Saturday, June 12, 2010

Identity Crisis?

I have a confession to make.

I think I’m sailing here on this blog under somewhat false colors. I mean, here I am, posting a blog entry to a site called Hoosier Ink…only I’m not a Hoosier.

No. Seriously. Stop laughing.

Because, in the interests of writing integrity, telling the truth, and authentic research, I have to admit…I’m not quite sure what a “Hoosier” is. And I think the time has come to find out.

For those of you who don’t know this, I’m from Chicago. Born, bred, raised, lived in the Chicago area for all but about two years of my adult life, prior to the last five years I’ve spent here. It was “home” for the greater part of my existence. And in some respects, you can take the girl out of Chicago, but you can’t ever completely take Chicago out of the girl. (Proof of that being that I’m walking around with a big grin on my face, humming “Here Come the Hawks” these last couple of days. :-) Just sayin’.)

But back to Hoosierdom…or not.

Not being native to Indiana makes me at times stand out like—well, the proverbial (and clichéd) sore thumb, if I had one, which I don’t. (Although my left foot is bothering me a bit at the moment, thanks for asking.) At no time was this more evident than one day, a couple of years ago, when all of a sudden in the middle of an ordinary weekday, work stopped…and people huddled around the television set in the office.

What were they watching? A weather disaster? An airplane crash? A political coup somewhere?

Uhhh…no. What stopped work and froze people around the tube was that Indiana University was having a press conference to announce a new basketball coach.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love basketball; I fill out NCAA brackets and the whole shot. But…they stopped work to watch a university press conference announcing something that, thanks to ESPN and countless other stations, we all knew had already happened.

But when I expressed that sentiment, people just laughed and said, “Hey, this is a Hoosier thing.”


At that point, I knew…there must be something to this “Hoosierness” that I don’t understand. So I’m appealing to you, my fellow bloggers—can you help me out here?

What makes a Hoosier…a Hoosier?

Now, sure, I could Google this thing and do writerly research. I could. I thought about that. But the best source for any writer is a primary source—which, thanks to this blog and my present state of residence, you are. Thus, I see no reason to spend time on secondary sources, Wikipedia, or anything else that may approximate the meaning of this mysterious term when I can simply ask the people who claim it legitimately as their own.

Besides, this way is much more fun!

So clue me in, fellow authors who actually are Hoosiers, and not the grafted-on transplant I am. What makes a Hoosier a Hoosier? Is it simply an accident of birth, or—as I suspect—is there something more to this than merely being in the proper state at the proper time? If there is, what is it? Do I get it eventually, by osmosis? Or am I doomed forever to be an impostor (hangs head), only donning a Hoosier disguise now and then for blogging purposes?

I look forward eagerly to your answers. With this information in hand, then, when people back in Illinois ask me if I’ve become one yet, I’ll be able to tell them yes or no…and be able to back up my answer with the best source available.

Yours for integrity in blog identity...


  1. If Hoosier means born and bred, them I'm not. I've only lived here for 31 years. (So am I a Michigander even though I've been gone longer than I lived there?) Even so, until your post, I considered myself a Hoosier. No, I'm not an IU fan, and NW Indiana has more in common with Chicago than with the rest of Indiana--right down to the time zone. I cheer for the Hawks and the Bears and the Bulls, and I'm one of those foolish die-hard Cubs fans. So if anyone deserves to have an identity crisis, I do.

    But my husband was born in Indiana and has lived here his entire life except for the 4 years he was in the Navy. He also used to be a big IU fan in the Bobby Knight days (not as much now), so he's clearly a Hoosier. Isn't he? But he cheers for the Hawks and the Bulls and the Bears--even when they play the Colts--and is a die-hard Cubs fan.

    So if you figure out what makes you a Hoosier, let me know.

  2. Kathryn-

    LOL! I, too, cheer for the Hawks and the Bulls and the Bears and the (sigh) Cubs. And I don't dare tell most of the Hoosiers around me what I think of Bobby Knight. :-) I guess we'd best both watch this space and see if anyone comes up with a real definition!

    (Janet W. Butler)

  3. Being a Hoosier is so hard to flesh out that it must be simply an accident of birth. We have lived here for 24 years. Our children grew up here and consider it home. My wife and I both have had long and delightful careers here. We have been very happy here, love the culture, and we have been thrilled to live here for more than two decades. But it is not home, and we will be "going home" to retire in a few months.