I was born and raised in NE Florida, just south of Jacksonville near St. Augustine. The best days of the first half of my life happened there. When I was 13, my family moved west, out of state. It’s not an easy transition, removing a teenager from the fertile soil of their childhood.

I have since moved back to Florida many times. And left many times. Mostly for opportunity. Because Florida is in my blood, I’d move back there tomorrow for the weather and natural resources. But then there’s the part about ripping my own daughters from their home soil here in Charlotte. Still, I miss Florida. I miss the water. I miss the breeze. We vacation there a lot. In fact, back in 1st grade when a teacher asked our youngest daughter where she was from, she replied, “Florida. I think.”

I know what you’re saying, “Florida? There are nothing but crazies down there.” But it wasn’t always like this, I assure you.

When I was a boy, there were no crazies in Florida. Everyone was just right. But then the world started becoming a smaller place as more and more people started visiting the state. And so what happens when you live in the cold north and you take a trip south in February to this warm, beautiful place that’s surrounded by water—you don’t want to leave. Disney World was like a death knell to Florida’s sanity.

In the mid-70s, when I was about 10, I started noticing more and more Yankee families move into our neighborhood. And not just Navy Yankees, either. Normal families from Michigan and Wisconsin and New York who had funny accents and alabaster skin, but who couldn’t resist the lure of sunshine.

A generation later, it has become screamingly evident that migrating northerners to warmer climates is a big mistake. It’s basic biology, really.

As a native Floridian, I love the heat. Give me 90 with a sea breeze for 300 days out of the year, and I’m in heaven. My biology is properly calibrated for that kind of heat. But it’s not for everyone.

If there’s one state other than Florida where the crazies seem to outnumber the normals, it’s Arizona. And what do these two states have in common besides hosting MLB Spring Training sites? Heat. Lots of heat.

The bottom line is that Yankees can’t handle the heat. Not sustained heat, anyway. Years of living under the blazing sun affects the brain, if you’re not built for it.

And so, boys and girls, if you’ve ever wondered why Florida is filled with crazies–it’s because of the damn Yankees.

Thanks a lot, y’all.



Jim Mitchem

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The Villainous Spring

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.