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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.

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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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