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.