Saint John — Whether you’re from Saint John or just visiting, it’s important to know that there are certain topics that you just can’t joke about in the Port City. At best, touching on these subjects will guarantee reactions of rage, and at worst? You might be cancelled by just under 70,000 proud residents of Saint John.
Without further ado, here are 5 topics you must not joke about (or even bring up) if you’re in Saint John.
- Saint John’s downtown is called “Uptown”: Yes, the area may be at the bottom of a hill and close to the sea level, but make no mistake — the hardworking, down-on-their-luck Saint Johners utterly refuse to call this area “downtown.” They spit at the very idea. Every other city might call that a downtown, but not Saint John. It’s just one of the things that makes them unique and worthy of notice. So don’t you dare joke about it.
Joking that kids can’t play music well: Let’s say you work at an advertising firm, you’ve landed a big client, and you’re pitching something relatable and tongue in cheek for a commercial: a person cringing at the noises of a kids’ music recital. Obviously, you know music is important in a child’s upbringing, and it’s lovely to see a child playing an instrument. However, if your silly ad is playing in North America, make sure to double-check your geolocation settings; if it airs in Saint John, the residents might choose to ignore the fact that it’s a lighthearted joke, and launch a social media campaign against you or something.
The Irvings: Benevolent overlords, or malevolent tyrants? While many in New Brunswick believe the former, Saint Johners have no choice but to embrace the idea of the latter. Most of the city’s residents work for one of the many Irving family businesses, and constantly breathe (and smell) the very “air” the Irving plants pump out. But as they say in Saint John: “Don’t bite the hand that feed ya.” If you do, you may just end up in the harbour.
Crime, poverty and drug use: You might think these should be separate categories, but they tend to go hand-in-hand. Acknowledging these daily occurrences in Saint John does nothing but perpetuate negative stereotypes about the city, true or not. Why, Saint John standup comedians themselves will be the first to silence you if you mention the topic.
General complaints and negativity: Whether it’s former mayors, business leaders, local celebrities or just the average Joe, everyone in Saint John is sick and tired of hearing that you’re sick and tired! Don’t you know that you shouldn’t acknowledge problems? How can we spread the word of #SaintAwesome if we have to think about issues like homelessness, class inequality or garbage all over the street? That’s right, we can’t!
There you have it. Avoid joking about (or even talking about, really) those five topics, and you should get along just fine with any Saint Johner.