The Rob Report

The Chicago Police

Correcting the People Who Correct You


Kill it with fire!

I was born outside of Chicago.  Several blocks outside of Chicago, as a matter of fact.   I made my debut at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park.  I grew up in Beverly.  I attended St. Ignatius College Prep.  With the exception of 7 years in Milwaukee, I spent most of my life within Chicago's borders.    Despite that pedigree, I have a confession to make.

I couldn't pronounce Goethe Street.  I still can't.  I think it's GUR-tuh.  

I think.

In fact, I never heard of Goethe Street until I moved back to Chicago in 2005.   Goethe Street is a small stretch of asphalt that runs from Lake Shore Drive to Clybourn on the near north side.   When you grow up on the far southwest side, the Gold Coast might as well be on Mars.  

Even so, if you swing and miss on the pronunciation of Goethe - you'll earn the eternal enmity of the grand old men of Journalism (capital J!)  in Chicago.  Your credibility is out the window - because you were less than precise in announcing the name of a street that is only a mile long.  I have a theory about this.  Goethe runs through the Rush and Division nightlife area - and the mere mention of Goethe Street brings up fond memories of ruining their first marriage.  

If you can't pronounce Goethe Street.  Or if you simply don't care....that's fine.  This lifelong Chicagoan absolves you.  

Goethe is just one item on the "I'm more Chicago than you" list.

Here's another one:  ketchup on hot dogs.   I didn't know that was a no-no until I read a Mike Royko column slamming then senate candidate Carol Mosely Braun for doing just that.  I'm guessing Mike was nursing a particularly nasty hangover that day - because he revoked her Chicago credentials on the spot.   CMB was born in Chicago.  She went to Paul Robeson High School.  Her dad was a Chicago cop.  But you like ketchup on hot dogs, so as far as were concerned, you were born in Ames, Iowa.  So go back to where we say you came from.

I enjoy a good Chicago-style hot dog as much as the next guy.  But if you want to top off your tube of meat byproducts with a dollop of ketchup - go right ahead.  I won't mind.

Coke vs. Pop vs. Soda:  Call it what you will.  I don't care.

Calling new things by their old names.  I have a hard time saying "Willis Tower."  It was the Sears Tower for the first 29 years of my life, so there's a bit of a learning curve.   However, the White Sox play at US Cellular Field.  It's no longer Comiskey Park.  As far as I'm concerned, Comiskey Park was demolished in 1991.   The store at the mall is Macy's.  Put that Marshall Field's nonsense to rest.   When Marshall Field's closed its doors in 2006, it was nothing more than a name.  The heirs to Marshall Field got out of the retail business years before.  

If you have a problem with any of this, we can meet in person to discuss our differences.  Let's meet on Goeeetheee Street for hot dogs.

I'll bring the sodas and ketchup.

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  1. V posted on 03/23/2012 12:05 PM
    Blech, ketchup on a hot dog. You must be some rich phony. They already got tomatoes, and if you don't got tomatoes, maybe you should try doing some yard work.

    As for that crack about Goethe, no one pronounces it right, even the people who tell you they're right.
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