I'm sure you've seen the "Stuck in Ohio" bumper stickers. I can vividly remember how irritated I was when they first came out. I wanted to have a word with the drivers of those vehicles because I know Ohio is a great place for a multitude of reasons.
Then, one day while looking for snow boards at the Ski Chalet in Niles, the salesman, a former student of mine, informed me that this "Stuck in Ohio" message was actually a form of positive sarcasm - whatever that is. The guys who started the movement enjoy Ohio so extensively that they made stickers to mock local couch potatoes who never fully experience Ohio: snow skiing, skating, Lake Erie (water skiing, fishing, boating, island hopping, diving, surfing and nice beaches), mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, camping, canoeing, kayaking, professional sports teams, great museums, and universities topped off with a fascinating history and all with an affordable cost of living. Apparently, this sarcastic sticker is missing the phrase "and loving it."
This reminded me of when I lived overseas and frequently met foreigners who mocked Ohio, as do some of our boring buckeye peers: "Ohio very, very far from New York and California" they mocked in broken English, "What in Ohio, huh?"
I could never contain my buckeye pride and grinned widely. "Really, what's in Ohio?" I chuckled in disbelief, "Where do I begin?"
"Everybody on earth should appreciate Ohio because no U.S. state has had more presidents (Virginia and New York dispute this). Besides six leaders of the free world it is difficult to decide which Ohioan has benefited humanity in a bigger way: Thomas Edison (light bulbs and much more), The Wright Brothers (first airplane), Neil Armstrong (first man on the moon), John Glenn (first man in space), Steven Spielberg (industry-changing films), or Ted Turner (international cable TV)?"
And there are so many other Ohioans whose brilliant contributions are taken for granted such as the world's first car steering wheel and standard transmission by the Packard Brothers of Warren or the world's first rubber tires for automobiles by Charles Goodyear from Akron. The first electric lights in cars came from Dayton while the first traffic lights came from Cleveland. The first electric street lights in America were accomplished by Elmer Gilmer from my hometown, Warren, while the first lighted night time sporting event was accomplished by Powel Crosley in Cincinnati, my parent's hometown.
Indisputably, Ohioans have contributed countless electrical and automotive inventions that together make modern life as we know it possible. People all over earth use items every day that originated in Ohio such as aluminum metal (extraction from ores), chewing gum, oatmeal, and cash registers. Many industry giants such as the Rockefellers got their start in Ohio too. And I could go on and on about our world class universities, hospitals, and diverse industries, but in short, few states or provinces on God's green earth have had a more positive influence on humanity than our electrifying and trailblazing buckeye state!
We should never forget how Ohioans were world leaders in guaranteeing equal treatment and rights to half of humanity: women. Ohio's Oberlin College was the first major university to admit women in 1833. Then, a well-educated Ohio gal, Harriet Taylor Upton, helped build the Women's Suffrage Movement from her home in Warren, Ohio, during the decades preceding the historic victory when women won the right to vote in 1920.
This is why it should be infuriating to hear fellow buckeyes belittle Ohio and mutter "there's nothing to do around here." It seems this generation wants to contribute nothing more than mere consumption of goods and services. They believe they were born in Ohio merely to be entertained. Such lazy consumerism is the origin of this "bored in Ohio" spirit. Everyone in this state needs to ask him/her self, "How can I become a productive member of this great state?" or please relocate to New York or California or wherever.
We need to tell these bums to start contributing to our society by at least studying our states' fascinating history. Perhaps even a lazy buckeye, instead of being bored all day, can cheer on those buckeyes who work hard to be a part of the great Ohio tradition - trailblazing for future industries! Nobody knows what the future holds for humanity, but Ohioans should plan to lead the way again.
At any rate, the next time you hear someone say "Stuck in Ohio" let them know how fortunate they are to be a part of this great state: OH, IO! And as always, Go Buckeyes!
Herman is a Howland resident. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org