Illinois: The Promised LandCommentary • ISSUE 32•03 • Aug 19, 1997 By Jim Anchower – The Cruise Hola mis amigos! What's goin' down in your part of town? I know, it's been a long time since I've rapped at ya. It's been a long time, been a long time, been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time. Actually, I've been kind of down in the dumps lately, seeing as I've got a cracked differential. Now, ordinarily, my friend, that alone would be major cause for concern. But in this case, it also meant that I had to quit my dream job at the Quad-County Dragaway, because without my wheels, I wouldn't have been able to make the trip unless my mom drove me, and that would not befit a man of my stature. So no more truck pulls for this cruiser. Making matters worse, I had to work at the local Dog 'N' Suds in order to get the cash for the parts and shit. I was the fuckin' fastest cook they had there. You want a chili dog? Wham! There was the tastiest chili dog you ever laid eyes on. Just like that. Only problem was, the boss, old man Fruit, couldn't take the competition on the grill so he canned my ass. Man! Now I know what those guys in 'Nam felt like. Like me, they were fighting as hard as they could for a country that didn't believe in them. Only in my case, I was flipping burgers instead of fighting, and it was old man Fruit that let me down, not the government. But hey, I'll tell you what makes it all worthwhile. You see, I've got a dream, my friends. And that dream is of a place where magic happens. I can only be talking, of course, about Illinois: The Promised Land. I've got a dream of pulling into Decatur with my Jimmobile and peeling rubber all over that place! I'll be a streak across the Illinois state highways! As soon as my car is fixed, and I have some money for gas, that's where you'll find me. Yeah, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Sounds like old Jim's cracked his own differential." Well, it just goes to show you that you ain't been paying attention to me all these years! Now listen up, and I'll explain to you why Illinois kicks royal ass. First off, as everyone knows, the best cruising is done on long stretches of straight road. And where might one find such stretches, my friend? Illinois! Shit, it may just be their number-one export! And the thing is, since it's so flat there, and there's so much corn, there aren't any trees for cops to hide behind! No speeding tickets! Man, you can cruise as much as you want, as fast as you want, whenever you want. Ain't nobody going to tell you that you can't. Second thing about Illinois, let me just say this: "Land of Lincoln"? More like, "Land of Drinkin"! I swear, everybody drinks in that state, dude. You can get beer for next to nothing, provided you can find someone with the proper age credentials to hook you up. Third, in order to cruise properly, you've got to have music. And where do you think the best music comes from? Illinois! After all, it's the home of the Holy Trinity of Rock: REO Speedwagon, Styx and Cheap Trick. I can see it now: I'm driving along on a long, straight stretch of no-pig Illinois highway and start running low on gas. I pull into this rinky-dink gas station, and what should I see but three big-ass tour buses. I get out of my car to check 'em out, and I can hear the strains of "Ridin' The Storm Out" coming from one of the buses. So I'm singing along and who should pop his head out of the bus? None other than Speedwagon lead singer Kevin Cronin. He looks over at me and says, "You rock, man." And all cool-like, I reply, "Thanks, man." Then he says to me, "You wanna rock with us?" And I reply, "Sure." It turns out that Styx and REO and Cheap Trick are all touring together, and they want to bring me along. I'm rocking the free world for the rest of my life! Pretty sweet fantasy, eh? I gotta go now, but remember, hombres: Life in the fast lane is the only lane to live life in. And you can quote me on that. As long as you provide proper attribution, of course.