Entry 37: Just Don’t Call Me Late to Dinner

So what do you call someone from Connecticut?

“Melvin” only works if that happens to be the person’s name, so you need something more generic.

All the New Yorkers we knew kept asking. Are you now Connectonians? Connections? Connecticutians? Convicts? Connecklaces?

I consulted answers.com and was told that we actually had a choice. The official term is “Connecticuter,” but I think that only applies to residents with dimples. Besides, if you’re going to go that way, shouldn’t it be “Connecticutter?” It sounds more, I don’t know, tough. “I’m a Connecticutter.” “No you’re not. You’re cuter.”

Fortunately, there is an alternative for Connecticut residents: nutmeggers. Okay, maybe “fortunately” was the wrong word there.

This, of course, comes from the fact that Connecticut is the “Khaki State.” No, that’s not right. It’s actual state nickname is “The Constitution State.” So why would we be called “nutmeggers?”

Well, one answer is that calling us “constitutors” would be ridiculous. Another reason would be that Connecticut used to be called “the Nutmeg State,” until somebody said, “Huh? Really?”

But I think “Nutmeg State” is charming, and harkens to the state’s long, illustrious history. The Connecticut State Library describes are two possible explanations for the name:

According to the book State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers, and Other Symbols by George Earlie Shankle (New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1941):

“The sobriquet, the Nutmeg State, is applied to Connecticut because its early inhabitants had the reputation of being so ingenious and shrewd that they were able to make and sell wooden nutmegs. Sam Slick (Judge Halliburton) seems to be the originator of this story. Some claim that wooden nutmegs were actually sold, but they do not give either the time or the place.”

Yankee peddlers from Connecticut sold nutmegs, and an alternative story is that:

“Unknowing buyers may have failed to grate nutmegs, thinking they had to be cracked like a walnut. Nutmegs are wood, and bounce when struck. If southern customers did not grate them, they may very well have accused the Yankees of selling useless “wooden” nutmegs, unaware that they wear down to a pungent powder to season pies and breads.” Elizabeth Abbe, Librarian, the Connecticut Historical Society; Connecticut Magazine, April 1980.

This raises a number of very important questions:

  1. Is there a long history of people and companies named Halliburton conning Americans?
  2. How did they fit State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers, and Other Symbols” on the spine of George Earlie Shankle’s book?
  3. Was there a quaint, colonial version of basketball wherein children in pinafores (yes, even the boys) dribbled bouncing nutmegs?
  4. You mean I’ve been putting wood on my egg nog?

Well, in any case, I’m not sure I want to be called a Nutmegger. It doesn’t sound quite…sane.

According to answers.com, though, there is one other choice. Apparently, many Connecticuters, er, Nutmeggers, prefer to be called “Yankees.” Gee, I can’t imagine why. I’d prefer to be called just about anything else.

But not Yankee. I’m a Met fan.

See you soon.

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