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Where Everything Is “As Hell!”

While I was in college, I was a commuter, by choice. I didn’t have a dorm room; I had a house. I didn’t have to give up my car for the privilege of living in some cramped bedroom and sharing a bathroom with five strangers. Plus, I love New Jersey, and going to Seton Hall every day meant I didn’t have to leave it. It did mean though that I had to go to some pretty stupid and pointless classes, like one called “Freshman Study Skills. Oh, that one credit bane of my existence. It was Wednesday morning at 9:00 AM and my only other class wasn’t until 4:00 in the afternoon. Suffice it so say that I really disliked that class.

The class was terrible, but there were one or two shining moments to come out of it. One day, sometime in October, someone in the class who was not a commuter pointed out to me that, “Everything in New Jersey is ‘as hell’. Cold as hell, hot as hell, everything.” He was clearly not from around here. All of us who were from New Jersey laughed. We laughed because once he said it, we realized he was right. Everything is “as hell” in New Jersey, or almost everything. What can I say? We’re not complicated.

As we thought about it, my brother Harvey and I realized that not only was that guy in class right, but that hell is of course the base form in New Jerseyan. There are also the comparative and superlative forms, but they’re not for “virgin ears” so if cursing offends you, now is the time to skip ahead to the last paragraph. The comparative and superlative forms are “as a bitch” and “as a motherf@#$er”, respectively (and yes, one must emphasize the first part of that word; it’s just how it’s done). Think of it, all of you fellow New Jerseyans out there. You’ll see it’s true. It can be cold outside, and that means in New Jerseyan that it’s cold as hell. However, if it’s really cold, then it’s cold as a bitch. In the most extreme cases, you know, when it’s absolutely freezing, as cold, as Harvey and my father would say, as a witch’s left tit on an aluminum broom in the dead of winter, then it’s cold as a motherf@#$er.

To read this, you might not believe me when I tell you that I don’t curse that much. But, in New Jersey, if you’re a real native, then you know that’s how you speak. Much the same as they say on MXC, that hilariously dubbed obstacle course game show, that “f*ckin A” is New Jerseyan for “indeed”. Think about it.


This was originally posted (with a bit at the end that doesn’t make sense over here) on my brother’s blog as a guest post.  Since I’ve been battling a bad cold since Sunday night, I’m being lazy and posting it over here today.  My apologies if you got snookered into reading it twice. 🙂