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Portland, Oregon:
a laughing matter

by Diannek


The "Umbrella Man" statue in downtown Portland

Living in Portland, you get used to jokes like this one:

Final Judgment

A curious fellow died one day and found himself waiting at the Pearly Gates. As he stood there he noticed that some souls were allowed to march right through into heaven. Others, though, were led over to Satan who threw them into the burning pit. But every so often, instead of hurling a poor soul into the fire, Satan would toss a soul off to one side into a small pile. After watching Satan do this several times, the fellow's curiosity got the best of him. So he strolled over and asked Satan what he was doing.

"Excuse me, Prince of Darkness," he said. "I'm waiting in line for judgment, but I couldn't help wondering, why are you tossing those people aside instead of flinging them into the fires of hell with the others?"

"Ah, those..." Satan said with a groan. "They're all from Portland, they're too wet to burn."

If you've ever visited Portland, you can't help but notice how green it is. The hillsides are green, the forests are the darkest green you'll ever see, the lawns are green -- well, you get the idea. There's only one reason for all the greenery  -- rain. Actually, it rains more in some other places on earth, like the Amazon rain forest for example, or the Kauai rain forest. It even rains more in Seattle, but for some reason Oregon has the reputation for rain. 

Oregonians, in general, are fairly tolerant about visitors, as long as they remain just that. They like Oregon just the way it is and can even become downright obnoxious when visitors, especially California visitors, decide to move to Oregon permanently. And of course, one of the reasons Californians move (retire) to Oregon is because of the relatively cheap housing costs. It's sort of difficult to find work in Oregon, so unless Californians get transferred there, they usually wait until they can retire.

Oregonians agree on one thing: too many people moving to Oregon will most likely spoil it for the true Oregonians. That's why they came up with this catchy slogan:  If you weren't here, I'd be home by now (a reference to traffic problems) Visitors might be inspired to drive rental cars or somehow disguise their license plates. And this one: Nobody comes to Oregon for health reasons, why are you here? Or the one at the Oregon border: Welcome to Oregon, have a nice visit and then go home! 



A rock with moss growing on 
its North side.

It's raining in Portland, what else is new? Perhaps that's why some people from Portland develop a rather perverse sense of humor, even when they're not talking about the weather. Their humor becomes apparent by the things they do to cope with so much rain. 

For example, real men don't carry umbrellas. Nobody wears galoshes, except children, who call them boots. Kids like boots for puddle jumping -- bigger splashes. Did you know that some schools in Oregon offer letters in competitive puddle jumping? And drivers call AAA when their windshield squirters need refilling.

Some unexpected side effects of rain that visitors might not notice is that green stuff growing everywhere -- it's called either MOLD or MILDEW, and it has a nasty cousin called MOSS. Oregonians have developed whole new ways of dealing with mold and moss because there's mold in the showers, and that's probably mildew growing in the old shoes in the back of the closet, and on the wet shoes in the front of the closet, and it's even growing in the basement. There is moss on the golf courses, moss on the sidewalks, patios, roofs, telephone poles, fences, on rocks and on hiking trails. You can find moss on the north side of trees and on the south, east and west sides of trees too. You'll even find it on the north side of canes and walking sticks. As a result, there are job opportunities in one of Oregon's newest industries: moss-removing ventures.

Oregonians are noted for their frugal ways, so it's usually the newcomers to Oregon who engage the services of the moss-killing industry. But first they try using those rental power washers to remove the slimy green stuff from their property. What they don't realize is that if they asked around, they could find home-tested recipes and remedies for removing moss.

For example, here's a recipe for Removing Moss from the Patio. Stir up a nice strong mixture of Tide, bleach and water. Slosh it onto the patio and brush it into the moss and then wait. Then scrub it off. Voila!

Here's a helpful hint for Removing Moss from the Roof. This is another Tide recipe. Apparently Tide is the only thing that will really kill moss. Place cupfuls of Tide in plastic sandwich bags with small holes poked into them. Hire the neighbor's kid with a strong arm to throw them onto the roof. Make sure he gets the bags as close to the top of the roof as possible. Leave them up there. As it rains, the Tide will leak out of the bags and spread over the rooftop and will eventually kill the moss. (For further moss removal info, check out this article.)

Sometimes the Oregon humor isn't enough to carry some individuals through the long rainy season, which sometimes lasts as long as eleven months. They claim to be depressed. If it is true that gray skies cause depression, then why don't those truly depressed Oregonians just pull up stakes and leave for sunnier climes? 

Here is a list of  ten reasons why most Oregonians don't leave home:

10. Rain never keeps me from doing what I like to do best: mall shopping, movies, going to the library, drinking in bars, eating in restaurants and other amusing pastimes that I can do indoors while sitting down.

9. My unemployment hasn't run out yet, and because it's so cheap to live here, that small government check is all I need.

8. I couldn't afford to pay California's sales tax.

7. There are lots of career opportunities in pumping gas.

6. I can commit my own suicide.

5. I could never afford to water my lawn during that one month of summer.

4. I might have to give up salmon.

3. I just found out I'm allergic to sunscreen.

2. Green is my favorite color.

1.  I love moss.


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