This is going to sound not just East-Coastish but elitist and snotty. But facts are facts. The special community of shoppers in the Expo Bldg. are a Midwestern subphylum commonly if unkindly known as Kmart People. Farther south they’d be a certain fringe-type of White Trash. Kmart People tend to be overweight, polyestered, grim-faced, toting glazed unhappy children. Toupees are the movingly obvious shiny square-cut kind, and the women’s makeup is garish and often asymmetrically applied, giving many of the female faces a kind of demented look. They are sharp-voiced and snap at their families. They’re the type you see slapping their kids in supermarket checkouts. They are people who work at like Champaign’s Kraft and Decatur’s A. E. Staley and think pro wrestling is real. I’m sorry, but this is all true. I went to high school with Kmart People. I know them. They own firearms and do not hunt. The aspire to own mobile homes. They read the Star without even a pretense of contempt and have toilet paper with little off-color jokes printed on it.
—“Getting Away from Already Pretty Much Being Away From It All”*
Nothing like David Foster Wallace* to articulate the Midwest in an essay I gleefully read on my flight back from it. That’s right, I spent my weekend living it up in Oklahoma City/Stillwater/Kansas City, witnessing the Giants’ 27-16 victory over the Chiefs first-hand at Arrowhead Stadium.