If you know anything about Rhode Island, you’re probably not surprised that the state’s most popular New Year’s tradition is playing the Rhode Island Lottery’s Million Dollar Raffle. The way it works: Buy a ticket for $20 for a shot at a million bucks, with the drawing to be held on New Year’s Eve.
So while the rest the country watches a ball drop in Manhattan, Rhode Islanders are watching numbered ping-pong balls being sucked out of an air-mix machine during a live telecast on WPRI-12.
A North Providence man won the million-dollar ticket this year (playing 033122). Again, if you know anything about Rhode Island, you’re probably not surprised that he bought the winning ticket at Club Fantasies, a Providence strip club.
Providence, once known as a city of churches, where tolerance for religion in all of its forms and expressions became a stamp of honor, has morphed into the strip-club capital of the North Atlantic, where tolerance for undressing in all of its forms and expressions has become part of the culture. Between the patrons and the strippers, that’s where we get most of our news.
So people don’t even blink anymore when a longtime police chief gets arrested after allegedly chasing down an ex-stripper in an unmarked car, losing her on foot, taking the cash out of the purse she left on the front seat, handing it to a subordinate and telling him to go spend it in Vegas. (The police chief from North Providence is being sued by the ex-stripper from the Satin Doll to the tune of $250,000.)
Rhode Island is living satire. Which is why even though we are grateful The Onion, “America’s Finest News Source,” has introduced hard copies of its newspaper to the state’s café, coffee shop, bar and diner culture, its humor is somewhat diminished by the fact that what actually happens in Rhode Island is funnier than anything a satirist could ever write. Give the paper’s franchisee – Gaspee Publishing in Providence – credit for trying. It chose Buddy Cianci to headline the launch party. The twice-former mayor of Providence, who sold pasta sauce, flicked cigarettes and spent time in a federal prison before embarking on a new career as a media personality, was the perfect choice to introduce America’s premier spoof newsweekly to the irrelevant yet endearing universe that is Rhode Island. Maybe that will change our Onion luck.
The last time the Ocean State got decent play in The Onion was in a story under the April 18, 2007 headline: “Rhode Island Votes to Move 2008 Primary to Tomorrow.” So we might not be the brightest bulbs in the Onionverse, but here’s hoping that Rhode Island, as one of 16 markets now carrying the print edition, will find its way into a few Onion-worthy “breaking news” headlines. Like these:
Rhode Island No Longer the Size of Rhode Island: Experts Blame Global Warming, Faulty Rulers
Scientists Discover Black Hole in Ocean State Job Lot
First Apple Grown from Tree Root of Roger Williams Accidentally Eaten by Connecticut Tourist
Impact from Rhode Island Pothole Causes Rift in Time and Space
Big Blue Bug Topples, Injuring Pogo Dave, Santa George during Morning Commute
Rhode Island Becomes First State to Place Entire Budget on Black 13 and Let it Ride
New York System Wiener Joint Cook Fired for Short-Arming Customers
Tiverton Hermit Believed to be Only Rhode Islander Who Doesn’t Know a Guy
Rhode Island Man Invents Hybrid Car that Runs on Dunkin’
G.I. Joe Confesses to Intimate Relationship with Mysterious, Potato-Shaped Boy Toy
Newport Loses Latest Bid to Host America’s Cup – City Officials Hoping Tourists Throng to First Ever Twelve-Meter Rubber Duck Race
What Rhode Island headline would you like to see in The Onion?