Oh, Florida. Americans love to hate on it, but the truth is we love it. It's like the crazy uncle our mom hates because he gave us cigarettes when we were 11. Or a beloved three-legged family dog that can't stop chasing its own tail.
Either way, you should know what you're getting into if you decide to visit. So here's our handy, no-nonsense Florida tourism brochure telling you what to expect when you arrive.
Florida has always been a nexus for the world's most creative and influential people.
Your vacation on "America's wang" could maybe even put you on the list of the state's famous luminaries, including:
- Juan Ponce de León, the European who "found" Florida. He was looking for the Fountain of Youth.
- Former Congressman Allen West, who was really proud of the fact that he tortured an Iraqi.
- Ernest Hemingway, the first Floridian to freak out over how much a pool cost. ($20,000 in the 1930s!)
- Rudy Eugene, the dude who ate that guy's face.
- Ted Bundy, who started his career elsewhere but man, what a finish!
- Tim Tebow, who used to play football or something.
- Please do not bring up George Zimmerman.
- This skateboarding goat!
Things to do in Florida:
- The annual Python Challenge, when around 1,600 Floridians gather to kill the most pythons.
- The Flora-Bama Interstate Mullet Toss, when locals and tourists alike gather to throw dead fish into Alabama.
- Visit the Schooner Wharf Bar in Key West, where happy hour begins at 7 a.m.
- Witness one of our nude beach murders.
- Visit Celebration, Florida, the creepy, sterile planned town built by the Walt Disney Company as a bastard child of EPCOT.
- See the world's densest concentration of screaming children at Disney World.
- Also, lie and help yourself to some of the millions of dollars-worth of phones, cameras and other devices lost there every year.
- Search for sunken Spanish gold, and then watch in frustration as Spain seizes it back.
- Get really high! Cocaine might be passe, but painkillers are all the rage thanks in part to Florida's hopelessly broken prescription drug database.
Florida is one of the America's most gorgeous states, and also one of its most terrifying!
On your trip to Florida, you'll spend equal amounts of time admiring our vast natural beauty and wondering whether to start running.
- The Everglades is one of America's loveliest natural expanses, and is also probably the only place in the U.S. where you could plausibly suffocate to death on mosquitoes. One of the first things Floridians did when they got here was try to drain it.
- Fearsome crocodilians survived 83.5 million years of evolution basically unchanged and outlasted the dinosaurs, but have since been conquered by Orlando's "Gatorland."
- On a related note, Florida is the only state where large, dangerous reptiles are considered a minor nuisance.
- There's no better place to get struck down by a lightning bolt thrown by an angry Greek god than Florida. Six already have this year!
- If you get trapped in one of our famous sinkholes, it would make a great story!
- Florida's list of endangered large mammals includes the Florida black bear(Ursus americanus floridanus), the Florida panther(Puma concolor coryi), and the Florida retired mobster(Homo testimonium protecticus).
Thinking of moving here?
Your livelihood and safety will be in good hands with Florida's modern, sophisticated state government, which does not in any way resemble a tropical single-party kleptocracy. We prefer to call it a "lax regulatory environment." Here are some examples of what you can expect:
- No income taxes and big corporate tax loopholes let Floridians keep their hard-earned cash in their wallet where it belongs! Don't mind plummeting state revenue (-26% from 2007-2012? Wow. We'll get back to you on that) and economic productivity.
- With 781 federal corruption investigations from 2000-2010, we're not afraid to delegate!
- The "most corrupt city in America," Hampton, is back on the right track after firing its entire police department.
- Our legal system is the envy of North Korea!
- Good ol' Southern justice isn't dead in Florida, where we sentence the most people to death of any state.
- Reports of a cover-up surrounding a tuberculosis epidemic are probably exaggerated, because how the heck could that happen?
- One of our congressmen picked his ear and ate it on live TV.
- The state capitol building definitely doesn't resemble a penis.
People have a lot of theories on why Florida is so strange. Maybe it's the 20 million people crammed together with 80 million annual tourists, with a bizarre mix of immigrants, cranky retirees, evangelical Christians, rednecks and Miami noveau riche all forced together in humid 90-degree heat. It could be the promise of a fundamentally unworkable laissez-faire lifestyle. Some suspect the state government, which even the former Florida Republican Party chairman admits is now run by "right-wing crazies." A look at the state's history demonstrates Florida has been the end of the line for people fleeing their past for at least a hundred years. One particularly compelling theory involves the state's admirable open-record laws, which encourage cops to blab and the elitist media to continually parrot Florida's bizarro-land reputation -- this brochure included.
Add in a plethora of deadly animals and sea creatures and you've got a recipe for what makes Florida by far the most Florida state in the union.
*Full disclosure: The author of this brochure went to school in Florida for four years and moved back north, making him a filthy carbetbagger. But he does love Florida.