinking, big fires, and dumbness. You’re welcome, Milky Way.
If you grew up in Atlanta (or any modestly large city in the Southeast with a shopping mall), you knew that one day C-f-A would dominate all life under the sun. With a little assistance from Oprah and some signature cow mascots, it's cornered the market on chicken sandwiches and nuggets, removing trans fat from its food way before it was fashionable, and beating pretty much every fast food joint in the departments of: lemonade, sauce (Polynesian!), and customer service.
You probably wondered why Big Boi chose to shout out this Japanese company on “So Fresh, So Clean.” Well, maybe he was an investor, or knew somebody who works at the Marietta headquarters. Or maybe, you know, he was just thinking about having his name on mad crotches. Matter of fact, look down at yours right now -- you probably have YKK on your zipper too! Big Boi is a genius.
Don’t act like Lil’ Jon doesn’t belong to the entire planet. Even if you’d turn down one of his songs (for what?), you’re in the minority if you insist on sitting out a chance to dance when his trademark “Crunk Rock” sound waves and energy sodas mix with the liquor at a party.
You’d still be thirsty as hell on the side of the road trying to get a jump for your corroded car battery if not for a curvy bottle or two of the bittersweet brown syrup that came from our fine city more than a century ago. Sure, Mexican Coke is great, but Atlanta Coke is IT, dammit!
Nerf Airjets & Super Soakers
The names Lonnie Johnson and Shane Matthews sound like they could be your country cousins, right? Well, that’s true in the abstract sense, because the first is an Atlanta resident from Mobile, Alabama, and he invented the world’s greatest water gun. The second dude is a frequent collaborator, working with Johnson on air-compressed toy guns of all sorts.
Gone with the Wind
Before the end-all be-all antebellum book could be turned into a movie, sold as a book, printed, or even started, author Margaret Mitchell had to be born and raised in the only major North American city to ever be completely burned down during the Civil War. Sure, Sherman may have torched and marched all over the dream that died with OG Rhett cursing out Scarlett, but people swear by those 1,024 pages. Side note: Clayton County sure has changed!
The Real Housewives of Atlanta
Well, maybe “thank” isn’t the right word. But if you fly out of Hartsfield-Jackson to any city or country that has television reception -- or the internet -- you can wear a T-shirt with NeNe Leakes' face and instantly make friends (or enemies). That sort of polarization shows the power of Atlanta’s mesmerizing attitude -- or at least the one marketed through media. Shout out to Kandi!
We’re all peeing and pooping and eating the same crappy diner food together, all because a guy from the Sweet Auburn neighborhood decided to peacefully conquer the world and fight against prejudice, segregation, and inequality. Somebody get the memo to North Carolina and Mississippi, please.
You’ve heard of the work that came out of this former Buckhead-based record company: OutKast, Usher, Pink, TLC, Goodie Mob, and yes, even Chico DeBarge. You probably didn’t know that before Sean “Puffy” Combs got a label deal from Clive Davis, he lived in the basement of Antonio “L.A.” Reid’s house. Reid and Babyface made mega-superstars out of a lot of talented (and sometimes not-so-talented) musicians, and set the tone for Atlanta to become the influential musical town it remains today.
The Walking Dead
Can you imagine The Walking Dead being taped anywhere else? Especially after seeing that iconic image of an empty (!) I-75/85 Connector so many times? Atlanta made that show. Fear The Walking Dead, on the other hand? Um... that must have been somebody from Cartersville or something.
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Mike Jordan is thankful for Atlanta’s low cost of living and general tolerance of laziness that is found in no other major American city. If you can think of other wonders of our great town, let him know on Twitter at @michaelbjordan.