Place item was collected
Draper, Utah. Cowabunga Bay
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Myself, Cy Robinson. Sired and raised in southeast Idaho in the town 11,000 strong of Blackfoot. 19 Male, current college student, Caucasian, second oldest of 4 with two parents and a special needs adult who is just as much family as anyone else. No religious ties currently but raised LDS, currently unemployed but seasonal summer work at Cowabunga Bay Waterpark in Draper, Utah, 4 years strong. I live and work in Utah in the summers with my great Aunt and Uncle. I just declared my major as Communication Studies and English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in folklore. I went to high school and had lots of “friends” but only a small group of 4 that I considered my own friends.
I had worked at Cowabunga Bay, also known as “The Bay”, for 3 years at the time of this story. My coworkers would give me grief about being born in raised in Idaho and I fed the fire with outlandish stories of my high school and the demographically homogenous group that attended it. The jokes were always meant to make fun of me but I often ended up making the most outlandish “offensive to Idahoan” jokes.
The conversation arose early morning as all my morning coworkers were strolling in to start their day and a coworker who I though was too young to drive told me that she had in fact drove herself to work. I asked her how old you have to be to drive In Utah and she said 16 and I said, I’d been driving for a year and a half at that point in Idaho. They all gave a sigh of humor and then asked if you really have to be 14.5 years old to start driving. I said yeah, and if you think that’s ridiculous you should hear what we have to do to get Idaho citizenship. I thought quickly and then said, “yeah, to get Idaho citizenship you have to eat a raw potato like an apple. We are the potato state.” My coworkers chuckled in disbelief and I asked if they though it was kidding, I kept up the lie the rest of the summer and the following year senior coworkers would tell the new people that’s how you got your Idaho citizenship and I backed them up on it.
I created this belief in my circle of work friends because I greatly dislike living in Idaho and I wanted to make the most outlandish claims about the random things that happen in Idaho. I told the lie in all seriousness to convince my coworkers of its validity. I would have laughed if it was a joke, wouldn’t I have? I have persisted the belief just because I find it amusing to toy with my coworkers in harmless ways, they probably though, have a skewed perception of what Idaho really is like, and that’s just fine with me. I love telling this story as if the actuality of it isn’t too far from genuine. Like you may low-key think that it may be something you have to do, or some sort of cultural thing, if not an institutionalized rite of passage.
Semester and year
Robinson, Cy, "How To Gain Idaho Citizenship" (2017). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 410.