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Cardiac Spill: Penn State Jokes

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NCAA Football: Illinois at Penn State
JOE LIVES
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

HOW DID THE PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS FAN DIE FROM DRINKING MILK?? ?

clipart of cow

THE COW SAT DOWN ON HIM!!!!!


State College is home to the worst pizza I have ever eaten.

Yes, it was a Little Caesars. That’s not an excuse - I’ve had plenty of chain-restaurant pizza. I’ve had frozen pizza. I’ve had the mediocre stuff they serve at basketball-arena Pizza Huts Express that you only patronize when it'll be midnight before you even get back to your car. I got a pizza from the smack addicts at Papa D's once that was partially uncooked:

But even this monstrosity, silently crying for a quick death, was at least an attempt at pizza. And parts of it were salvageable! The Little Caesars in Happy Valley failed to clear even that low, low standard, giving me something that lacked any intention to be a pizza. Instead, it was a stale, barely-microwaved disk of sauceless crust and bad ideas that afterwards sat in my stomach like half-dried modeling clay. (I don’t have a picture of it. Why would I?) It is the only pizza that ever made me unhappy while I was eating it.

It is also the primary touchstone of my experience in State College.


WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU SEE A PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS FAN UP TO HIS NECK IN CEMENT????

GET MORE CEMENT !!!!


Don't get me wrong - and don’t send me restaurant recommendations, the other guy is the food guy, I only eat dreams - I’m not saying The Whole Penn State Thing is bad. Not at all! There are some great parts of The Whole Penn State Thing. We, the Pitt fans, are just conditioned to hate on them because of how close those parts are to the terribleness. I remember a few years back I passed a bunch of THON canners on Forbes, and I had this visceral negative reaction - how dare they come here and solicit our students for their thing? Like they didn't have a right to try to raise some money in a place where people actually live. What’s worse, I wound up having this tiny ball of awful spite in my mouth all day on behalf of pediatric cancer. Penn Staters hate kids getting cancer? I guess kids getting cancer is Actually Good. I should write for Salon! But because THON is such a core part of The Whole Penn State Thing, and because hate runs deep, it’s just too much of a chore sometimes to try to disassociate it with the rest of their strange, backwards culture.

There's plenty to like beyond the obligatory:

  • Keegan-Michael Key is a national treasure!
  • Rural Pennsylvania is charming in Autumn!
  • Everybody loves ice cream!
  • I never got mugged waiting for a Megabus at the Wal-Mart!
  • We all know Rutgers fans don't deserve happiness, so, hey, keep doing what you're doing to that end!

Admittedly, I’m not super familiar with all the Penn State Mythos. I’m sure my list is missing something big, something only those lucky enough to get The Whole Penn State Experience know about. But luckily, popular Penn State blog and wagon circle Onward State had their version of the Bracket of Pitt to determine what the best Penn State thing is, so let me leave it to their readership to make the recommendations. Hey, Onward State readers, what’s the best Penn State thing of all time and across all genres?

The best Penn State thing of all time and across all genres is………

Our coach.

Wow! Awesome! We just picked some dumb old building.


WHAT DO A PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS FAN AND A BEER HAVE IN COMMON????

THEY'RE BOTH EMPTY FROM THE NECK UP!!!!


I don't want any "THE FREEH REPORT CAN'T MELT STEEL BEAMS" in my life, and we're not here to figure out who knew what and when (this is not the place for that discussion, please). I’m not making any accusations beyond “Joe Paterno... it doesn’t look good,” and I hope no one disputes or minimizes the awfulness of what occurred. No one's mind is going to get changed on that subject by some rando in a blog comments section. So ask yourself - am I a rando in a comments section? If the answer is yes, maybe chill out on this one.

I say all this because it’s impossible not to walk around the neighborhood of the Sandusky trial when we talk about Penn State and Paterno nowadays, and I really don’t want to spend this week trawling through court documents, testimonies, and alleged timelines of events to figure out, once and for all, whether or not Joe Paterno killed John F. Kennedy on that fateful day in Dallas. (I don’t think he did, for the record.) In fact, let’s get off on the right foot with something that all of us, across the state and across the nation, can agree on -

The NCAA is awful, as an institution.

The past couple years shook out in one heck of a way between Nittany Nation and Mark Emmert’s House of Flying Bylaws. The NCAA punished Penn State; Penn State raised hell about it; time passed; the punishment stopped early. The NCAA did a terrible job dealing with the Sandusky case, and as a result Penn State got off better than expected and even had their wins un-vacated. That’s amazing, because the NCAA loves to vacate them wins.

So congratulations, Penn State! You have the moral high ground on the NCAA. Great job, real achievement, so proud.

But I won't let you off the hook so easily, you see! The NCAA has screwy priorities, but me, I prioritize truth and justice and freedom and America and whatever. As such, I am starting my own record-and-fact book which will once and for all correct the record and bring honor to those who truly deserve it. It's still in the research phase, so pardon my mess, but here are some highlights:

Fewest Head Coaching Wins, All-Time

  1. Joe Paterno: Zero wins
  2. Scott Paterno: Also zero wins
  3. Jay Paterno: No wins at all
  4. Ken Paterno: Not sure if he’s a real dude, but definitely never won a game
  5. TODD GRAHAM NO WINS EITHER SCREW YOU TODD GRAHAM

Smallest Football Stadium

  1. Beaver Stadium (State College, PA, USA)
  2. A Teacup (Elf’s Village, Reykjavík, Iceland)
  3. Barbie Retro 60 STATE COLLEGE FOOTBALL STADIUM BACKDROP Great for DIORAMA (East Sandwich, MA, USA)
  4. The Cereal Bowl from Honey, I Shrunk The Kids (Canada?)
  5. Kibbie Dome (Boise, ID, USA)

Least Good Pennsylvania County

  1. Centre County
  2. Carbon County (Jim Thorpe stuff)
  3. Forest County (useless)
  4. Philadelphia County (also useless)
  5. Greene County (West Virginia wearing a hat)

Worst Tweet

Now, I recognize that my position is somewhat extreme. Many have argued - very convincingly, I might add - that Joe Paterno has, in fact, won at least one game as head football coach. As such, I am willing to compromise. If the Penn State community is willing to meet me halfway, that would be perfect: we could say Joe Paterno won 204.5 games as head football coach, and Beaver Stadium is medium-sized. Centre County can even be treated like one of the lesser collar counties! Claiming anything more than that, though, would just be plain unreasonable.


HOW ARE PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS OFFENSE LIKE MY NEIGHBORS???

THEY CAN’T PICK UP A YARD!!!!


But wait, who is the “Penn State community?” Who is the We of the We Are? I had to think about that one for a minute.

Everyone remembers the riots - the actual, honest-to-goodness riots that did nearly $200,000 in damage - that broke out after Joe Paterno was unceremoniously dismissed. They were bad and dumb, but there's not much point talking about those; they're already nearly five years in the past, and most of the perpetrators have probably long since moved on and started their real lives. They're probably mid-level retail bankers now, or insurance claims agents, or your realtor; they probably own high-quality button down shirts and reliable transportation. They probably only use social media to brag about vacations and be snarky about The Bachelorette. They're probably perfectly fine, unremarkable people. Modern life has already probably crushed them into a small cube. So that's fine, we don't need to talk about them.

But in the weeks and months after the supernova in 2011, I heard the reactions of the Penn State people in my life - smart people, people I admire and/or respect and/or hope still talk to me after this. I remember speaking, in person, to at least one of them about this. And these reactions, they all had the same refrain -

That’s not the real Penn State. Those kids, that rioted - that’s not us. The vigil was the real Penn State. The good stuff, Thon, the things you were talking about earlier, that’s the real Penn State.

Nah.

You, personally, Good Penn State fan, Considerate Human Being, may only be the good stuff. You, Penn State blog type, might have condemned the riots, might have a considered opinion about the Sandusky trial, might have been on the right side of history and have the documents to prove it. But y’all have never been talking about the You, you’ve been talking about the We.

And when you talk about the We, you don’t get the right to exclude the rabble. There are something like two to three million Nittany Lions fans out there. Some are idiots, some are cool. But they’re all in the dang We, and none of you have the right to cut ‘em out. Mobs of teenagers can act dumb, and sports fans get emotional for dumb reasons - a sports fan getting emotional for dumb reasons is my brand - but they’re all Penn State.

And yes, we’ve had riots at Pitt - bunches of ‘em, for stupid reasons. But you will never hear me say (and I have never heard anyone else say) that that wasn’t the true Pitt. It totally was! The guy who got caught between the buildings and ruined someone’s morning burrito run? That’s the true Pitt too! This dude too. What right have I to judge? We’re all idiots, every sports fan of every team is an idiot. I got kicked out of the Pete sober. Imperfections are important and wonderful and we are all stardust. Pretending you’re perfect is the opposite of that. Normal dust.

I mean, look at this:

Yeah, I’m citing a comments section, but this happens all the time - “how could do they do such a thing?” [does such a thing]

But you know what? I get why some PSU fans would be ashamed. If I was getting lumped in with the Paterno truthers, I’d try to distance myself too.


WHY DOESN’T PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS HAVE A WEBSITE?

THEY CAN’T PUT THREE “W’S “ TOGETHER!!!


In 1998, Andrew Wakefield published a controversial paper suggesting a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. This research inspired a great deal of skepticism about vaccines and began a movement of concerned, misinformed parents fighting for a terrible cause. The publication that ran the paper retracted it in 2010, but by then it didn’t matter. Anti-vaccine movements are still around today, wrecking stuff. The source was gone but the believers couldn’t stop, and it’s still frustratingly influential today.

Joe Paterno’s “success with honor” aura and related mantras gave Penn State fans a sense of superiority by association. Penn State rocked some solid 9-3 seasons Paterno, but it was a supreme 9-3, better than every other 9-3, the most luxurious 9-3, because they were earned the right way, without... crimes, or something, I don’t know. Without anti-honor, I guess. And even now, when the legacy of Joe Paterno is much, much murkier than “success with honor,” they don’t stop. They still think that it’s all good, that “Penn State is better” is a self-evident truth. The source is gone but the believers can’t stop. And they’re still frustratingly influential today.

So even though the Penn State of Christmas Present - the modern We - has come out against this part of the fan base, and I hear again and again that the Paterno crowd is a loud minority, that they’ll be gone soon, and that most of the whole is on the side of good taste... I get the sense that that’s not true.

Because y’all said he was the best thing ever about your University in Twenty-By-God-Sixteen. Because the perfect example fell into my lap two weeks before the game:

Because Penn State is going out of its way to demonstrate that they think nothing’s changed.

That’s the Penn State joke. A minority of reasonable human beings trying and failing to ignore the majority who ignore reality. I’m not saying we’re better than you - there’s no point trying to tally up strikes to try to claim some vague moral high ground - but I am saying it’s dumb as hell for you to say you’re better than us.


WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PENN STATE NITANY LION’S FAN AND MOSQUITO’S ?????

MOSQUITOS ARE ONLY ANNOYING IN THE SUMMER !!!!


And sure, I’m a hater. I’m jealous. I’m biased. (My official response: Yes. Duh.) I can’t, I could never, I refuse to understand the special secret formula that makes your school so great.

But even if you totally disregard everything I’ve just put forth, there’s still one thing undeniably, fundamentally wrong with Penn State:

Pennsylvania is a commonwealth, you idiots.

Looking forward to a great game Saturday! Go Panthers! :)

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. This is probably your last chance to follow @N_THEYSTAYTHERE before he’s torn apart by horses, so get on that.