Given a chance to introduce herself and represent her home state, Miss Rhode Island declared: “With the most Dunkin Donuts shops per capita in the nation, I’m wired up and fired up tonight! I’m Miss Rhode Island!”
The comment went viral the moment it came out of her mouth. Saint-Vil may not have won – on this snowy President's Day we are reminded that a Rhode Islander has as good a chance of becoming President of the United States as Miss America – but her pronouncement got more play on the blogosphere and Twittersphere than any of the Other 49 sparkly wannabes. It was also featured in a Miss America sum-up on “The Soup,” the E! network’s pop cultural gumbo of favorite TV moments from the past week.
While some Rhode Islanders cringed at the reference, most national commentators seemed charmed by it. One blogger noted: “(must be Dunkin Donuts Co. is based out of Rhode Island?)”
Uh, no, actually. That’s one of the odd twists in this tale. Dunkin’ Donuts is a Massachusetts chain. But in Rhode Island, travel distances are measured as much in Dunkin’ Donuts as miles. You can’t jog a 5K anywhere in the state without running into one.
How did this happen? Probably because our two favorite things are: 1) Coffee and 2) Anything fried in dough. The recent news that greater Providence (including the Fall River-New Bedford, Mass. region) remains the doughnut capital of the United States, with 25.3 doughnut shops per 100,000 people, surprised no one hereabouts. (Boston came in a distant second.)
But for those who’ve got their crullers in a twist because Miss Rhode Island bragged about our Dunkin’ mania, consider what she might have said:
“Hello, I’m Miss Rhode Island. Our founder’s skeleton was consumed by an apple tree root!”
“I’m from Rhode Island, one of only two states that never ratified the 18th Amendment declaring Prohibition! Isn’t that right, Miss Connecticut?”
“In these difficult economic times, I’m proud to be from Rhode Island, home to the first discount store in the United States!”
“I’m Miss Rhode Island, home to the world’s largest bug! It’s a big blue termite – 58 feet long and 928 times actual termite size! And it lives rent-free on a roof overlooking a highway in Providence!”
“I’m from Rhode Island, where the weather is always changing, which is why we have a corrosion test site at Point Judith where material samples sit exposed for years and are analyzed to determine the toll taken by ocean air and the sun!”
What should Miss Rhode Island be most proud of?