December 9, 2002

What Exit?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:31 pm

This question has become quite popular with comedians. You know who I mean. The guy who bounds onto the stage, picks up the microphone stand and swings it back and forth like one of those metal detectors, while he asks the audience, “Hey, are you guys having a good time? Great. I’m happy to be here tonight. Where are you guys from?” He hopes that some glutton for punishment in the audience will say, “New Jersey,” so he can say, “New Jersey? What exit?” Of course, what “Shecky” is referring to are exit numbers on the Garden State Parkway (here, it’s just “the Parkway”) or the New Jersey Turnpike (here, “the Turnpike”). On one level, we realize that we’ve just heard a joke because some folks are laughing. However, we’re not laughing because our first instinct is to answer what we understand to be a legitimate question.. So, amidst the laughter of those not from here, one hears numbers being shouted by audience members, “145! 151! 82! 15W!”

These numbers tell us a wealth of information. “145” means Newark/East Orange. “151” means Nutley/Bloomfield. “82” means Toms River/Seaside Heights, and “15W” (the “W” gives us a clue that this is a Turnpike Exit) means Kearny/Harrison. In addition, because the exit numbers are keyed to mile markers, we know approximately where in the state a particular location is. So, if you live off Exit 145 and you are headed for Exit 100, you know you will have to drive south for approximately 45 miles. It’s simple. No baloney. We like it.

Join me in a virtual road trip on the Parkway and other New Jersey roads. Unlike most trips in Jersey, this one is toll free. Oh yeah. One other thing. Here, if someone passes you on the right, it means that you are going too friggin’ slow for the lane you are in. MOVE TO THE RIGHT. They just don’t seem to get this in New York or Pennsylvania.

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