Monday, July 11, 2011

The Northside Syndrome

I live in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on the northside, just a few blocks from St. Peter’s Catholic church. I have lived on the northside of Kenosha for the last eleven years. I am a Northsider. Due to the subject of this blog, I felt it necessary to disclose that fact. The topic that I will be covering is serious in nature and is one that people need to be made aware of. Today’s blog pertains to the solemn issue of the Northside Syndrome.

While the official title Northside Syndrome has been recognized for over 30 years, it has in existence even longer. A gentleman, who for security reasons, will be referred to simply as Munk, coined the designation, Northside Syndrome sometime around 1979.

NS (Northside Syndrome) is an unfortunate disorder that has afflicted numerous residents of the northside of Kenosha, people commonly known as Northsiders. Luckily, this wretched malady does not plague all Northsiders; there many are who are able to lead happy and relatively normal lives.

It is fairly easy to detect someone suffering from NS. The most obvious symptom is that the afflicted person is extremely frugal. They are thrifty. People with NS are exceptionally prudent economically. You could say that they are miserly. Simply put, people smitten with NS are very cheap.

Fortunately, I personally do not suffer from NS. However, my life has been touched by many that do. It isn’t pleasant, but over the years I have learned to cope with it.

My first contact with NS victims was while working at Koos Inc. Being the kind soul that I am, I routinely gave a co-worker a ride to and from work on a daily basis. Not once during this time did this person ever offer me a couple of bucks for gas. Even the crusty Arno Schubert treated me to an occasional 6-pack when I gave him a lift.

But not this person, he was stricken with NS. That is why, after receiving free transportation for several years, he was able to purchase a brand new Chevrolet Monte Carlo and he paid with cash. Remarkably, he expected me to continue giving him rides to and from work. I did not. 

Evidently, delusion is another symptom of NS.

When I became manager of the legendary 400 Club softball team I had to deal with more people with NS. Once again, they were easy to pick out, even with softball players.

After a game they would be content to drink inexpensive tap beer, but as soon as someone offered to buy a round, that quickly changed. Suddenly tappers were no longer good enough, now it was a bottle of Heineken or Löwenbräu

NS had once again reared its ugly head.

Regrettably, my teammates that were tormented with NS also had friends with the disease. These individuals never patronized the historic 400 Club tavern unless there was a beer bust or if the team had won a tournament. There had to be the promise of free beer or you didn’t see them at the 400 Club. 

NS can be very polarizing.

Now that I no longer work at Koos Inc. or manage the 400 Club, my encounters with NS sufferers have decreased exponentially. However, the fact remains that this devastating ailment still runs rampant among the residents of the northside of Kenosha.

Recently I was reminded of this all so grim truth when a Northsider contacted me. He had heard that I had written a book and via email, congratulated me.

Being only a casual acquaintance, I was somewhat surprised, but appreciative nonetheless. It was a nice gesture. Then I received a second email.

In this correspondence he asked me how he could get a copy of my book, Some Kenosha Softball. I told him that it was available at Sister Act on Roosevelt Road and at the Kenosha History center. I thought to myself, cool, another sale!

Not so fast! I had forgotten about NS and hadn’t even considered that he might be a victim of this insidious disability. A third email from this person made me acutely aware that this was indeed the case.

The email informed me that he didn’t want to buy a book, per se. No, rather he wanted to trade me a copy of some poem he had written about the Green Bay Packers in exchange for the book that I had worked on for over three years. I graciously declined his offer.

Again, I was reminded; NS victims are not only cheap, but can also be delusional.

The Northside Syndrome, it’s all too real and affects many unsuspecting individuals. If you have friends or family that reside on the northside of Kenosha, look for the warning signs.

If they are overly tight-fisted and even the least bit delusional in their requests, take caution. They have probably been stricken with NS and your hard-earned money is in peril. You have been warned, so please be careful.

Until next time…from the booth.


Reggie said...

Now, since I am a displaced eternal Northsider, I must inject a rebuttal when I see fit. While I admit that many Northsiders are frugal, I would never call them cheap. I refer to the ever filled barstools at such fine establishments like The Parkview, Stan's, Cheers, Stoneface, TG's,and Pete's. Need I go on. While these blue collar, hard working, PBR drinking folks may only suck up beer when it is happy hour, they always "get a round" for the other patrons around the bar. A chip or shot glass is put in front of you as a holder until you are ready. This is Northside economics at it's best. Buy a round of beers for about $10 and drink for 2 hours. Unfortunately, I have yet to witness this monetary commoraderie at Sunnyside, Brewmaster's, or Wine Knot. I have seen it take place at Bob's Grandview but that was with the Hoff and Benhoff brothers trying to spread good cheer to all of our cosmopolitian swilling Southside compadres. Thought for the day: Think about buying your barstool neighbor a beer the next time you have a chance. There is still hope for civility in our great city, one free drink at a time.

Anonymous said...

I never realized this syndrome was more than pride for either attending Bradford HS vs Tremper VS.
I was born and raised on the southside. Northsiders were viewed as snobby.
Southsiders often bought round after round of drinks for their buddies at the neighborhood tavern. We often thought we earned interest at our local establishments.
I am now kinda a Northsider and enjoy the anonymity. LOL!! Thnx, Lynda

Reggie said...


I just had to comment. Northsiders are snobby? This must be tongue in cheek. Southsiders have always been labeled the Allendale Snobbatorium crowd. Northsiders may be frugal as Paul would state but snobby, not even close.

Leplume said...

I'm a Northsider who lived briefly on the Southside before making my way back to the Northside. On the Northside, I knew and know now almost all of the people who live in my neighborhood. On the Southside, I barely knew the person next door and that wasn't for lack of trying! They just didn't want to get to know us!

And I must a Northsider, there is nothing that compares to the Union Park bar crawl. Start at one place and you can get to all of them in one night and drink free if you work it right! Reggie is one round of drinks in a Northside bar and you'll drink for free the rest of the night! LOL This, of course, was a much handier function of the Northside when I was in college and did that crawl. These days I'm usually home and asleep. Go figure!

Anonymous said...

Listen, mister, if your intent was to set a match to the tinderbox, you have obtained your objective correlative. As the originator of "Northeside Pride - Bringing It Back - Keeping It Strong", I take great exception to the allegation that we don't buy a drink when it's called for, and more, and I have a hole in my back account to show for it. Wait, could it be that I actually drank all of those beers that I paid for? Well, maybe, but if I did, it was money well spent and if I didn't, it was money well spent. What I'm saying is, is that once you're at the bar, it's time to have a good time, which is what I did tonight - 8 cows at $3 per and 3 rounds of it beer for the rest of the team at 1$ per. I can't help it if they have no taste. The tab will come due in the seventh level of the inferno. Oh, there I go, getting all literary on everybody. Nightmare says, hello. I let him pitch the last 3 innings of tonight's victory. Do I have to drink another beer out of Fred's shoe?

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

Reggie and Lynda, please play nice! Mary Elizabeth, you didn't have to tell me that you were a Northsider!

Kool Papa, wasn't Weyker a Northsider? And didn't he try to put quarters in that strippers G-string at the airport lounge? I rest my case; he obviously suffers from NS.

Anonymous said...

maybe you schould write about Somers. now there is a alien country.

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

How is Kenny doing these days?