State vs. State: Pennsylvania
After proving beyond any doubt how New Jersey is so much better than Delaware, I have my sights set on the Armpit of America’s western neighbor. While comparing Delaware to New Jersey was obviously pretty easy, proving that my state is better than Pennsylvania may be a little trickier. But let’s give it a try.
When one hears the word “Pennsylvania,” there are a few images that come to mind: the green patchwork of farmland, the quaint little towns, and the beautiful mountains and valleys. Well, newsflash: New Jersey has all these things too. Big deal, right? Well New Jersey is like one quarter the size of Pennsylvania, so all of our farmland, quaint towns, and mountains are all within an hour or so drive of each other. Compare that with the over 5 hours it takes to drive from one end of Pennsylvania to the other.
Which brings me to the next point. Just look at the two states on a map. New Jersey is shaped like a voluptuous woman, drawing you in like a siren. On top of that, the girlish figure of our state is all natural, for the most part. Aside from the northeastern border with New York, New Jersey’s boundaries are all formed by water. And how is Pennsylvania shaped? Like a boring rectangle with a misplaced wedge on top. What other state has a stupid wedge on top?? Only Pennsylvania.
The story behind that odd wedge is yet another reason to make fun of the state. Originally, that sliver of land belonged to New York. Since it stretched all the way to Ohio, poor Pennsylvania didn’t have access to Lake Erie. So the crybaby people of that state did what they still do best: whine until they get their way. So they finally got their connection to the Great Lakes, but at the cost of having a misshapen wedge at the top of the state.
Speaking of whiney Pennsylvanians, let’s talk a bit about the states’ politicians. Longtime Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter created quite a stir recently when he suddenly changed his party allegiance. Specter had been a Republican for 44 years, and then one day, he decided he wanted to be a Democrat. Being a more moderate Republican up for reelection, he obviously did this to avoid losing in the Republican primary to a more rightwing adversary. Though I’m not complaining about there being an additional Democrat in the Senate, Specter’s move was pretty shady and couldn’t be more transparent. We all know that New Jersey’s politicians are incredibly corrupt, but even they have more integrity than this. It’s true that they think nothing of lying to their constituents, but at least they know how to stay true to themselves. For shame, Mr. Specter.
Now no discussion about Pennsylvania would be complete without bringing up the Amish. You know, those people who live in Lancaster County and pretend it’s still the 1600s. For some reason, Amish Country is one of Pennsylvania’s biggest tourist attractions. While they may seem rather quaint and idyllic, what with their horse-drawn carriages, homemade pies, and shy but friendly manner, most people don’t know the whole story about the Amish. So I’ll let you in on a little secret. Many of them are inbred drug addicts. Seriously. Since the population is so small, they often have to turn to kissin’ cousins to mate with. And, since they shun TV and other distractions, Amish youths often turn to drugs to occupy themselves. Think about that next time you see them in their seemingly innocent horse and carriage.
Let’s end by talking about Pennsylvania’s most famous contribution to American culture – the Philly cheesesteak. Created in Philadelphia, the Philly cheesesteak is comprised of thinly sliced beef, high-quality Cheez Whiz, and chopped onions all served on a roll. There are a few different cheesesteak restaurants, like Geno’s, Pat’s, and Tony Luke’s, each claiming that their cheesesteaks are the best. There is an intense debate (pathetic, right?) among Pennsylvanians about who makes the best sandwich. Honestly, they all taste the same to me.
But taste is only part of the experience of getting a cheesesteak in Philadelphia. Since the three stores above are ALWAYS packed, you will often have to wait on line for a long time. On my most recent cheesesteak excursion, it took well over an hour before getting to the counter and ordering. And when you do order, you have to follow strict procedures. If you don’t order in the right way, you’ll get sent back to the end of the line (or so the assholes working there threaten). One of the stores even tried to ban non-native English speakers from ordering from them, since they hold up the line.
Now you may be wondering why I’m spending so much time talking about the Philly cheesesteak when I’m supposed to be convincing you why New Jersey is better than Pennsylvania. Well, that’s because you can actually get an authentic Philly cheesesteak right in New Jersey. Any concession stand at any Jersey Shore boardwalk (most of which are open all year) will have cheesesteaks. Rather than eating it on the dirty streets of Philadelphia, you can sit on a bench and gaze at the ocean. And you won’t have to wait on long lines or deal with the Philadelphia neanderthals. So, to any of the people who travel great distances to get a Philly cheesesteak, just head a little more to the east for a much better experience and, dare I say, a much better sandwich.
When you are done eating your cheesesteak, you can leave the boardwalk and drive through New Jersey’s farmland, quaint towns, and mountains. You’ll see that New Jersey has everything that Pennsylvania has, just closer in reach. Let me rephrase that. New Jersey has everything that Pennsylvania has, except the Amish. But they can stay over there.