Thursday, May 14, 2009

Portland History: A Test

For those of you who may not know a bit about the author of this web-log-clutter-entity, I grew up in the great land of Portland, Oregon. 

Portland is home to many things, such as: the worlds smallest park, Mill End Park, a place for leprechauns to play and picnic; The Kingsmen's version of Louie, Louie; and Tom Peterson and Gloria too. And well our own kind of superhero, Kiteman!

Kiteman was part of public safety campaign during the 80s informing us all about the importance of not getting out kites stuck in power lines. But there were great non sequitur moments in the commercial that seemed to have slid into the collective childhood subconsciousness.

Basically, here is a test for those who claim they are from Portland. If they grew up in Portland and were children during the 80s more than likely, they will understand this reference. The dialogue will proceed as following:

Person A: Where are you from?
Suspect Portlander: I'm from Portland.
Person A: Oh Really? Well, What about Frogs?

Two little caveats.  Caveat 1: Person A, could easily stand for Person Asshole, because let's face it this line of questioning/interrogation is a ham handed. But let's say the Suspect Portlander doesn't mind the passive aggressive tendencies of the hipster-prove-your-roots scene where we all come from slightly bitter undertone and just passes this off as part of the urban culture we abide by. Caveat 2: This is where you will need to give the person a minute to look and search their memory banks. If they are drunk they won't get it, or they might plant a fake memory into their head as so many alien abduction victims and/or people who say they actually remember Woodstock in 1969, not the movie, the event in Bethel, New York.

Continuing back to the questioning: If the person responds with a "huh?" Forget it, they might have grown up in...oh let's say Salem, Silverton, or Scio, but definitely not Portland. However,  If the Suspect Portlander responds with either, "I like Frogs," or "Kiteman!" with some level of glee. They were a child of Portland.

The things about Portland is, being a native, is a rare thing.  And in all honesty, I wasn't born here, my family moved here when I was 9-months old, but except for a brief run off to college and upstate NY, I have spent the entirety of my life in this fishing village. So I claim native. Most everyone I encounter has just moved to town. They have been here for 3-years or less, sometimes they are passing through, sometimes they moved with a boyfriend/girlfriend, a band, a mistake, et cetera. In the end, they are here. But they haven't seen this city grow, change and develop, and secretly hate all of the transplants.

There ways to test Portland by knowledge of landmarks, institutions, and media:

You can ask for the cross-streets of the 3 locations of the locations of the 24-Hour Church of Elvis.
In the 80s on AM radio you couldn't escape on Quarterflash; what was the band originally named?
Where was Beeper City?
Did you ever get a Tom Peterson haircut?
Where was the Big Bang?
Who was Baloney Joe?
More important who was Mr. Bumpity? I was kind of terrified and enamored of this local fixture of Saturday mornings as a childhood. Still to this day, I don't know if he was a frog, or something else.

Tangential thinking aside: Kiteman was for everyone.

Protecting the children, the frogs, the power lines, the skies.

Portland isn't the best place to fly kites, or catch frogs...but it is a good place dress-up weird and have a mustache.

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