By on November 22, 2016

A snarky reference guide for people who are already convinced they’re Jacksonites.

A real, plaid-wearing local offers sound advice on how to fit in. (Photo: Andrew Munz)

A real, plaid-wearing local offers sound advice on how to fit in. (Photo: Andrew Munz)

JACKSON HOLE, WY – Greetings, humble aspiring local! Welcome to Jackson Hole.

You’re probably sitting in a coffee shop devouring this current issue of Planet Jackson Hole, or possibly even reading it online, ruminating at its majesty, its uniqueness, its grace.

“Why, this paper is quite interesting!” you might say in an amplified voice to a full room. The locals who overhear you might grimace, as they do, and will quickly share their coveted opinion.

“Psssh. Nobody reads The Planet...”  (Note how cool they looked when they said this!)

But alas! You knew nothing of this flippant perspective. How could these locals be so dismissive of such an illustrious paper full of limit-pushing reporting and opinion pieces? Without even realizing it, you have encountered the archetypal conundrum each Jackson newcomer (and burgeoning young refuge-bound elk) must face:

Do I join the herd or become my own trophy buck?

You’ll quickly learn that Jackson celebrates conformity and adaptation, and will welcome you with open arms if you follow the rules, compromise your eccentricities, and don’t get too weird about it. If you’ve rolled into town with a framed master’s degree, put that shit away. Sell it at a garage sale. Because your illustrious educational success, while important in other places, will alienate possible new friends and employers who might find your overachieving nature off-putting, and frankly, pretentious. I mean, really. Who the hell do you think you are?

The less educated you are, the more the human resources person will have to talk to you about before they hire you anyway. Your conversation might drift from, “How long do you plan on staying in Jackson?” to “Where in Oregon are you from?” to “Oh, I have friends from Eugene. Do you know Trey Mortenson?” to “That’s amazing, we grew up together, how’s he doing?” to “Welcome to the JHMR crew, man, we should hang out,” and ultimately ending with a very formal handshake.

When you tell people you work for the mountain (the other one’s a hill, apparently), you’ll find that just admitting this opens the door to multiple friend gatherings. And while you might have the impulse to shave beforehand, don’t. Because you’ll quickly find that there’s no point in spending tons of time trying to impress anyone in Jackson. They will look at you and conclude that you won’t stick around long enough to make any real impact. And soon, after a week when you start calling yourself a “Local From Jackson,” you’ll look at them the exact same way. (Apathy and skepticism are the main ingredients in every Jackson friendship.)

“So, you gonna stay when the season’s over, or…?” you might inquire.

This inflated sense of self-worth is paramount to your longevity in Jackson, and is just one of many elements you will need to consider yourself a local. Once you’ve convinced yourself of this, you’re going to need to update your wardrobe and blend in a bit more on the outside. It’s very confusing to the general population if you say you’re a local, but you don’t look like a local (especially if you’re a minority or an immigrant; no, Southern is not an ethnicity). Off to the secondhand stores, where you will acquire the wrinkled, flannel skins shed from departed locals who went back home or to grad school. Pick up that worn beanie as well, and the three pairs of Carhartts (hey, not just for dudes anymore!).

Now that you’ve transformed yourself, you’ll realize how simple it will be to beef up your number of Facebook friends, not because people actually want to be friends, but because your profile picture looks like 54 percent of the rest of the Jackson population, and therefore people will add you by mistake thinking you’re someone else, especially if your first name is Ben, Kelly, Matt, Ryan, Sara(h), or Ben.

Speaking of names, when you acquire a dog please choose from one of the following options: Cache, Luke, Dakota, Diego, or Zeke for males; and Stella, Mia, Grace, Zoë, or Shadow for females. If you don’t have time to train them, it’s OK. If he/she is “friendly,” then no further training is needed. Also, your friends will have no patience for your cats, so don’t even think about it.

By following these simple guidelines, you’ll be a local in no time. I would tell you to share this article with your friends, but, you know, it’s a Planet article so you might just want to keep it to yourself. PJH

About Andrew Munz

You must be logged in to post a comment Login