WHAT A SOONER LIVING IN COLUMBUS LEARNED ABOUT THE OHIO STATE BRETHREN
It was October 2009, and I was in Columbus working on the (doomed) U.S. Senate campaign of Ohio Lt. Governor Lee Fisher. Our campaign headquarters was located on the top floor of a vacant office building tucked in the middle of Victorian Village, a quiet neighborhood in the center of town.
I lived walking distance away in the “Short North” — an up-and-coming neighborhood that gentrification was steadily transforming into a bustling strip of shiny new restaurants, art galleries, and wine bars. My studio apartment was positioned above the iconic Short North Tavern, a dive that faithfully stayed true to the area’s seedier past.
The studio didn’t have air conditioning. During the summer months, it stank of cigarette smoke, which wafted through the open windows from the smokers below.
Every night, you could hear the music playing in the tavern until closing time. My neighbor across the hall was a bartender at the tavern, and judging from his pasty complexion and nocturnal nature, I was pretty confident he was a vampire. Great apartment.
As a lone sousaphone dutifully dotted the “I” in O-H-I-O, the crowd erupted in frenzied gratitude. I turned to one of my colleagues — a native Ohioan — and shouted over the roar: “YOU GUYS ARE NUTS.” He smiled and nodded, and in that moment of perfect human understanding, I thought: “Yes, we are the same.”