You know you are from Chicago if you know

You know you are from Chicago if you know

Recently there were stories in various local media about how to know if you are from Chicago. A columnist from the down market newspaper, who hails from Ohio, wrote a book on the subject.


Photo: Peter V. Bella

None of these people get it right.

My bona fides? I was not born in Ohio, where ever that is,  or a foreign land called Suburbia. I was born and raised in Chicago. I still live in Chicago, not some leafy suburb. I know this city like the back of my hand.

I did not have to do research for this. Chicago is my blood, my heart, my DNA.

You know you are from Chicago if you know:

Howyadooin is the official Chicago greeting.

You drink beer from a bottle or can.

The definitions of canoodle, boodle, and boondoggle.

What a Brody is.

What floaters and stinkers are.

Balloon construction, invented in Chicago, has nothing to do with balloons.

What a sidewalk inspector is.


You ask someone where they are from and they name a Catholic parish. (Peter V. Bella)

You ask someone where they are from and they name a Catholic parish. Up until a few years ago this was a South Side thing. But some of the North Siders got into it.

You never ever put ketchup on a hot dog.

You can navigate the underground Wacker/Michigan system without G.P.S. You can also walk it on a rainy day to stay dry without getting lost or mugged.

If someone asks you who you are with, there are only one of three correct answers. The blank stare of the pathetically stupid, The Grand Avenue, 26th Street, Chinatown, Rush Street, Elmwood Park/Melrose park crews or a street gang. Last, if it is a cop or F.B.I. agent, you don't say nuthin.

You can get from one part of the city to another during rush hour without getting stuck in traffic.

The "real" North Side is north of the Chicago River.

Why Reese Foods created garlic and onion juice and for what.

You know who Mail Box Marilyn (Mary) is.

How 'K' Town got its name.

An "alderman" was an early 20th Century term for a large belly. A large belly was a sign of prosperity and intelligence. Only stupid aldermen were poor and skinny.

You know the difference between the Island, Patch, and Little Italy(s).

Chicago organized crime is called the Outfit or the Syndicate. The Mafia never existed in Chicago. It is an East Coast thing.


A sanguich is a meal on a bun. (Peter V. Bella)

A sanguich (or sammich) is a whole delectable meal on a bun. There is no such thing as a half-a-sanguich.

Chicago has police districts, not precincts. Precincts are ward divisions.

Where to find a drink after 5 a.m. on a weekend morning. What bars open at 7 a.m..

The two busiest days at Jim's Original.

The brownie was invented at the Palmer House Hotel.


Photo: Peter V. Bella

It is, and will always be, Marshall Field or Field's. It will never be that third rate city's store.

The Service Employees International Union (S.E.I.U.) was started by the Chicago Outfit. Murray The Camel" Humphries, one of the heirs of Al Capone, started the union when he took over a building service employee union. They have a sordid history.

The original Dove Bar was invented in Chicago by Leo Stefanos, a Greek immigrant.


The skyscraper originated in Chicago. (Peter V. Bella)

The skyscraper was created in Chicago, not that third rate city on the East Coast.

You refer to Pulaski Avenue as Crawford.

Flaming saganaki was created at the Parthenon Restaurant in 1968.

Chicago is where the soap operas were invented and started on radio in the 1920s.

Chicken ala King was created in Chicago at the College Inn restaurant.


Bust of Lincoln at 69th and Wood Streets. (Peter V. Bella)

Chicago is the "Land of Lincoln". Chicago has more statues of Lincoln than anyplace else.

The Board of Trade was established in Chicago to stabilize trading in commodities throughout the nation. It was not started as a bastion of greed and corruption.

You know the real definition of the words clout, whack, and Chinaman.

Trunk music is not extra large throbbing speakers in car trunks.

You know the last two numbers of addresses where fire hydrants are located to avoid parking in front of one one late at night.

You know what teefs and yoots are.

The fire pole was invented in Chicago.

You know Chicago politicians do not care about issues. They only care about money. Who ever comes up with the money rules the issues.

There is no such thing as an honest politician in Chicago.


Horses had a significant historical impact in Chicago. (Peter V.Bella)

Horses had a significant historical impact in Chicago. During the 1860s Chicago was the largest horse market in the nation. Businesses that catered to the carriage trade were international enterprises.

There is no such thing as a reform politician in Chicago. Reformers throw the bums out and replace them with their own bums.

Three Card Molly is not the nickname of a female dealer at the Rivers Casino.

Chicago was a gourmet food mecca long before that third rate city on the East Coast.

Chicago is the easiest city to get around in. We have the best street system and public transportation in America.

You can find a poker or craps game and get admitted.

Nothing is on the legit in Chicago. Not one thing.


Photo: Peter V. Bella

Chicago is a working town. We work hard and play hard. We do not fool around. The blue collar guy gets as much respect as the financial titan. Only the truly lazy and inept go into politics. There is no shame in being a working man in Chicago. Chicago was built on hard work, grit, dirt, and noise. It still is.

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Chicago has a diversity of sports to enjoy, support, and bet on, even cricket. (Peter V. Bella)

Chicago is a real sports town. There is a diversity of sporting activities to enjoy and bet on. Look, it is what it is. People bet. So what? Chicago has baseball, football, hockey, basketball, soccer, rugby, lacrosse, and cricket.

You also know you are from Chicago when you can use ethnic slurs without offending the oh so tender sensitivities of friends and surrounding people. You are also not offended. People in Chicago talk that way. We do not have overly tender sensitivities. We are proud to be what we are and have no need to be ashamed of it.

And remember, for your own personal safety, when travelling or doing business in Chicago, our public officials and criminals do not take any guff and they don't take American Express.











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