Credit: Jason Campbell

I’ve been living in New York for almost six months now, but I still get a little nervous when someone asks me where I’m from. I know exactly what their reaction will be: a quizzical frown followed by a hardy chuckle. Would someone please tell me what is so funny about the great town of Walla Walla, Washington (the place so nice they named it twice)?

After the laughing subsides, I usually get one of two responses, depending on their age. If it’s someone in their 40s or older, I usually get an, “Oh yes, like that ‘ting tang, walla walla, bing bang’ song!” But if it’s someone closer to my age, I get a much more irksome reply.

The first time it happened was during a summer study tour in London. I ended up chatting with a fellow American I met in my dorm, and when she heard where I was from, she affected a semi-disgusted frown and sneered, “You mean like Tonya from the Real World?” Yes, my town’s pop culture claim to fame is its brightest celebrity star, the trashtastic Tonya Cooley from Real World: Chicago (pictured).

addCredit(“Tonya Cooley: Jason Campbell”)

During one especially poignant RW episode, when Tonya returnshome from Chicago, the producers decided to be cute and created a WallaWalla montage full of grazing cows, water towers, and onion stands setto a Deliverance-worthy soundtrack. After all these years, I’mstill sore about that one. We have a Starbucks, for goodness’ sake!We’re darn near cosmopolitan!

While I continue to lick the wounds Tonya and RW producers have inflicted upon my fine city, I want to know what silly/dubious/ridiculous claim to fame your hometown has.

Hell to the No!
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