How to tell if you're Italian

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If you're Italian...

  • You know that your country is one of the most beautiful in the world, from the Adriatic to the Tyrrhenian to the Alps.
  • You know the name of the Queen, and may be able to remember the names of a few of your nation's Senators, but are probably unfamiliar with the rulers of nearby nations, or other government officials.
  • You consider yourself a member of your home nation^ first, and an Italian second.
  • If you're male, you know the ins and outs of football (never "soccer"), and are disgusted with Italy's performance in the Castreleon World Games in 2006. You could play better than that! If you're female, you roll your eyes and smile in chagrin whenever the topic of football comes up. Unless you have a taste for the international, you're not familiar with sports like rugby or basketball. You may have played battlegame before, depending on where you live.
  • You get about four weeks of vacation a year, but there are numerous state and national holidays. Your favorite is probably Federation Day.

If you died tonight...

  • Even if you don't attend church regularly, somewhere in your mind you believe that there is a god (and that you are going to heaven). Most people don't talk regularly about religion, except for the southerners near the border with the Papal Sates and those crazy doomsday prophets on the street, although you wouldn't think it extraordinary if it came up. Very few people take the bible literally, so Creationism is not a big issue.
  • Fast food is cheap food. You probably don't eat it very often, if you have a choice.
  • You have a television, and probably listen to the radio regularly. You own a telephone, but if you really need to speak with someone, you visit them or arrange a meeting. Your house is heated in the winter and has its own bathroom. Your laundry machine is in the basement. You don't need to kill your own food, and when you eat your pre-killed food, it's at a table, sitting in chairs, on a wooden or tile floor (maybe covered with a carpet).
  • You don't think of insects, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, etc. as food.
  • Your bathroom has a toilet, a sink, and a shower. Depending on your lifestyle, there may be a bathtub as well. Public bathrooms are divided by sex. If you have to ask, you're going to the bathroom.
  • If the phones don't work, you find someone to complain to. Most of the time, they do.
  • Public transportation is one of the things the state-wide government does well. You wouldn't even consider using it were it otherwise.
  • The state air service is a wonderful thing. You would never travel on a foreign airship given the choice. If you were born before the Second Great War, you fondly reminisce about real airship service.
  • The mutli-party system is the only acceptable form of government. Without a full left-right scale in government, the government wouldn't function. There are a number of major parties, from the Democrats to the Monarchists, and you probably also support one or more of the smaller parties. However, you think that government by coalition is a bit ineffective.
  • Socialism is a serious opinion, one that you sympathize with. The communists and the PPI constitute a serious political force.
  • You don't know many people who aren't white, but those who aren't don't bother you. Some of your favorite actors are African or Asian.
  • You know that all problems could be solved if people put aside their prejudices and worked together. You also know that there's a lot more the state government could be doing to help you.
  • You have great faith in the court system, even if you don't use it. If you were having problems with a customer or business partner, you know that you could take them to court.
  • You respect someone who speaks Comroig, Francien, and Sicilian. You yourself probably don't know more than a little of any of them. You speak your national language, and can get by in the state language (Italian). You only use it when talking to foreigners, though. You would be greatly surprised to meet someone who spoke your national language.
  • A 50% tax rate is on the high side, but not unreasonable. Complaining about it won't help--tax rates haven't changed since the Italy joined the European Federation.
  • Education is free, period. Foreigners are charged a small fee to attend your universities.
  • Most university programs last four years, unless you want a specific job, like a doctor.

Everyone knows that...

  • Mustard comes in a jar, shaving cream in a can, and milk in a bottle. Certainly not a cardboard box--those were banned years ago. You can get milk delivered.
  • The is DD/MM/(YY)YY: 3/10/(19)33. And you know what happened on that day.
  • The Second Great War was a fiasco, and could have ended much sooner if the Federated Kingdoms had mobilized quickly enough. But it ended well, so that's all right. When asked about Italy's contributions, you fall suddenly silent, then change the subject.
  • The decimal point is a dot. What else would you use?
  • Marriages are made for love, not arranged by thid parties. A marriage is only official when witnessed by a judge, but many people also have a traditional wedding ceremony, with a best man and maid of honor (a friend or sibling). Of course, men can only have one wife at a time. If you're male, you were given a crown of olive branches at your wedding by your father (or eldest male relative). If you're female, you received a sprig of mistletoe from your mother (or eldest female relative). It's a quaint little custom that you believe came from the Islands, although you're not quite sure.
  • When speaking Italian, you use the formal voi almost exclusively, unless you are on first name terms with the person you are conversing with. In your native language, you probably use the informal pronoun unless you are speaking to an official or someone you want to make a good impression on.
  • If you're a woman, you can go to the beach topless, but probably don't.
  • Higher-priced hotels are expected to have private bathrooms, while cheap ones may have a communal bathroom in the hallway.
  • If a man has sex with another man, he is probably a homosexual. The implications of this are a subject of constant political debate.
  • You expect that foreign films will be subtitled in your native language, if you see them at all. Dubbed films only appear in Italian, and probably aren't worth seeing anyway.
  • You expect to be able to deal with the government without paying bribes. National, at least. The state government is probably corrupt right up to the top. Not the Queen, of course.
  • A politician who cheats on his/her spouse does not technically need to resign, but will certainly be pressured to do so. You certainly won't vote for him/her again.
  • Most big stores will take your credit card, but you prefer to pay cash, anyway. Most of the time you go to local shops, rather than chain stores.
  • A company can fire just about anyone, as long as it has good reason. What qualifies as "good reason" is a matter for the courts to decide in contested cases.
  • You've never come across crispy bacon.
  • Labour Day is the first of May. It's a state holiday.

Contributions to world civilization

  • You've seen War in the Heavens, Casablanca, and Snow White. If you're young, you may have seen Amalia of Castreleon. However, most of the movies you see are by local filmmakers, and rarely make their way onto the world stage, much to your sadness. Oh, and naturally, you've seen Mare.
  • You're very attached to your national popular music, less so to those of others. You're fond of your local folk group. Some of the more multi-national bands include a Neapolitan minority folk band 'O Sole d''a Acqua from The Marches, Tuscan pop singer Antonia dei Angeli, and the Aostan group Viva Italia, which sings solely in Italian.
  • Fortunately, the Neocapitalists haven't yet been able to privatize the medical system, so you can count on excellent medical care. You're not going to die of cholera or another "Third World" disease. You think dying at 65 would be a tragedy.
  • You use SI units. Feet and pounds? A relic of an unenlightened age.
  • You studied classical history and the history of France and the Italian peninsula, as well as some recent European history. Not so much about the Americas, Asia, or Africa.
  • The military fights military battles, not political ones. You can't name any heads of the armed forces, and probably don't know anyone who is in them. The military doesn't do much these days, anyway.
  • Your country was invaded by foreigners (save the Islands, but they collaborated), but they were driven out.
  • You have multiple choices of most things that you want to buy.
  • You are not a farmer. Nor are any of your relatives.
  • Comics are either in a newspaper or in a book. Magazine-style comic books are only for collectors, and almost never in Italian.
  • Popular talk shows feature popular figures, i.e. actors, singers, authors. Politicians? Boring!
  • You drive on the right side of the road. You stop at red lights when other cars are there, but when you're alone you may not. As a pedestrian, you are a bit wary of crossing in front of stopped cars.
  • Italian is the language of your nation, and no other. This would make you slightly proud if you didn't hate it from the core of your being because you were forced to learn it in school.
  • Your state is a Roman nation, honoring the great Roman government tradition. At the same time, you are extremely proud of your national heritage. You are extremely pleased with the Queen's push for space--Italy has gone unnoticed in the news for too long.
  • You consider the Volkswagen Beetle a small car, but not so small that you wouldn't buy it.
  • The police are not armed. You don't own a gun. Gun ownership is strictly regulated by the national government, another thing they do well.
  • If a woman is plumper than average, it does not help her looks. However, it does suggest that she or her relatives cook well. Maybe it's not so bad after all.
  • The biggest meal of the day is in the evening. You always eat with your family at the table, unless you live alone (rare in and of itself).
  • For the most part, you feel fine around the city at night. There are some seedier areas of the big cities that you might want to avoid, but other than that it's fine.

Why can't...

  • Your kind of people aren't heard enough in the Senate, what with the Democrats and the Monarchists yelling at each other.
  • You wouldn't expect inflation and unemployment to be high (over 10-15%) at the same time.
  • You don't care what kind of family someone comes from.
  • When a couple dies, their estate is divided among their children, unless their will says otherwise.
  • Ballet is an elite form of entertainment, but if you are middle class you see opera once in a while, and everyone sees plays.
  • Christmas is in the winter. If you're Christian (a fair guess), you spend it at home with your family. Most gifts are given on December 25th, but you spend the two weeks before then in a festive mood, so you probably get and give some gifts before then as well.
  • You probably think that religion has some power over its followers, but you think you are not affected. You can't imagine having a state religion (who needs one anyway? Most people are Roman Rite already).
  • You probably can't name more than five or six European heads of state, although you'd do better on capital cities. On the other hand, you haven't studied them since you were in school.
  • You're vaguely familiar with the writings of Tolkien, as well as the works of the national poet, Dante Alighieri. They still read The Divine Comedy in school. Parts of it, anyway. Of course, you also know Tintin.
  • You've left a message at the beep, but only in emergencies. Like when your father was dying.
  • You consider being a taxi driver a respectable job, especially if you know your way around the city. It's a great chance to be around people, too.
  • For some people, Welfare and Unemployment payments are the only way they can live, and you would not deny that. However, you wish the government could solve the problems that necessitate those, rather than just throwing money at the problem. You don't know what the elderly would do without Social Security, so you wouldn't want to get rid of it.
  • To be a doctor, you need to take more classes and probably attend a special university.
  • There are too many lawyers. People should get practical jobs.

Space and time

  • If you have an appointment, you try to be on time, but you don't worry unless you're more than a half hour late. If so, you apologize, but you know that anyone who won't wait half an hour to meet you doesn't really want to anyway.
  • You expect people to be close enough that you could pat them on the back. Farther than that shows that they're scared of you. Too close makes you a bit uncomfortable, but you know you can just ask them to back away a bit.
  • If you have a little time to kill (a few minutes), you probably start humming the latest Antonia dei Angeli song. Or whatever other band you like.
  • You should be able to bargain for anything. For some reason, foreigners seem not to understand this, but haggling is supposed to be fun for everyone involved (and a way to save some money).
  • Showing up at someone's house is the norm. Sometimes you may phone ahead if you're planning a long visit (i.e. overnight) or if you are not particularly close, but otherwise you usually just show up, usually bringing food or another gift. You'd only invite someone over if you were specifically planning an event or a meal.
  • When you're negotiating anything, you are pretty blunt. You don't want to understate things or pay too much attention to status. At the same time, though, you're wary of being too blunt, lest you offend people.
  • If you have a business appointment or an interview, you expect that it will be private unless otherwise stated. It probably won't take more than an hour or so, but you won't be inordinately bothered if it does.

^ Throughout this article, nation refers to Italy's constituents, e.g. Tuscany or the Metropolitan Duchies. State refers to Italy as a whole.

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