Yesterday, Buzzfeed laid out 43 reasons why "growing up in Florida was heaven on Earth." We can't necessarily disagree. Pool noodles, manatees, and free Publix sugar cookies were great and all, but we feel like it's not so much the joys but rather the shared pains that truly unite a people.
So we've taken it upon ourselves to list 43 reasons why growing up in Florida could also be hell on Earth. We do this not to disparage our great state, but because we feel the need to commemorate and recognize the great quasi-First-World struggles of our childhood.
1. You were repeatedly subjected to one of the most horrific interrogations ever devised by man.
2. You can't climb or build tree houses in a palm tree.
3. Your young eyes were regularly exposed to sights likes the one below.
4. Leaving perfectly good candy in places where it could melt was a reoccurring tragedy.
5. Learning how to spell the state's capital was a Herculean task.
6. The state is full of weird place names no third-grader should ever be asked to spell.
7. In the summer, your skin was covered either in nasty mosquito bites you weren't supposed to scratch...
8. ...or nasty sunburns that were too painful to touch.
9. And to avoid either you needed to hold still while your parents covered you in nasty-smelling chemicals.
10. Because even if it was 90 degrees outside, your classroom was kept so chilly you'd freeze to death if you didn't bring one of these to school:
11. When you were in high school, you realized the state's colleges are a lot harder to get into than most people gave them credit for, and you had the panicked thought of, Oh God, what if I don't get into UF? What if I don't even get into FSU?
12. The state's high concentration of old people meant you had to endure more cheek-pinching than should be allowed under the Geneva Conventions.
13. Flip-flop tan lines were a perennial scourge.
14. Actually, odd tan lines of all types were unavoidable.
15. Even if there was a perfectly good Publix ten minutes away (and there usually was), sometimes your mom would drag you into one of these godforsaken hellholes:
16. You could not relate to this movie at all:
17. Once you did actually see snow, the novelty wore off after five minutes and you thought, What the hell is this horrible stuff? Get me back to safety where I can wear flip-flops in January. Why would people even live where this happened?
18. Visits to Disney water parks made you too much of a snob to appreciate that boring tube slide they had at your local public pool.
19. Your school field trip to the art museum probably coincided with seeing something boring like a traveling Dale Chihuly exhibit and not, as you had hoped, a place with lots of paintings of topless chicks.
20. Sneaking off to your friend's party when her parents were out of town to play Edward 32hands was not as cool as playing Edward 40hands.
21. You weren't cool unless you had ridden the latest roller coaster at either Busch Gardens or Islands of Adventure (even though half of your classmates were totally lying about it anyway. YOUR MOM TOTALLY TOLD ME YEARS LATER YOU CHICKENED OUT IN LINE FOR THE HULK, MICHAEL DEMITRY.)
23. Because all of us, at one point or another, knew the deep embarrassment that comes with wearing a T-shirt in the pool sadly beats the deep embarrassment of not wearing a T-shirt in the pool.
24. If your family pet got out, you were legitimately worried it might be eaten by a gator.
25. Most of the cool bands you started to like in high school never toured in Florida (or they'd play only at weird clubs two hours away that your parents wouldn't let you go to anyway).
26. Your beach days would occasionally be ruined by the gross-out of red tide.
27. You're not quite as grossed out by this picture of a palmetto bug, and that concerns you slightly.
28. Regular family boat trips were fun until you got old enough to hate being stuck in a confined space with your entire family for hours at a time.
29. Whenever you traveled up North, you had to borrow someone else's ugly, ill-fitting winter jacket.
30. You were afraid to take your bike and sneak away to your friend's house because you might get caught by the gate guard.
31. Actually, you couldn't get to your friend's house in the first place if it was more than 15 minutes away by bike because you'd sweat to death.33. Even if you could survive the guard gate and the sweat, you couldn't find your friend's house anyway because the homes all looked the same and were arranged in a maze-like configuration.34. Some of your childhood friends grew up to be the stars of WTF Florida stories (or might as well be)
35. The football always landed in the Brazilian pepper bush.
36. Playtime was always cut short by rain.
37. There was always that one little shit in your class whose parents took her to Disney three or four times a year and let everyone else know about it, and you hated her.38. Chlorine eyes were the worst.
39. Despite the fact all the old-school Nickelodeon and Disney shows were filmed here, you never, ever casually ran into the stars and became BFFs with them like you secretly dreamed you would. So close, yet so far away.
40. You sure as hell wished you could have taken a shower after the few times your gym class actually left the gymnasium and went outside into that gross, sticky heat , but that didn't mean you were actually going to do it.
41. You're ridiculously embarrassed of all the bands that came out of Florida you actually liked as a kid (ahem, Vanilla Ice, Marilyn Manson, Creed, Limp Bizkit, Backstreet Boys, Dashboard Confessional, New Found Glory, etc., etc., etc.)
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42. Because at least one teacher at one of your schools got arrested or fired for something really, really shady.
43. Because you will forever have to defend the honor of your home state against the rest of America.
But fuck those people! They don't know what we've been through! How dare they! We may have been born in the swampy penis of America, but we survived and we are stronger and more interesting people than you ever will be because of it.