by Max Barry

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The Federation of

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You know you're from Radiatia when...

If you're Radiatian...
  • You live in a multilingual society. You probably learned LinkRadiatian in school, but were taught another language at home and consider both to be your native language.

  • You don't make small talk - Radiatia did not rise from the ashes of communism to become an economic superpower by making small talk.

  • To you, "Inefficient" is about the worst insult there is.

  • You are familiar with Yamas Tweed, Martin Kalva, Captain Radiatia, Battling Seizure Robots, Fushi Sakka, Akat Wifabaag, Alexis Machine, PEARCING, The Burning Foetuses and have also seen pornography on primetime television.

  • You cannot understand why anyone would call football "soccer". You know all the teams in the RFL (Radiatian Football League) and believe Radiatia to have one of the best football teams in the world. You are also an avid fan of rugby union, and may be partial to baseball. You also like blood sports, and believe that attempts to ban them over the years are just "political correctness gone mad".

  • You can take as many holidays as you like during the year - just as long as you pay for it yourself. No employer in the country is going to pay you to do nothing for three weeks a year.

Ignorance is bliss.

  • You don't even know what a "God" is, let alone believe in one.

  • You think of fast food such as Greasy Joe's to be cheap and delicious. You cannot for the life of you understand why other countries say that Radiatian cuisine is awful and unhealthy.

  • You do admit that foreign food is slightly better than local dishes.

  • You don't consider insects, dogs, cats, monkeys, or guinea pigs to be food, but there's a good chance you have unwittingly eaten some or all of the above. Afterall, NO ONE knows what's really in Radiatian sausages....

  • You rarely eat fruit or vegetables, and most food is engineered or processed to a point that would see it banned overseas.

  • You most likely live in an apartment, and almost definitely live in a city. If grubby old villages of only a few thousand people were worth living in, they wouldn't be grubby old villages of only a few thousand people would they? Alternatively you may instead have taken to suburban living, especially if you're over 30 and finding city life exhausting.

  • You might own a landline, definitely own a smartphone and a laptop, and you have a TV. Your place is heated in the winter and airconditioned in the summer - unless you live in a rural part of Skorptsch or New Vashura in which case you're probably living in a caravan. You don't kill your own food - unless you're from the north. You don't have a dirt floor. You usually eat at a small table in front of the TV, sitting on chairs or couches.

  • You probably wouldn't understand a reference to a "bathroom" unless you grew up in an ancient palace in Radia - but even then, the term makes you think of luxury rather than taking a shower or using the toilet.

  • You usually refer to the toilet as the "Wunderchair" even though that's just one prominent brand of toilet. You probably had to pay to use the toilet - sometimes even at home if you've chosen to rent a toilet.

  • It now seems natural to you that the telephone system, railways, auto manufacturers, airlines, power companies, hospitals and most schools are privately run. If you're an older Radiatian you may be able to remember a time when things were VERY different, but you know there's no way that things will ever go back to the way they were.

  • You expect, as a matter of course, that phones will work. You expect anything to work actually - inefficiency is inexcusable and you would sue a company into bankruptcy for providing a faulty product/being late/causing you to lose a few seconds of your time due to an unclear instruction manual

  • You see nothing unusual about having to go outside wearing a gas mask, especially in the smoggier winter months.

  • Even though water can be expensive, you shower at least three times a day, especially after being outside - the city air can be filthy, and smoke, smog and soot builds up on your skin quite quickly.

  • The trains are quick and efficient, and you would demand compensation if a train wasn't on time. However you are just as likely to travel by car or even helicopter as you are to travel by train.

  • Travelling times are long - whether it's spending a few hours in city traffic, or spending a few days travelling cross country.

  • Of course, you're unlikely to travel much. You probably have never left your home state, let alone left the country.

Efficiency and Bureaucracy

  • You are fiercely proud of living in a democratic republic, even though you've only voted a handful of times in your whole life

  • You have become used to a two-party system. You felt the multi-party system was flawed and inefficient. You may be able to remember back to being only a single-party state if you're older, but it's only a distant memory.

  • You expect both parties to be strong on defence, responsive to business and concerned with the middle class. However you don't think Radiatia has had a decent President since Traiyan Silviu was still in office.

  • If you live in the heartland or the north, you think the federal government is too powerful. If you live in the south or the east, you think the federal government is not powerful enough.

  • You find it impossible to believe that Radiatia used to be communist although you suspect this is why the country overcompensates when it comes to being anti-communist. Your grandparents have probably told you a few horror stories about what life was like under communism.

  • You don't expect to hear socialism seriously defended - and you'd be slightly offended if you did. The socialists killed 10 million innocent people (and you don't distinguish between 'socialism' and 'communism'. It's all the same disgusting, murderous ideology to you.)

  • You don't really have a concept of 'race' - people are either "Radiatian" or they are "foreign" and you can tell by looking. While people with darker skin are usually not Radiatian, sometimes they are - and if so there's always something about the way they speak, dress and act that gives away the fact that they're Radiatians.

  • You think most problems would be solved if people would be less lazy, more efficient and if the rest of the world was more like Radiatia.

  • You consider a flat tax of 15% to be daylight robbery, not that you ever pay it - tax evasion is something of a national pastime and you take pride in the fact that collecting taxes in Radiatia is like trying to collect water with a sieve.

  • You don't fully trust the federal government, have doubts about the Noctur Regional Bank and were definitely opposed to the Humanitarian League. The World Assembly? Don't make me laugh!

  • You believe that the court system is rigged in favour of big business, and you're probably right. On the bright side you know the justice system is swift and efficient, but the result always hinges on how much money you have.

  • You have to have served at least 18 months in the military, and be aged over 21, to obtain a firearms license. However, you can bypass this by bribing the right official.

  • School is free in most states and usually compulsory until the age of 16, although the quality of your education differs greatly depending on which state you're from. Of course Radiatia's education system is a lot better than it was 20 years ago, when 10% of the country left school not knowing how to read.

  • If you're extremely talented and get a scholarship, the Federal Government will pay for your three years of university. For everyone else wanting to go you will need to take out an expensive bank loan (if they'll even let you) and pay your own way. The most common route to tertiary education is to enlist in the armed forces and do an 18 month stint in exchange for having most of your tuition fees paid by the government.

Heatstroke and Hypothermia

  • Mustard comes in plastic tubes. Shaving cream comes in canisters and milk comes in plastic bottles.

  • The date comes first and the month second: 1/10/4014 (And you know what happened on that date).

  • The decimal point is a dot.

  • A billion is a thousand times a million.

  • You would respect a politician who came from a military background, but ultimately you'll vote for them based on whether or not you support their policies. You couldn't name the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

  • It is polite to call people by their first names, until you get to know them. Then you may address them with their surname. The exception to this rule is for people in places of authority - teachers, military commanders and politicians.

  • If you're from the western states, you probably go about your everyday life in the nude in summer. You've definitely sunbathed nude in the summer at least once unless you're from the arctic north.

  • You have probably never seen the ocean. If you live in a coastal state, you probably still have never been to the beach.

  • Most films and TV shows are subtitled, simply due to the multilingual nature of Radiatian society

  • You avoid the outdoors due to the harsh climate. It's fully possible for you to suffer from heatstroke in summer and then hypothermia in winter.

Bribes and Brides:

  • It is more common to marry for money than for love. Marriage is seldom a happy day - it's usually spent waiting for bureaucrats in an office building somewhere to process your application. Church marriages are not legal or valid. It's nothing ceremonial, and you can end a marriage as easily as you can quit a job. 10 out of 45 states allow polygamy, provided that there is informed consent from all involved parties.

  • If a woman is still living with her family, you may have to pay the family to marry her. If she is married to another man, it is perfectly legal to buy her from her current husband and have the marriage contract rewritten in your name - provided all parties consent.

  • If a man has sex with another man, he's homosexual. If he finds the right man, he can marry him as above.

  • If a woman has sex with another woman, she might be a lesbian, but it's more likely that she's a popstar or actress trying to get attention.

  • If you're a woman, you probably have no qualms with public nudity, and are regularly nude when sunbathing by the lake, the river or in the sand dunes.

  • You don't usually expect to have to bribe federal government officials, but when it comes to state and local authorities it certainly doesn't hurt to "grease the wheels" with a few Tsenyens if a bureaucrat is being particularly obstructive.

  • If a politician hasn't cheated on his wife at least once, you suspect he may be a closet homosexual - but ultimately you don't really care about politics, let alone the personal lives of politicians.

  • Credit cards are ubiquitous now, and you couldn't live without one. Everywhere, including in rural areas, accepts ATM cards and only tourists carry cash. A lot of places now accept contactless payment cards, or contactless payment via your smartphone.

  • A company can fire anyone at will.

  • You like your bacon soft, unless it's in a burger.

  • Labour Day? What are you, some sort of communist!? There used to be a Labour Day, but it got renamed "Capitalism Day" just to spite the murderous commies.

The Sheriff of Noctur

  • Depending on your age, you've definitely seen LinkMorons With Guns, Foreigners from Outer Space and LinkThe Efficient, the Inefficient and the Unattractive amongst other great Radiatian films and television shows. (If you're younger you'll have seen Battling Seizure Robots and the Captain Radiatia series too.) You are somewhat proud of the strength of the adult film industry, not that you see it as a big deal - most Radiatian TV shows are just porn with better plots and acting.

  • You would rather rely on private healthcare than the underfunded, bureaucracy-choked Federal Health Service. You know you're not going to die of cholera or other Third World diseases, but you are aware that there is a high chance that you will develop cancer, due to pollution. There's also a high risk that Radiatia's bad weather, workaholic culture and depressing lifestyle will drive you to suicide. If you're a man you would be pleasantly surprised to live past 65 - though if you're a woman you'll probably make it to your 80s.

  • You hardly know your own history, let alone world history. Pretty much anything before the fall of communism is ancient history to you, though you're vaguely aware of ancient historical figures like Empress Usula and have a pretty good understanding of the atrocities committed by the RPSU. You don't really see the point of learning history though - the past was a barbaric, horrible time. You'd rather focus on the future.

  • Radiatia has never been conquered by a foreign nation, but you're convinced that it's just around the corner. You believe Radiatia has to be strong because the rest of the world is plotting against us. But if all else fails, you're confident that the harsh Radiatian winter will probably stop any invading army in its tracks.

  • You've become used to having choices whenever you buy things - and indeed you can now buy ANYTHING in Radiatia. If you can think of it, someone somewhere will be selling it, regardless of the legality.

  • You use the metric system and find it confusing and unthinkable that anyone would use any other system.

  • You are not a farmer and don't know anyone who is. You consider LinkPlainstainers to be somewhat mythical and don't believe humans can survive outside of cities.

  • A "comic" means a stand-up comedian. The artform is referred to either as a "cartoon" (particularly for comedic strips) or as "manga".

  • The people who appear on talkshows are almost always comedians, occasionally movie stars or singers and in rare cases politicians.

  • You drive on the right side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them. However the reverse is also true - if the light is green you won't stop for anyone or anything, whether it's a pedestrian, an animal or even a small child. The idea of jaywalking is inconceivable: Doing so risks almost certain death.

  • You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be absolutely tiny. Most Radiatian-made cars would take up two lanes overseas.

  • The Police are usually armed with pistols, though police forces armed with rifles or submachine guns aren't uncommon in certain states. Some more liberal and left-leaning states such as Chongluntz and Saku don't arm their police at all.

  • Women are expected to be stunningly beautiful, and they surely are. If a woman is plumper than the average, it doesn't improve her looks.

  • The biggest meal of the day is in the evening.

  • There's parts of the city you definitely want to avoid at night.

  • If you do joke about another country, the most commonly joked about nationality is Segland, although you're more likely to joke about someone from another Radiatian state (or even make self-deprecating jokes about yourself) than you are to joke about someone from another country.

Beyond Federation Square

  • You feel that your kind of people aren't being listened to enough in LinkXerconia.

  • You believe that LinkFederation Square is comprised entirely of useless bureaucrats who do nothing but waste time and money. You probably couldn't name your local MP or your Senator.

  • You wouldn't expect both inflation and unemployment to be very high (say, over 10%) at the same time. If you're left-wing you're convinced unemployment will skyrocket any day now and if you're right-wing you're convinced that inflation is about to skyrocket.

  • You don't even care about your own family, let alone someone else's.

  • When someone dies it's more common for the estate (if there is one) to be left to a close friend than to family.

  • You have probably never been to the theatre or ballet. You are, however, a regular patron at comedy clubs, the cinema, rock concerts, casinos and strip clubs.

  • The only thing you know about Christmas is that factory workers do overtime in order to meet heightened foreign demand for Radiatian exports - and it often leads to a bonus for workers. But you have no idea what it is other than something weird that foreigners do involving iconography of a man with a beard.

  • You barely even know who your own leaders are, let alone foreign leaders. You also barely know where other Radiatian states are, let alone other countries and you definitely couldn't name every country in the region.

  • You never leave voicemails. You hang up and try again later.

  • Taxi drivers are almost all xenophobic, extreme right-wing Linkscumbuckets and you know that any taxi trip will mean hearing at least one utterance of the phrase "I'm not racist, but..."

  • You don't want to retire or lose your job, as the pension and unemployment benefit is too small to live off. In the latter case, it also means you could end up drafted into the army if you don't find work soon.

  • You may or may not support the welfare state. You believe that Radiatia has one of the most generous in the world. You were shocked when the country was recently ranked bottom of the region for welfare.

  • If you want to be a doctor, you need a degree. If you want to be a teacher, you must prove that you know how to read - which is a massive improvement on the previous system, when any old redneck could "wop out the ol' learnin' stick"

  • There are a lot more lawyers now, but still not as many as in other countries.

The Almighty Tsenyen

  • You time things precisely, down to the second. You are never late, not even by a second, and you will not forgive someone else for being late. In fact, you're usually at least 20 minutes early for most appointments just to be sure.

  • When talking to someone you prefer them to be standing at least one... no, make it two metres away from you. And you avoid making eye contact too - eye contact, physical closeness and (heavens forbid) touching someone is reserved strictly for people you're intimate with. (Though you might forgive some touching if you live somewhere crowded like Exegrad.)

  • You never invite people to your house or apartment. If you meet someone, it's always at a restaurant, mall, pub, or comedy club.

  • If you DO invite someone over, it means you want to have sex with them. The same applies in reverse - if you're invited to someone's home, it's never for a meal or coffee: It's for sex.

  • You never bargain or haggle, ever - that's unacceptably inefficient. The price is what it is, if you don't like it shop somewhere else.

  • You actually consider Radiatians to be very polite and foreigners to be rude (when most of the world sees it the other way around). You expect all communication to be direct, and you can't stand how foreigners won't just get to the point - or worse yet, will lie to you because they think it will spare your feelings.

The Federation of Radiatia