You know you're from Baltimore if you've learned to accept, adore and even defend the Male/Female sculpture outside Penn Station.
You know you're from Baltimore if you've learned to accept, adore and even defend the Male/Female sculpture outside Penn Station. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

You know you’re from Baltimore if . . .

Your family always makes sure to have a bowl of sauerkraut on the Thanksgiving dinner table.


You have at least one relative who always complains that your family has a bowl of sauerkraut on the Thanksgiving dinner table.

You don’t wait until Thanksgiving to eat sweet potato pie.

Somebody says they’re from Utah, but you think “Eutaw” and ask what block.

You get invited to your elementary school reunion and don’t think it’s weird.

You have gone from hating to adoring the 51-foot Male/Female statue outside Penn Station and now defend it against grumpy critics and those who think it needs to be moved somewhere else.

You go to the Sunday farmer’s market under the Jones Falls Expressway and invariably meet someone from work, someone you went to high school with, or someone you’re not speaking to anymore.

You know by now to take a friend or significant other with you to the Sunday farmer’s market: One of you gets in the Blacksauce Kitchen breakfast line while the other goes off to start shopping.

You downloaded the Lime scooter app but haven’t had the courage, or appropriate heels, to get on one yet.

You know, before you go there, that the Mount Royal Tavern is a cash-only bar.

You like taking the bus for the opportunity to save on gas and eavesdrop on others.

You know you’re from Baltimore if . . .

You wish, at some point every day of your life, that the killing will stop, that the police can find a way to break this long cycle of insanity — 300 or more homicides each of the last five years — so that people in Baltimore and its suburbs will stop worrying about violence and at long last see the city rise to its potential.

You want to see smart leaders, the mayor foremost, fully shoulder the responsibility for breaking the cycle of violence, not make excuses and not say really dumb things about the problem.

You know you’re from Baltimore if . . .


You still slip sometimes and call the shopping center in Towson “Eudowood.”

You make sure your affairs are in order before going to Artscape, where the chances of dying from heat stroke always run pretty high.

You know the drill at Attman’s Deli: Stand in line, wait your turn, make eye contact with the sandwich-maker, make friendly conversation with the customer behind you and try to contain your hunger as the aromas and visions of corned beef make the wait excruciating. If the wait gets to be too much to bear, go to Weiss Deli a half-block away.

You wish that some of the big ideas that have been floated in this town could happen in the next 10 years: The Highway To Nowhere turned into a long greenway and park; a pedestrian drawbridge constructed over the Inner Harbor, connecting Pier 5 with the southern rim; a light rail connecting the west side to the east side; State Center and Harborplace completely redeveloped; the Jones Falls Expressway torn down, from Penn Station south, and turned into a grand boulevard.

You know you’re from Baltimore if . . .

Somewhere in your family tree there’s one boy and/or one dog named Brooks.

You miss Adam Jones.

You have fallen in love with the Amazin’ Raven Lamar Jackson, but resist getting caught up in all the Lamarmania because you don’t want to jinx the whole thing.

You wish Jimmy’s restaurant in Fells Point, now for sale again, had never been sold and had never changed.

You enter the weeknight bocce league in Little Italy, knowing full well that your team will lose badly if you have no teammate over 60 named Maria or Lou.

You know that, if you live anywhere near the route of the Baltimore marathon, it’s a good day to try the meatballs at Ikea in White Marsh.

You consider “driving around looking at lights in December” the best cheap date in town.

You’re thankful the city has pledged to enforce the law against cars and trucks blocking downtown intersections, and wish you had the nerve to get out of your car and issue a citizen’s citation to the scofflaws who “block the box” anyway.

You’re hip to the speed camera on 28th Street and derive a certain pleasure watching the speeder in front of you get nailed.

You know you’re from Baltimore if . . .

You wish Michael Bloomberg, billionaire alumnus and generous benefactor of Johns Hopkins University, would invest one more billion in Baltimore. Instead of spending it on a presidential campaign, he could buy, renovate and sell at affordable cost up to 10,000 vacant houses and give the city a huge boost.

Someone asks you where to get great tacos and you send them to Cocina Luchadoras.

The Owl Bar is one of your regular stops, and you’ve memorized the rhyme in the illuminated glass above the bar.

You love beer and give thanks for the astounding number of choices in craft breweries around town.

You know that the legendary journalist H.L. Mencken was a native Baltimorean, and you take pride in knowing that he wrote this in the Baltimore Evening Sun in 1920: “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”