New Jersey's been taking it on the chin ever since Aaron Burr shot Alexander Hamilton at Weehawken. Now the jokes have moved to T-shirts.
But even the Garden State's most avid promoters don't take offense at the litany of snide remarks on the shirts created by Gary Bamburak.
In Bamburak's squiggly drawings, New Jersey covers half the shirt. For once the Garden State dwarfs the rest of the world and eclipses New York.
"New Jersey," the shirts say, "one of the best places in the world if you don't mind. . . ." There follows a long litany of complaints that includes fog; unfinished highways such as Routes 78 and 287; traffic jams on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway; Route 22 with its horrific bump known locally as the Jersey Jump; unemployment and unpleasant dating rituals.
"I travel across the state and see the imperfections," said Bamburak, 31. The state's problems are a point of contact for its residents, a topic of conversation everybody can relate to and join, he said.
"I listen, hear people complain about all the things I've complained about," he said.
One of his shirts is a takeoff on Gov. Thomas Kean's promotion "NJ & You, Perfect Together." Bamburak's version reads "NJ & Me . . . Nowhere Together."