There must be quite a large number of Hoosiers in our community who have been transplanted from other states and who do not yet understand the Hoosier culture. Here are some of its guidelines, which native Hoosiers already understand but who also could bear their repetition.

1. Know the state casserole. The state casserole consists of canned green beans, Campbell's cream of mushroom soup and dried onions. You can safely take this casserole to any social event and know that you will be accepted.

2. Get use to food festivals. The Indiana General Assembly, in an effort to grow bigger athletes, passed legislation years ago requiring every incorporated community to have at least one festival per year dedicated to a high-fat food. It is your duty as a Hoosier to attend these festivals and buy at least one elephant ear.

3. Know the geography. Of Florida, that is. There are Hoosiers who couldn't tell you where Evansville is but they know the exact distance from Fort Myers to Bonita Springs. That's because all Hoosiers go to Florida in the winter. Or plan to when they retire. Or are related to retired Hoosiers who have a place in Sarasota. Hoosiers consider Florida to be the Lower Peninsula of Indiana. If you can't afford to spend the winter in Florida, use the state excuse, which is that you stay here because you enjoy the change of seasons. You'll be lying, but that's OK. We've all done it.

4. Speaking of Indiana weather, wear layers or die. The thing to remember about Indiana seasons is that they can occur at any time. We have spring-like days in January and wintry weekends in October. April is capable of providing a sampling of all four seasons in a single 24-hour period. For these reasons, Indiana is the Layering Capital of the World. Even layering, however, can pose danger. Golfers have been known to dress for hypothermia and end up dead of heat stroke because they couldn't strip off their layers of plaid fast enough on a changeable spring morning.

5. Don't take Indiana place names literally. If a town has the same name as a foreign city - Valparaiso and Versailles, for example - you must not pronounce them the way the foreigners do, lest you come under suspicion as a spy. Also, East Enterprise has no counterpart on the west side of the state. South Bend is in the north. North Vernon is in the south and French Lick isn't what you think either.

7. You gotta know sports. In order to talk sports with obsessive fans in Indiana, you have to be knowledgeable on the three levels - professional, college and high school. The truly expert Indiana sports fan knows not only the name of the hotshot center at Abercrombie and Fitch High School, but also what colleges he's interested in, how much he bench-presses, who he took to the prom and what he got on his biology quiz last week.

9. The best way to sell something in Indiana is to attach the term "Amish" to it. The product need not be genuinely Amish.



Things you wouldn't know without movies:

It is always possible to park directly outside any building you are visiting.

A detective only can solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.

If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you bump into will know all the steps.

Most laptop computers are powerful enough to override the communication systems of any invading alien civilization.

It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts. Your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessors.

When a person is knocked unconscious by a blow to the head, they will never suffer a concussion or brain damage.