A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 31, 2019
Iowa: I Oughta Went Around (backronym)

The state of Iowa was given the backronym (back acronym) nickname of “I Oughta Went Around” by truckers in 1974. The state strictly enforced the 55-miles-per-hour speed limit, and this and other regulations made life difficult for truckers.

“I Oughta Went Around” is still used as an Iowa nickname, although its use is infrequent.

Other “Iowa” backronyms include “I Owe the World an Apology” and “Idiots Out Wandering Around.”


Wikipedia: Iowa
Iowa (/ˈaɪəwə/ is a state in the Midwestern United States, bordered by the Mississippi River to the east and the Missouri River and Big Sioux River to the west. It is bordered by six states; Wisconsin to the northeast, Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, Nebraska to the west, South Dakota to the northwest, and Minnesota to the north.

6 January 1974, Des Moines (IA) Sunday Register, “Riding the Road With an Iowa Trucker” by Stephen M. Johnson, Picture mag. sec., pg. 10, col. 3:
Truckers have more than their share of government red tape to cut through, and Iowa is widely regarded as the worst state in the Union for the men and women who drive for a living.

Maybe that IOWA stands for “I Oughta Went Around,” the truckers are fond of saying.

15 November 1974, Omaha (NE) World-Herald, “Truckers Say Iowa Strictest” by Robert McMorris, pg. 26, col. 3:
A TRUCK-DRIVING friend of mine who regularly pilots semis the length and breadth of the land says he and his fellow drivers have reached a consensus, namely: No state in the union enforces the 55-mile speed limit with such unbending dedication as Iowa.

“We’ve got a saying that ‘IOWA’ stands for ‘I Oughta Went Around,’” he said.

7 May 1980, Des Moines (IA) Register, “Letters: Irate speeder,” pg. 7A, col. 1:
Having been an Iowa resident all my life, I have to agree, unfortunately, with the truckers when they explain what Iowa stands for: “I Oughta Went Around.”—Jim Caudle, Story City.

Google Books
April 1990, Spin magazine, pg. 70, col. 3:
Out-of-town acts that tour the club scene in the Midwest steer clear of Des Moines. To them, Iowa stands for “I Oughta Went Around.”

Google Groups: rec.humor
Iowa Jokes
Chris Bovitz
7/3/91
(...)
Iowa - acronym for “I Oughta Went Around”

Google Groups: alt.tasteless.jokes
DRY JOKES
Harold Bennett
5/4/98
(...)
IOWA: 
Just east of Omaha
It’s easy to spell
I Oughta Went Around

2 July 2007, Dayton (OH) Daily News, “Chicken takes a lickin’; But there’s comfort to be found in this recipe inspired by Iowa Grandma” by Carol Rini, pg. D11:
A former colleague who spent some time at a newspaper in Iowa was probably closer to the mark when he declared that Iowa stood for “I Oughta Went Around.”

Twitter
Аня Куница
@VHppDth
IOWA - I Oughta Went Around grin))
1:04 PM · Sep 1, 2010·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Shannon Persists 👶🏽🌊🏳️‍🌈✊🏿✊🏻✊🏽🇺🇸
@ShannonPersists
Replying to @billshoemaker21
Wow that’s cray! Hello from Iowa! It stands for “I Oughta Went Around” or “Idiots Out Wandering Around.”
I’m on the border of Illinois and Illinois people make fun of Iowegians all the time, especially when it comes to Iowan drivers.  Apparently you have to have a pulse and boom!
5:23 AM · Jun 1, 2019·Twitter Web Client

Chicago magazine
What’s So Great About Iowa, Anyway?
Every four years, presidential candidates flock to the heartland to jockey for votes. Wouldn’t Illinois provide a better sample of the American electorate?

BY EDWARD MCCLELLAND
PUBLISHED JULY 31, 2019 AT 1:29 P.M.
(...)
On the other hand, do we really want to take away the main event that belies the old joke — that Iowa’s name is an acronym for “I Oughta Went Around”? 

Posted by Barry Popik
Other ExpressionsOther States • Wednesday, July 31, 2019 • Permalink