Here’s some good news for those who aspire to being a Mainer. For the record, to be a Mainer, you must have been born in Maine. Some very good folks have been here for 50 years or more and still lament the fact that they are not considered Mainers.
To alleviate their pain, Maine comedian Gary Crocker and I have been talking about creating a Community College course that would certify these people as Mainers. As we talked, we realized that some Mainers are not very good Mainers, so we are also working on a rehabilitation course for them.
And you are invited to help us create the courses. I’ll give you some of my own suggestions today, and invite you to send me yours via email ([email protected]) or mail (34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352).
Last September, I suggested in this column that being a Mainer shouldn’t be limited to those of us who were fortunate enough to be born here. I got quite a response. My favorite was from Barbara Kaiser, who moved here from Germany with her husband and purchased a general store in Pittston. “We were told by the bank manager that we would never be accepted,” wrote Kaiser. “We found that to be the opposite.” Wonderful.
So, to be a Mainer, you have to embrace those from away. And here are some of the other things I’d require to be certified as a Mainer.
• Build a list of wild birds and animals you see around your house and in your travels for one month. Learn to identify the tracks and droppings of at least six wild animals. While you are out in the woods (and Mainers do spend a lot of time in the woods), find some moose droppings and make them into a necklace. Also pick and eat some wild edible plants. Bring the necklace to class along with some of those “trail nibbles.”
• Use the following phrases at least once a week. Wicked Good. See ya! It’s some old cold (or hot) today. My car (or something else) just got all stove up. Keep your eyes peeled. That’s a pisser. Just a smidge, please. And complain about the weather every day (right now it’s too hot, not long ago it was too cold, it’ll be too rainy soon).
• Go to the dump (transfer station) empty and come home with a full load. Attend four yard sales and purchase useless items at each one. Bring the items to class and try to sell them to us. Then you will be ready for the next step — have your own yard sale (if you need items for the yard sale, let us know, we have plenty).
• Start picking up trash along the roadside on a regular basis. Redeem the bottles and cans and donate the money to the local food bank. Yes, there is a charitable component to being a Mainer.
• Attend six bean suppers and then work at one. Then start enjoying bean suppers every Saturday night at home. Go to the local café for breakfast and still be there for lunch. Throw out your mustard and replace it with Raye’s mustard made in Eastport. Eat leftovers for half of your meals for a week. Shop only at Reny’s and Marden’s for one month.
• Get yourself a Red Sox T-shirt and wear it — often. If you do not support the Sox, there is no way you can be a Mainer (this item will be on the rehab list for current Mainers). Wave at everyone who passes you on the road. Say hi to everyone you walk past (even in Portland, and I understand you will get some strange looks).
• Find some items you would like to replace and make do with them. Bring your list, and some of your items, to class. Dress down, often. If you don’t know what I mean, we’ll cover this in class. And yes, the professors will be dressing down, too.
• I would like to require you to buy a hunting and fishing license and purchase a firearm, but I recognize this might be a bit over the top. But if you do these things, you will get extra points toward your certification as a Mainer.
• Submit a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Become an active supporter of your local library. Identify a place where you would rather live. Hah! Tricked you there, didn’t I?
Lest these requirements seem too onerous and difficult, we shall offer the following options: Enjoy a lot of Maine microbrews, Maine wine and Maine chocolates. And bring them all to class.