Hard Candy – You Might Be a Gulfportian If…

Amidst all the festivities during the city’s Fourth of July celebration (by the way, well done, city staff!), I realized that, despite a New York birthplace and growing up in Clearwater, somewhere along the way, I’ve become a Gulfportian. How do I know? Well, for one, I now anticipate the Fourth of July and GeckoFest much like a child does Christmas and her birthday. That started me thinking: How do you know you’re a Gulfportian? I asked some of our readers, alongside some of my clues that I might be one, here’s how you know you might be a Gulfportian.
 You might be a Gulfportian if…
… you know the proper pronunciation of “Gulfportian”.
… you’re wheeling a baby carriage through downtown, but have a dog in it and no one thinks twice about it. If you have a baby in that carriage, though, everyone does a double-take.
… you may not like all your neighbors but it’s like family: only Gulfportians can talk that way about each other.
… likewise, even the Gulfportian who likes you the least would join you to rescue a mistreated animal.
… you fly a rainbow flag even though you aren’t gay.
… you spend two hours at the Tuesday Fresh Market – 20 minutes to shop and the rest to chat.
… you are in some way related to the Worthingtons.
… someone refers to Disston City or Veteran’s City and you know what they mean.
… you have ever spoken before city council about the necessity of owning chickens.
… your local paper ran an article about the (former) police chief getting his gun stolen from his cruiser and no one seemed to notice. The next month someone found an abandoned rabbit and the Gabber received letters for two months.
… you can’t find most Eastern Block countries on a map, but you could find the Thursday Night Social, the Blueberry Patch and the Worthington fish fry blindfolded in a rainstorm.
… when someone makes fun of the guy with the mullet, it takes you a minute to realize they mean his hair.
… the thought of tossing a dead fish into a kiddie pool is totally normal to you.
… you’ve used the phrase “behind the wall” and didn’t mean Berlin.
… you start to feel homesick when you go north of Central Avenue and a trip to Tampa feels like a visit to a foreign land.
… you try to ice the fish you caught last night and a crowd forms at the fish box.
… at least once a year you have to explain to someone “the one in Florida.”
… “Hurricane Watch” means going down to O’Maddy’s and drinking beer while watching the storm roll in.
… you don’t like shoes, but if you must wear them, you wear sandals.
… you know Jimmy.
… you see Charlie Williams everyday but you’ve never once seen him in shoes.
… you can tell when someone moved to town by what they call the Casa Cortez building.
… you know Pia and Maddy aren’t just trendy restaurant names.
… you know we’re not like Key West. Key West is like us.
… your mayor is also your bartender.
… your police officers investigate duck snatchings and home invasions with equal enthusiasm.
… the social event of the year involves a gecko dressed in a leisure suit.
… you and your lesbian partner have matching “Keep Gulfport Weird” t-shirts.
… you know exactly how many chickens are permissible in a residential zone.

Special thanks to readers Tiffany Anderson-Taylor, Christine Brown, Elizabeth Brown-Worthington, Mike Chapman, Diane Craig, Lindsay Fussell, Pat Harbachuk,  Brenna Henderson, Sam Henderson, Jono Miller, Juju Stevens, Frank Verdino, Charlie Williams, Denise Wimmer-Lowe, and (of course) my mom for helping write this week’s column.

Contact Cathy Salustri at CathySalustri@theGabber.com.

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I write. I take pictures. I love my dog. I love Florida. My 2016 book, 'Backroads of Paradise' did really well for the publisher and now I feel a ridiculous amount of pressure to finish the second book.