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Harvey Brock, Published October 19 2012

Brock: You know you’re living in a boomtown if ...

Who knew that North Dakota is experiencing an oil boom? How do you know you are living in a boomtown without waiting for USA Today or the L.A. Times to tell you?

With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, you might be living in a boomtown if:

• Unemployment is an election issue in the other 49 states, and if you can’t find a job here, you don’t want one or can’t read.

• Merchant signs broadcast how they need help instead of telling you how they can help you, and preference is given to prospective employees who brought housing with them.

• Fast-food workers and maids earn more than teachers. You can rent an apartment or motel room cheaper in the Big Apple, despite having more motels than churches.

• Your neighbor’s house guest hasn’t moved his RV for three years, and your other neighbor has nine pickups parked in front of his two-bedroom house.

• Subdivisions spring up overnight, and folks are still living in their cars.

• City and county zoning meetings require a dinner and supper break.

• You can’t find a dry cleaner but coin-operated laundromats stay busy 24/7.

• Guns, bottled water and energy drinks don’t fly off the shelves because they don’t hang around long enough to make it to the shelves.

• You get a U.S. geography lesson counting license plates while driving through the Wal-Mart parking lot.

• There is no such thing as fast food, and ordering a cheeseburger would be easier with a translator.

• New fine dining features award-winning barbecue and moves around on four wheels.

• Three out of four vehicles on the road are white pickup trucks.

• Scoria is a color as much as a road building material.

• Driving on state highways requires nerves of steel.

• Auto horns are no longer used for greeting each other and are usually used in unison with a raised middle finger.

• Police officers serve as mixed martial arts referees at closing time in bar and bowling alley parking lots.

• Newcomers and long-term residents each think the other talks funny.

• Finally, star gazing has been replaced by counting gas flares more numerous than lakes in Minnesota.

That is all I have, but if you can think of any, shoot me an email.

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Brock is publisher of The Dickinson Press, which is owned by Forum Communications. Email him at hbrock@thedickinsonpress.com.