Jerseyites don’t pump their own gas. It’s illegal to. You don’t know what would happen if you stepped out of your car at a gas station, and you don’t want to.
Fifteen years ago you honed your aim, proud of your ability to toss change into a toll basket while driving past it at 45 MPH on the Garden State Parkway. Now they’ve consolidated and raised the tolls. You get an EZPass so you can still outrun the thing lurking in the Cash Receipt lane.
The Parkway and the Turnpike stretch across the state like arteries. You speed down them at 80 MPH, you are a blood cell in your red car. You wonder where the heart is, but your exit comes before the beating becomes loud enough to drown out the sound of your horn as you flip off someone with a New York plate for cutting you off.
“Not New York. Not Philadelphia. Proud to be New Jersey!” your radio declares. You scoff. As if they’re the only radio station in New Jersey. You scan through the stations until you find another one from New Jersey. “Not New York. Not Philadelphia. Proud to be New Jersey!” your radio declares. You scoff. As if they’re the only radio station in New Jersey. You scan through the stations until you find another one from New Jersey. “Not New York. Not Philadelphia. Proud to be New Jersey!” your radio declares. You scoff …
You drive up Route 18 and even though it’s the middle of the night, there’s traffic because there’s construction up ahead. You sit there and inch forward. Ten years go by. The construction finally ends. You can see your exit up ahead. It’s closed due to construction.
“Why is New Jersey even called the Garden State?” they ask. “It’s just a bunch of highways, landfills, and industrial complexes.” They can’t see. They’ll never see. We won’t let them see. We won’t let them take it from us.
Your friends from North Jersey say that you’re from South Jersey. Your friends from South Jersey say that you’re from North Jersey. The truth is that you don’t even exist.
Sometimes you like to sit out on your deck at night, listen to the crickets and the late-night traffic, and look up in the sky at the stars. Tonight there’s more lights up in the sky, blinking and zooming across the constellations. You sip your tea and smile. Another exciting night for your friends in North Jersey. You wonder which ones will survive this time.
You can’t imagine living in a state so big you need to get on a plane to fly across it. New Jersey’s such a nice convenient size. You could get in your car and start driving and be at the mountains in two hours. Or New York City. Or Philadelphia. Or the beach or the woods or the mall or the amusement park. Everything in New Jersey is two hours away. Only the driving time while you’re conscious counts.
You have a love-hate relationship with New York City. It’s so close and convenient and romantic. But it also steals New Jersey’s tourists. Its sports teams. Its work force. Your friends. Your family. Your pet cat. Half of your wardrobe. Your senses of accomplishment and modesty. The memories of your childhood birthday parties. You cling to the lawn outside of your significant other’s home, begging New York City not to steal it too.
Did you know that Frank Sinatra was from New Jersey? Did you know that Meryl Streep is from New Jersey? Jon Bon Jovi? Jack Nicholson? Kevin Smith? George R.R. Martin? Bruce Springsteen? They’re heroes in New Jersey. They escaped. We know that they’ll return someday to save the rest of us from the things that live in the Cash Reciept lanes.
The Jersey Devil lives in the Pine Barrens, you tell all of your out-of-state friends. They’ve never heard of it, of course. They think that the New Jersey Devils are named after Satan (but then, they also think that the New Jersey Devils are just a hockey team). You insist that if they just spent one night in South Jersey they would understand, just one night, come on, you insist. You insist. But no, they don’t believe you, they’re leaving and you panic because they don’t understand. They don’t understand you’re just trying to save them. The Pine Barrens are the only place it cannot go.
It’s almost that time of year again, time for the New Jersey Balloon Festival. You can’t wait, all of those colorful hot air balloons, and the family-friendly activities, and the carnival food. You have so much fun every year. You can’t ever remember having actually gone, but. It was fun. Right?
New Jersey used to be one of the most popular vacation spots in the country. But not anymore. No one visits New Jersey anymore, they just drive through going somewhere else. Sometimes they get off the Turnpike, though, by accident, end up on a highway they’ve never heard of, going south when the signs tell them they’re going north. But no one ever visits New Jersey.
While we’re just airing grievances wildly? It’s not comedian related and it’s not even really a grievance, it’s just something I wish people wouldn’t do. A lot of our fans – I mean, I’m sure a lot of people do it, just in general – I – what I’m saying is out of concern for their well-being. Like, I’ve noticed a lot of younger people refer to themselves as trash. Like, I’m weeaboo trash or I’m, you know, Markiplier trash - or something like that. I think that’s – I wish they wouldn’t do that. You know what I mean? I think that’s really bad for your mental image. 'Cause I used to do that when I was younger. I was like, “I’m a failure!” and I thought it was funny, and then after a while I was like, “Why do I feel like a failure all the time? I think everyone does [that]. So don’t refer to yourself as trash! You’re not trash – you’re awesome!