As someone who was born and raised in Chicago (what up?!), it boils my blood that kids from the near suburbs claim that they are “from Chicago.” Just own up to the fact you are from Berwyn or Joliet or wherever, so I don’t have to rot your soul with my dirty looks. However, in the spirit of camaraderie I apparently have to feel toward other freshmen, I must look past these things, so I want to give you kids from the near suburbs (Sorry, Bourbonnais, you’re too far to make the cut) some tips on pretending to be from Chicago proper.
The first thing you need in order to pretend you are from Chicago is a neighborhood. You have to start researching neighborhoods hard in order to give some specifics in order to not be spotted as a fake. For instance, if you say you are from K-Town because you heard about it in the Kanye West song “Cold,” you better be able to roll off all the ‘K’ streets (Karlov, Kedvale, Keeler, Kenneth, Kilbourn, Kildare, Kolin, Kolmar, Komensky, Kostner, Kilpatrick , Kenton, Knox and Keating). If you really want to dazzle, give specific memories from the nearest Home Run Inn Pizza. If you’re really struggling to come up with a neighborhood, just say your grandmother’s maiden name followed by “Park”, and there’s a 95% chance your listener will buy it (and a 70% chance you will have unwittingly named a real Chicago neighborhood).
Once you have your new neighborhood, start familiarizing yourself with city landmarks. This shouldn’t be that hard, considering that you probably took a day trip at some point to Navy Pier or Millennium Park. But, instead of revering them, you have to now hate them because “they are just a bunch of tourist traps.”* And as a Chicagoan, you hate tourists more than anything. They are the worst people ever and should all die horribly specific deaths.**
Familiarize yourself with the CTA. You can get away with just knowing what colors the train lines are. That would be impressive enough to wow your pimply roommate from Tulsa. If you want to be ambitious, you can learn when to transfer from line to line. Err on the side of caution when speaking about the CTA, though, because you may get confused on why exactly we needed a Pink Line.***
On the note of transportation, never speak about the evil Metra. It may be spacious and prompt, but it will never beat our beloved delayed, slower, crowded rides for roughly the same price. You should also make fun of kids who use the Metra, because they are a bunch of nerds that are afraid to ride the real train.
- Now that you have the groundwork for your new life set, you have to start building street cred. Apparently hip hop is still big with kids our age, so I would pretend you know Chance the Rapper or Chief Keef. They are roughly our age so it is an entirely believable fabrication. Now if you use this lie to build street cred, you need a story to go along with it. I recommend something simple like you smoked a blunt with one of them. If you don’t smoke weed, say that a friend of yours smoked a blunt with one of them when you were hanging out nearby. Basically, make up any story that involves smoking blunts and you will get far.
Just remember, everyone: If we unite, we can stop those douches from Rockford and Bloomington from claiming “they are practically from Chicago.”
*But don’t say “trap.” Say “traap,” all nasal and Midwestern and stuff.
**Examples of horribly specific tourist deaths include, but are not limited to: Starving at Navy Pier because the food is so expensive, falling from the Skydeck on
Sears Willis Sears Tower, and being struck in the temple at Soldier Field by a rogue Robbie Gould field goal attempt.
***The Pink Line is so unnecessary that it causes me physical pain. But I’ll save my feelings about the reorganization of train lines for the open letter I’m soon writing to Rahm Emmanuel, titled “How To Lose Electoral Support And Alienate People.”