By G.M. Donley

The questions below were developed by a “team of experts” to quantify Rust Belt literacy. Literacy has been shown to be an important word to mention. Sometimes you might select more than one answer.

  1. What does the term “Rust Belt” mean?
    ▢ A. What’s left in the bathtub after a steel worker takes a shower
    ▢ B. The region where much of the world’s finest rust is produced
    ▢ C. A condition that occurs due to the simultaneous oxidation of a continuous line of ferrous objects
    ▢ D. Once upon a time, Americans prospered by making things instead of making bets
  1. Why do people in your area seem to voice such negative perceptions about their own region?
    ▢ A. Because it sucks
    ▢ B. In order to lower their expectations so much that they are happy if anything nice ever happens.
    ▢ C. Because every time somebody moves farther away, they rationalize their decision by trashing the place they moved away from
    ▢ D. To keep assholes from moving here
  1. Which of the following counties straddles a continental divide?
    ▢ A. Portage County, Ohio
    ▢ B. Chautauqua County, New York
    ▢ C. Cheyenne County, Colorado
    ▢ D. La Porte County, Indiana
  1. You have lived in an inner-ring suburb for 10 years. In the space of a few months, the elderly longtime residents on either side of your house move out, and both houses are put up for sale. You tell a few friends who are house-hunting, but they dismiss your neighborhood because “the taxes are too high” and “you can’t use the schools.” What do you do?
    ▢ A. Sell immediately and move to an outer-ring suburb
    ▢ B. Keep telling friends until you find someone who gets it
    ▢ C. What’s an inner ring suburb?
    ▢ D. Complain about the government
  1. People often cite “high taxes” as a reason they moved from a city or inner ring suburb to an outer suburb. What is the definition of “high taxes?”
    ▢ A. Any amount of taxes
    ▢ B. Taxes collected from me that are not spent on me
    ▢ C. $6,000 a year based on a 3% tax rate on a 2,000-square-foot 1920s home valued at $200,000 in a leafy inner ring city
    ▢ D. $6,000 a year based on a 2% tax rate on a 1,500-square-foot 1990s townhouse house valued at $300,000 in an outlying cul-de-sac development
  1. The quest to be in a place with “good schools” is often cited as a reason to move from a city or inner ring suburb to an outer suburb. What is a “good school?”
    ▢ A. A school where kindergartners score in the 95th percentile on the state report card
    ▢ B. A school in an area that’s too expensive for low-income families
    ▢ C. A school that excludes students likelier to get bad grades
    ▢ D. A school that is inclusive, serves a wide range of incomes, challenges advanced students and catches up students who are behind, and prepares people for college or a career, no matter the circumstances where they start out
  1. Which city besides Cleveland has been referred to as “the mistake on the lake?”
    ▢ A. Erie
    ▢ B. Sochi
    ▢ C. Memphis
    ▢ D. Las Vegas
  1. Which Ohio is the real Ohio?
    ▢ A. Connecticut Ohio
    ▢ B. West Virginia Ohio
    ▢ C. Indiana Ohio
    ▢ D. Hang on Sloopy
  1. Which river does what? (write the matching letter in the space)
    A. Niagara
    B. Cuyahoga
    C. Chicago
    D. Maumee

__ Turns green once a year because of toxic algae
__ Turns green once a year because of St. Patrick
__ Falls off a cliff
__ Flows south, gets confused, flows north

  1. Match the song to the region (write the matching letter in the space)
    A. Search and Destroy
    B. Seasons in the Sun
    C. Feelings
    D. We Didn’t Start the Fire

__ Bible Belt
__ Rust Belt
__ Sun Belt
__ Sansa Belt

  1. A coastal ignoramus refers to your area as “flyover country.” Your response?
    ▢ A. Crawl back into your double-wide and watch The Bachelorette
    ▢ B. Procure a rocket launcher
    ▢ C. Well, goll-durn, was that you up thar in that aereoplane I seen yesterday?
    ▢ D. You didn’t hear the ignoramus because you were actually doing something productive
  1. Why did the Rust Belt economy suffer beginning in the 1970s?
    ▢ A. Scum-sucking unions
    ▢ B. Scum-sucking corporate profiteers
    ▢ C. We’re not worthy
    ▢ D. You’ll have that from time to time
  1. Which team is the most Rust Belty?
    ▢ A. Cleveland Indians
    ▢ B. Pittsburgh Steelers
    ▢ C. Manchester United
    ▢ D. Budapest Honvéd FC
  1. Which is worst for your health?
    ▢ A. Cleveland Cavaliers
    ▢ B. Chicago Cubs
    ▢ C. Buffalo Wings
    ▢ D. Detroit Lions
  1. Which are the best dill pickles?
    ▢ A. Hermann’s Pickles, Garrettsville, Ohio
    ▢ B. Hermann’s Pickles, Garrettsville, Ohio
    ▢ C. Hermann’s Pickles, Garrettsville, Ohio
    ▢ D. Hermann’s Pickles, Garrettsville, Ohio
  1. Is the Rust Belt the same as the Snow Belt?
    ▢ A. Is a cow pelt the same as a cheese melt?
    ▢ B. Stay in your lane, idiot
    ▢ C. Correlation is not causality
    ▢ D. Salt accelerates oxidation
  1. Your 1974 LTD rusts out so bad that your shoe keeps scraping on the pavement. What do you do?
    ▢ A. More plywood, duct tape
    ▢ B. Sue the city
    ▢ C. Give the car to your kid
    ▢ D. Pour paint through the hole while driving and try to write your name in the parking lot of your local dead mall.
  1. What are highways for?
    ▢ A. Temporary jobs for cement contractors
    ▢ B. Force farmers to sell to developers
    ▢ C. Give a financial leg up to distance commuters
    ▢ D. Divert storm water into sewer system
  1. What is the origin of Lake Erie?
    ▢ A. Early Irish immigrants misspelled Eire
    ▢ B. It was part of Vincent Price’s private estate
    ▢ C. A giant melted block of ice
    ▢ D. Part of WPA dam and waterfall project
  1. Do the math: cold Alberta Clipper + warm lake =
    ▢ A. A cocktail popular in the 1890s
    ▢ B. Three feet of snow in Chardon, Ohio
    ▢ C. Three feet of snow in Traverse City, Michigan
    ▢ D. Three feet of snow in Chautauqua, New York
  1. Which one was NOT the governor of a major Rust Belt state?
    ▢ A. Rod Blagojevich
    ▢ B. George Voinovich
    ▢ C. Ivan Denisovich
    ▢ D. Grover Cleveland
  1. Match the city to the concept: (write the matching letter in the space)
    A. Chicago
    B. Las Vegas
    C. Youngstown
    D. New Orleans

__ Punctuated equilibrium
__ Idiopathic entropy
__ Dystopic choreography
__ Structural fallacy

  1. Where is which rusty industrialist buried? (write the matching letter in the space)
    A. John D. Rockefeller
    B. Henry Ford
    C. Andrew Carnegie
    D. J. P. Morgan

__ Detroit, Michigan
__ Hartford, Connecticut
__ Cleveland, Ohio
__ North Tarrytown, New York

  1. Which inventor was not from Ohio?
    ▢ A. Thomas “light bulb” Edison
    ▢ B. Orville “airplane” Wright
    ▢ C. Garrett “3-way traffic light” Morgan
    ▢ D. John “electronic computer” Mauchly
  1. Which is the most spine-tingling?
    ▢ A. Cedar Point Millennium Force
    ▢ B. Smokey Robinson falsetto
    ▢ C. Chicago Symphony brass
    ▢ D. Cleveland Orchestra strings
  1. Where does rust come from?
    ▢ A. We’ll talk about that when you’re older
    ▢ B. Asteroids
    ▢ C. Aphids
    ▢ D. Unions
  1. No, really, what causes rust?
    ▢ A. Lack of sleep
    ▢ B. Not practicing
    ▢ C. The Gulf of Mexico
    ▢ D. The salt mines under Lake Erie
  1. Come on, seriously.
    ▢ A. We prefer to call it a patina. How about the “Patina Belt” from now on?
    ▢ B. It’s nature’s way of saying gimme back that iron
    ▢ C. Make steel, then add oxygen + water + time
    ▢ D. Electrons taking off for the suburbs

1.     A=0, B=1, C=2, D=3
2.     A=0, B=1, C=2, D=3
3.     A=1, B=1, C=0, D=1
4.     A=0, B=1, C=0, D=0 [MB1]
5.     A=0, B=1, C=0, D=0
6.     D=3 (A, B, and C are all the same)
7.     A=1, B=-1 (yes mistake, but not lake), C= -2 (river, not lake), D= -3 (city with no water=mistake)
8.     D=3
9.     1 point for each correct: A=falls off, B=flows south, C=St Pat, D=algae
10.   1 point for each correct: A=rust[MB2] , B=Sun, C=Sansa, D=Bible
11.  A=0, B=0, C=0, D=1
12.  A=0, B=0, C=0, D=1
13.  A=1, B=1, C=1, D=1
14.  A=1, B=1, C=1, D=1
15.  A=1, B=2, C=2, D=1
16.  A=nonsequitor, B=basic driving skills, C=true, D=1
17.  A=1, B=1, C=1, D=1
18.   A=1, B=1, C=1, D=1
19.   A=0, B=0, C=2, D=0
20.  A=0, B=1, C=1, D=1
21.  A=0, B=0, C=1, D=0
22.  1 point for each correct: A=Dystopic choreography, B=Structural fallacy, C=Idiopathic entropy, D=Punctuated equilibrium
23.   1 point for each correct:  A=Cleveland, B=Detroit, C=N. Tarrytown, D=Hartford
24.   A=0, B=0, C=1, D=0 (Morgan lived in Cleveland but was born in Kentucky)
25.  A=1, B=1, C=1, D=1
26.  A=0, B=0, C=0, D=0
27.  A=1, B=1, C=1, D=1
28.  A=1, B=1, C=1, D=1

Your total:
0-20: You should probably stay in Los Angeles
20-54: Thank you for flying over
55 or more: You’re hopeless, so you fit right in here

G. M. Donley is a Cleveland Heights-based writer, photographer, and designer.

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