As someone who moved to Minneapolis from Dallas, I have a request for the sun-tanned rich people arriving this week: Please don’t die.
As an adoptive Minnesotan, I ask this nicely and yet passive-aggressively, because that’s how we roll, or shuffle cautiously while trying not to slip on black ice and land on our tailbones.
You freezing to death would be highly inconvenient because our corporate overlords are trying to use Super Bowl week to prove that people can come to Minneapolis in February and not freeze to death.
Which is funny, because the kind of Minnesotans who can afford to work for the Super Bowl Host Committee are the same Minnesotans who usually would be spending this week in Cabo.
Now, the Twin Cities are beautiful and clean, and our state is picturesque, but you’re going to have to take our word for it. We can’t prove it right now any more than Santa Claus can prove he has a chin.
All we can offer is black ice, not-so-black ice, slush, white snow, not-so-white snow and recycled snow formed into fake castles.
I first stepped on Minnesota snow 28 years ago, for a job interview. I was told it was cold, so I wore my suit jacket as I stood outside the hotel.
My nose hairs froze. I began to shake. If my boss had been late, I would have looked like Jack Nicholson at the end of “The Shining.’’
What you have to understand is that Minnesotans never would invite anyone here in February unless we hated them.
Baseball’s All-Star Game and the Ryder Cup were big hits. We showed off our livable downtowns and unfrozen waterways. This week, we’re showing off skyways and our lack of parking.
But now that you’re here, we offer advice on how to survive a Minnesota Super Bowl:
• Understand Minnesota Nice.
Expect your hosts to be polite and helpful, but don’t try to make friends. Former Gophers football coach Glen Mason always said, “A Minnesotan will give you directions to anywhere but his house.’’ Minnesotans don’t need new friends. They will keep their high school and college friends forever, and if they leave they will do so only so they can move home later and tell everyone that Minnesota is better than wherever else they lived.
• Understand the Minnesota Goodbye.
If you want to leave a party at 10 p.m., start your farewells at 9:45. We’re not all that good at conversation … unless you’re trying to find the door.
• Understand that “Maybe’’ is “The Minnesota No.’’
Ask a Minnesotan a direct question, and they will give you one of three answers. “Ya, sure’’ means “Yes.’’ “Oh, I don’t know’’ means “Probably not.’’ “Ya, maybe’’ means “How dare you.’’
• Don’t drive in St. Paul.
Former Gov. Jesse Ventura (doesn’t seem so funny anymore, does it?) blamed St. Paul’s jigsaw-puzzle streets on drunken Irish planners. As someone who is about 90 percent Irish, I am offended by St. Paul’s streets.
• Don’t joke about the weather.
There are no new or good jokes. Every athlete who arrives in Minnesota is asked some version of a question about warm coats. Even Twins pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who thanked “the city of Minnesota.’’
• Enjoy the food scene.
A place known for lutefisk and hot dish has become one of the best foodie havens in North America. If you can’t find a good restaurant in the Twin Cities, you deserve that cheesesteak.
• Enjoy the music.
Prince. Hüsker Dü. The Jayhawks. Soul Asylum. The Replacements. Bob Dylan. So many others. Long, dark winters and a literate populace cultivate great artists, and many will be playing this week.
• Ignore TV accents.
We don’t all talk like characters from “Fargo.”
Only 38 percent of us do.
• Wear the right clothes … or don’t.
If you don’t understand how dangerous the severe cold can be, either stock up on hats, earmuffs, gloves, warm socks and boots, or never leave the skyway. Or both.
• Don’t buy the clichés.
Not many of us ice fish, yet every TV producer shoots Minnesotans ice fishing.
People who ice fish aren’t ice fishing. They’re avoiding their families. Want a representative shot of what Minnesotans do in winter? Check backyard rinks, indoor malls and couches.
• Understand our paranoia.
During the 1987 World Series, there was a sign in the right-field corner of the Metrodome that read: “We like it here.’’
We’re insecure yet insular. We want you to tell us how much you love Minnesota. Then we want you to definitely not move here.
As Minnesotans love to say, the cold keeps out the riffraff. Unless the riffraff is invited.