Being from South Dakota is one of the best things that's ever happened to me, but it does come with its challenges. One of the most frustrating things is when people ask me questions that are meant to be jokes, but really aren't that funny at all. Here is a list of the dumbest questions I've heard over the 20 years that I've lived in South Dakota.
1. "Do you ride buffalo to school?"
Yes, all the time. How else would people get to the one-room schoolhouse these days?
2. "Do you live in teepees?"
Of course we do. We have these really cool teepees nowadays that have air conditioning units and are super chic. We're trying to get a show on MTV called "Teepee Cribs," to showcase the most expensive and grand teepees that come with pools, flat-screen TVs and indoor trampoline rooms.
3. "People actually live there?"
Um...yes? I'm not lying about the fact that I've lived there for 20 years. I've been asked this question too many times, and I know it's kind of asked as a joke but I never know the proper way to respond because it's not even a funny question.
4. "What do you even do there?"
When people ask me this question I get irrationally upset. We do everything that you do wherever you grew up. Sorry that we don't have something spectacular to do every day, but you don't either. Most of the time we just hang out, go to the movies and things like that, which I don't think is unusual for anyone in any city.
5. "Do you visit Mount Rushmore often?"
Every morning, I wake up early to make the 5-6 hour drive across the state to see the majestic faces carved into a rock. I'm also shocked every day when I go visit Crazy Horse and see that it's still not finished yet. Then, I drive all the way back home across time zones and prepare for the drive the next day. On a more real note, no, we don't visit Mount Rushmore often. In fact, if you see it once you are probably set for life and are satisfied with never having to see it again.
6. "Aren't South Dakota and North Dakota basically the same?"
This is one of the most offensive questions you can hear as a proud South Dakotan. No, we are not the same as North Dakota. We are much warmer and more beautiful, and have way nicer cities than North Dakota. Why would anyone want to go even more north than we are? Our summers are the perfect temperature, and I refuse to believe that there is anything that beats a July evening and sunset in South Dakota.
7. "Are you guys drug addicts? We saw a bunch of signs for a place called 'Wall Drug...'"
I had friends from Michigan visit me this summer and that's the first thing they asked me. All across the state, we have signs for a place called Wall Drug. No, it's not a place to get drugs and it just so happens to be THE only place that people in the time of Westernization could get free, potable water when traveling west. Even nowadays you can go visit Wall Drug and taste the warm, stale, wonderful water that Wall Drug had to offer people moving west.
8. "Why would anyone even want to live there?"
All jokes aside, South Dakota is a wonderful place to live. My dad grew up in all sorts of places around the country, but he even agrees that South Dakota is one of the best places to raise a family. I grew up in a city that wasn't too big or urban, but it wasn't too rural and boring either. I got to know people very well, and they are still some of the nicest, most helpful and down-to-earth people I've ever met. South Dakota is an amazing state, and I am so proud to be a South Dakotan at heart.