Saint John — If New Brunswick’s Port City is known for one thing, it’s denial. Residents of Saint John will speak ill of any other city or town in the province at the drop of a hat, but you MUST NOT point out flaws or even make jokes about their city — or else. Don’t test them!
Here are 12 things that everyone knows to be wrong with Saint John but that are taboo to mention within Saint John itself.
- The huge plumes of smoke rising up over the city from a distance: Somehow, this is perfectly fine to Saint Johners. Or maybe it’s that they actually can’t see them and they look like rainbows on the horizon to the highly trained eye of a local.
- The fact that the city is entirely owned by one company that makes it clear with signs absolutely everywhere: This would clearly be a bad thing regardless of the owner, but heaven forbid a Saint Johner ever question Irving’s dominance. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds ya” is a phrase you’ll hear if you dare to badmouth an Irving.
- The downtown: It’s all one-way streets that point in different directions. And boarded-up storefronts. And panhandlers.
- The fact that they call the downtown “uptown”: And shame on you if you don’t capitalize the word Uptown!!! No other city does this, but that’s apparently because no other city is so special that they require their own punctuation.
- The mayor is crazy: You never can tell what nonsense will come out of his mouth next.
- The water: Whether it’s yet another boil order, or the pipes are literally exploding all over the west side, you can’t count on this basic need being fulfilled. But to a Saint Johner, this is part of the city’s charm.
- The smell: Unless you like sulphur and ash and wet garbage. We hear that Saint Johners’ olfactory receptors have evolved to transform the smell into something closer to fresh cinnamon buns mingled with rose petals.
- Cruise ship passengers: They bumble around cluelessly and ruin the downtown (sorry, “Uptown”) for tourists not off the boat.
- Their selectively good spelling: Much of this city is illiterate, but if you visit and they find out you thought it was spelled “St. John,” prepare for a smug, hour-long lecture on your ignorance.
- Saint Awesome: Or #SaintAwesome. Seriously, wtf is that about? Is it supposed to be a slogan or a hashtag campaign or what? It’s not even catchy.
- Sundays: The entire city shuts down. Everything is closed. You thought there was nothing to do the rest of the week? Just try to stifle your boredom on the Lord’s day of rest. But yeah, we totally buy that Saint John should be the capital of the province!
- The stories the local paper constantly puts out about some young couple who moved here from Toronto and are now completely content: Really, they have never been happier. They love the low rental prices and the short commute times. Despite not knowing anyone and making half the wage they did in Ontario. (This one is more of a bonus for those 15 or so people who read the T-J.)
If you agree with anything on this list, we beg you — make sure you keep it to yourself, lest you invoke the wrath of a Saint Johner!