One of the reasons my family has lived in Iowa for FIVE generations (my kids are Gen VI, baby!) is because of what's happening here in the aftermath of the flood.
It might be because Iowa started as a state populated by farmers who lived several miles from any other human being, but we've developed a strange combination of self-reliance and eagerness to help neighbors. Other states may be the same way, but I wouldn't know. I've never lived anywhere but Iowa.
So you can imagine the manly tears being shed based on my fellow Iowans' response to the floods. The streets of cities and downs in Iowa are lined stinking, rotting crap that used to be prized possessions. Downtown Cedar Rapids looks like something out of Escape from New York. In Iowa City people just stand outside their houses and cry.
When stuff like this happens, Iowans figuratively saddle up and ride into battle, swords raised and Iowa battle flags tilted aggressively toward the collective enemy. Even the horses we're riding at full gallop look pissed off about this affront to our sensibilities.
And we do it without making a huge big deal out of it, because making a huge big deal out of anything is counter to the Iowan genetic code. Most of us who stay here on purpose for any length of time come to love this state at the molecular level. For us, the reaction to the flood is like most of you would react to someone peeing on the gates of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
If you're staging a musical production, looking for a rock star, need someone to devise the next breakthrough in amusement and leisure, the random Iowan will probably let you down. If you need someone who will have your back in a firefight, look for the tricolored flag above.
You can help Iowa clean up and rebuild by visiting Race2Recovery.com or Embrace Iowa (www.embraceiowa.org). My family is from western Iowa and therefore unaffected by the floods. pressdog world headquarters in West Des Moines is high and dry. So this isn't about me, it's about us. Most of us Iowans don't do public emotion, but I can assure you manly tears will be shed in private.