Like most Americans seeking adventurous fun, I moved to New Hampshire, the laughable state nicknamed “New Ha-ha.”
New Hampshire’s the most libertarian state. It believes in the fewest laws. The state’s motto is “Live free or die,” uttered by General Stark centuries ago and interpreted by modern New Hampshirites to mean “Get the government off our backs.”
Taxes New Hampshire brags that it has no sales tax, no income tax, and no other “broad-based tax,” which meaning “no tax affecting everybody.”
That sounds great and makes many idiots move here. After moving, we discover that the Machiavellis who run the government created many “little” taxes that affect “just a few” people. Here are little examples:
So in New Hampshire, you can “live free of taxes” just if you hide under a rock.
No restrictions In New Hampshire, you can do whatever you want, if you don’t get dangerously huffy about it.
For example, you can drive a car without getting a driver’s license. I was really surprised about that. When my stepdaughter wanted to learn how to drive, I asked the Department of Motor Vehicles about how to get her a “learner’s permit,” so she could practice; but the Department said she didn’t need one: she could just go ahead and drive. The only restriction is that a licensed driver must be next to her in the front seat and she has to say she’s “learning.”
In New Hampshire, you don’t need car insurance — unless you’re such a dangerous driver that the state declares you an exception. So I don’t have car insurance. I don’t have home insurance or health insurance either. If my car hits you or you trip on my lawn, just take me to court and take my house. Then I’ll have the pleasure of sitting outside and not having to pay the property tax.
New Hampshire is the only state where you don’t need to wear a seat belt if you’re an adult, even if you’re the driver. New Hampshire believes you have the God-given right to kill yourself on the highway. Seatbelts are required just for kids under 18, who are too young to appreciate the finer pleasures of suicide.
If you want to ride a motorcycle dangerously, go ahead:
you don’t need to wear a helmet. Massachusetts bikers love to come to New Hampshire and discard their helmets when they reach our border, so they can feel the wind blowing in their hair — and later feel their heads bobbling on the asphalt. As a result, New Hampshire is the state that has the most motorcycles per 1000 people.
You can smoke in any room in any building. Your lungs are your own business, and everybody else in your smoky room can just leave! (But recently, a few health nuts have voted to ban smoking in restaurants, starting in September 2007, because they want to taste food without coughing.)
Want to buy a gun? No problem. Just go to a store, say you want to buy a gun, and in less than half an hour you’ve got it. You don’t need a license: just wait the half hour for the store’s computer to check you’re not a felon.
You can carry a gun with you, loaded, practically anywhere you wish, without a license — even into your local bank or convenience store. The only restriction is you can’t take it onto a plane or into certain government buildings. If you carry a loaded gun, just make sure it’s visible, so everybody can see it and get properly scared and nervous: don’t hide it! (If you want to hide it, you must remove the bullets first, so you don’t get arrested for carrying a “concealed loaded weapon.”) But if you’re stupid enough to carry a loaded visible gun into a bank or convenience store, be prepared to get tackled by a nervous rookie policeman — who’ll then apologize to you for having impinged on your New Hampshire rights.
If you don’t want to pay a highway toll, you don’t have to. That’s because New Hampshire lawmakers made a mistake when writing the highway-toll law, and they’re too lazy to fix it. The law accidentally says it’s illegal for New Hampshire to arrest you for not throwing coins into the toll basket.
Want to kill your mom? Well, that’s against the law. We New Hampshirites need to have some limits! But it’s okay to strangle a squirrel.
Politics New Hampshire is run mainly by Republicans who tote guns. But they’re kind enough to donate shelters to Democrats who escaped from Boston when Boston’s real estate got too expensive for normal folks to live in.
For a while, the Republicans were kind enough to let a Democrat lady become governor. She was a kind lady who believed in education. When she had trouble balancing her budget, she decided the fairest solution was to add a sales tax and income tax. The voters decided the fairest solution was to get rid of her. They did. So we still have no sales tax and no income tax. We also got a new governor —Republican, of course — who still couldn’t balance the budget. Now the newest governor is a Democrat again, but he’s just a token governor, since his Republican legislature won’t let him do anything.
Since I’m a Democrat, I’m morally required by the Democrat religion to believe the fairest tax is an income tax, since it taxes the rich more than the poor. But I admit I secretly enjoy the evil pleasure of being in New Hampshire, since it’s sure nice to avoid the bureaucratic hassles of figuring sales tax and income tax and filling those stupid forms all you Non-Hampshirites must fill each year.
My friends back in Massachusetts love to taunt me by reminding me that “New Hampshire is great place to live, as long as you don’t have a handicapped kid or break a leg or need any other kind of social service.” New Hampshire ain’t keen on offering such services. Remember the New Hampshire motto: “Live free or die,” which means:
In New Hampshire, God is a frustrated artist: He keeps trying to draw out the perfect snowstorm. He keeps dumping his efforts on us in His attempt to create the perfect snow landscape but never quite gets it right. Finally, one day, the frustrated Deity of Dramatic Weather gives up, smiles, and breaks out singing:
Then He creates — for His finale — one final gigantic snowstorm, called “The Oy’s of March.”
Afterwards, he takes His bow. That’s called “spring.” The flowers come up and applaud his past achievements but are secretly relieved to see the concert’s over.
Oops! I said the forbidden word “spring”! I shouldn’t have said that. In New Hampshire, we’re not allowed to say “spring.” Natives say instead, “It’s the mud season,” because that’s when the snow starts melting and all the shit is sopping wet. Each “yard” becomes a series of rivers and waterfalls running under the snow — until finally old man Sun gets really hot and angry and lets the birds chirp. But then “The Old Man in the Mountain” (New Hampshire’s godlike mountain stone face, still alive in spirit) gets grumpy, tells the birds to shut up, and throws snow on them — for many days in a row — in April or May. That’s called “Whitey’s surprise party.”
In New Hampshire each year, the weatherman admits again that “March came in like a lion and went out like a moose: a big, lumbering surprise whose journey was unpredictable.”
In other states, pixies sing “April showers bring May flowers.” In New Hampshire, we sing “April crud brings May mud.”
But if life here weren’t an adventurous challenge, why would anyone come?
During what month does snow here start? The answer is: “Whenever you don’t expect it.” For example, on a bright, sunny day in mid-October, I was foolish enough to ask my neighbor Tom (a policeman who’s lived here for many years) when snow would start. He said, “December or late November, but never before November 15th.” Well, I shouldn’t have asked. Just asking the question sealed my fate: the very week I asked, it snowed many times, to drive home the point that newbies shouldn’t ask such stupid questions. It also reminded me that if you want to know what goes on up here, don’t ask a policeman.
While other states have a storm that “rains cats and dogs,” in New Hampshire it “snows bears and moose.”
Since our gigantic storms hit us unpredictably, here’s how we New Hampshirites chat with our next-door neighbors:
During winters, New Hampshire farmers don’t say “Have a nice day.” Instead they say:
That sounds the same but is more realistic, since you can never have a “nice day” during a New Hampshire winter.
New Hampshire’s most famous college is Dartmouth. It was started centuries ago as a missionary school to teach Indians about religion and English. None of the Indians got to speak English real well, but the best of the bunch was sent to England to try to raise donations. His pitch was, basically, “Me Indian. Me speak English. You want more Indians to speak English? Give money.” Nobody gave very much. The idiot who gave the most was the Earl of Dartmouth, so they decided to name the college after him, in the hopes he’d give more. He never gave another cent.
Like New Hampshire weather, Dartmouth College is full of extremes: a hotbed of liberals peppered with silly arch-conservatives. For example, the arch-conservative student who lived down the hall from me hung a Confederate flag on one wall, hung a Rhodesian flag on the other, and wore an upside-down peace button showing a bomber and the words “Drop it!”
When Democrats vying to be “President of the United States” visit New Hampshire, they love to stop at Dartmouth College and give speeches there, so liberals will cheer them and make them feel good. Then the rest of the state, which is mainly Republican, ignores them.
I live in New Hampshire’s biggest city, which is spelled “Manchester” but pronounced “Manch has duh.” That pronunciation summarizes the city: Manch has, duh, stupid people. When I lived in Boston, I had the pleasure of chatting with advanced Harvard and M.I.T. students about the meaning of life; but now I’m stuck in Manchester, where the main intellectual question is:
At first glance, Manchester is just a dying mill town, full of abandoned boarded-up textile mills along the river. But at second glance, Manchester is… still an abandoned mill town. Not until you take a third glance do you realize Manchester is full of secrets, such as:
Manchester contains many cultures:
Manchester is where you’ll find the hotel on which this poem is based:
Okay, I confess I exaggerated a bit: not all the rooms have blood in the drains.