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You're a true Tampa Bay denizen if you've ...

Pop star Ke$ha (to spell it without the dollar sign is incorrect) may not be known as a superior lyricist, but in compiling my annual list of what makes life in Tampa Bay unique, I'm reminded of one of her hits.

You know we're superstars, we are who we are!

Yes, we are who we are — and as superstars we celebrate our greatness, soldier through our faults and promise to be even better in 2014. As Ke$ha would say, "If you're one of us, then roll with us."

You haven't lived in Tampa Bay until you have …

… had some out-of-state relative call and say, "Did your house get swallowed by a sinkhole?"

… been considered for the vacant lieutenant governor spot.

… heard Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn say, "It's our time."

… seen the state's largest New Year's Eve fireworks show in Apollo Beach. Yes, Apollo Beach.

… served the less fortunate at Metropolitan Ministries.

… looked at a vacant lot and said, "They're building another Wawa?"

… asked, "Who has had the worst football season: the Bucs, the Gators or the Bulls?"

… visited the historic Cafe Masaryktown in Masaryktown to soak up the ambiance that dates to 1925.

… watched chef Robert Irvine energize a crowd at a fundraiser.

… witnessed the Brandon community rally to a cause by meeting at the original Beef 'O' Brady's on Kings Avenue.

… given the secret password to get into Ciro's, Tampa's cool little speakeasy.

… discovered what a brony is all about at a Brony Convention in Riverview.

… strolled the River Walk Park at the Cotee River in New Port Richey.

… seen two radio personalities turn a silly feud into an overblown trial that costs careers and makes nearly all involved lose their minds.

… demanded Chicago be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after watching the group bring down the house at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday.

… ridden the craft beer craze that has hit every corner of town from Plant City to Brandon to Dunedin to Tampa and St. Petersburg.

… enjoyed a cool weekend concert at the Ruskin Firehouse Cultural Center.

… credited newcomers such as Rick Homans and Joe Lopano for helping Tampa maximize its potential.

… listened to the choirs and passed the lights at Church Street Christmas in Dade City.

… gotten sunburned on Christmas Day.

… had a celebratory shot at Ferg's after a Rays game.

… been stopped at the Third Avenue Publix in downtown St. Petersburg by someone demanding you sign a petition to Stop the Lens.

… said, "We really might end up with nothing but a pile of rubble to replace the Pier."

… savored the classic meatballs at Brick House.

… rocked to Louie Louie after Martin St. Louis scores a goal for the Lightning.

… figured out which flavor you're going to sample at Paciugo Gelato in St. Petersburg.

… been shouted down at a town hall meeting for suggesting a Walmart might not be such a bad idea.

… asked, "Exactly how many multimillion-dollar aquariums do we need in this town?"

… seen a simple act of kindness from a woman dressed as a mermaid turn into an uproar that draws national attention.

… placed your camera phone in the basket at the entry to Derek Jeter's Davis Islands home.

… come to the realization you're simply too old to get an invite to Jeter's house.

That's all I'm saying.

A few of my favorites

In 10 years of compiling the "You haven't lived in Tampa Bay …" column, I have a few favorites. Here's an all-time Top 10:

1. … gone to Four Green Fields alone and walked away with four new friends.

2. … seen a Bucs player return a kickoff for a touchdown.

3. … devoured one of Aunt Nina's devil crabs at Brocato's Sandwich Shop in Tampa.

4. … gone to a bar on a boat. Yes, this requires a rich friend and possibly swimming to shore. But if you put your wallet in a plastic bag, you'll be fine.

5. … downed a fried grouper sandwich at Frenchy's Rockaway Grill in Clearwater.

6. … used Mons Venus as a landmark when giving directions to a Dale Mabry establishment.

7. … watched the sunset from the third deck of the Hurricane in Pass-a-Grille.

8. … seen your name on the marquee at lawyer B. Lee Elam's office in Brandon.

9. … enjoyed the flamenco dancers at the Columbia.

10. … watched an episode of Cops and said, "Hey, that's Tampa."

You're a true Tampa Bay denizen if you've ... 12/24/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 4:44pm]

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