He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My City

February 21, 2008 at 12:03 pm 2 comments

This past weekend, HoST & I took a lovely little weekend jaunt to Philadelphia. We stayed in a fancy hotel, ate at fancy restaurants, and basically spent three days pretending we were wealthy, eccentric old ladies whose days were filled with brunches, long walks, and throwing back highballs in the hotel lobby.


“Where’s that damn waiter with my Pall Malls?”

Neither one of us had ever been to Philadelphia before, and I have to say I was really pleasantly surprised. I had heard my fair share of Philly-bashing over the years, especially since we moved to Pittsburgh. The rivalry between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia is nothing compared to ill-will between Pittsburgh and Cleveland, but still, it’s significant enough for me to hear Philadelphia described as glowingly as you might describe a particularly nasty hemorrhoid. That is to say, not glowingly at all.


Officially more embarrassing to buy than both tampons and condoms combined.

I was actually a little embarrassed that I even fell for the “[Random City] is such a shit-hole” routine. As someone who was born in Pittsburgh and then spent years living in West Virginia (with smaller stints in Kentucky, New Jersey, and New York), I am no stranger to people making derogatory comments about my place of residence.


Derogatory comments about this guy are fine.

I’m still downright amazed when people visit Pittsburgh for the first time, and are completely and utterly surprised that we aren’t cloaked in darkness from the sooty emissions of steel mills [that closed down DECADES AGO]. And then there are the Pittsburghers who love to make inbreeding-and-moonshine jokes about West Virginia, a state that lies a mere 45 miles to the south of them. I’ve known West Virginians to deem New York City the Sodom & Gomorrah of our time (which…is exactly why we moved there), and don’t even get me started on New Yorkers who actually take pride in thinking that anything beyond their skinny little island is a worthless flyover cow town filled to the brim with illiterate rednecks.


Lest I remind you that this one’s all yours, New York.

And then there’s the hate that New Jersey gets. We only lived there for a year (and our apartment was somewhere between “the projects” and “drug-addled slums”), but there’s a very special place in my heart for the good ol’ Garden State (Garden Not Included). HoST and I moved to New Jersey right after we got married, and we had our very first apartment there, as well as our first year of marriage. And nothing makes a newly married couple grow closer together than close proximity to major drug deals and violent crime.


Darling, will you be my human shield?

Seriously, though, New Jersey was actually a perfectly nice place to live, and there are tons of beautiful parts of the state that never get any mention because it’s too easy to make fun of Newark (sorry, Newark, but…you know). Also? New Jersey had DRIVE-THRU DUNKIN DONUTS. I rest my case.

So, being a person who believes there is merit in every city, articles like “America’s Most Miserable Cities” from Forbes really piss me off. I know they made their selections based on things like unemployment, long commutes and exorbitant taxes, and they even have a weak little paragraph to support their oh-so-scientific use of the [subjective] concept of “miserable,” but still. I can’t shake the feeling that the point of this whole article is to shit on certain cities and get a rise out of people while upping their page hits, which…is exactly the reaction and result they’ve gotten out of me. Nice.

BUT. Know where Forbes is headquartered? New York. Know what city is on the list?



Oh, I know. It’s not like they went to draw up the list and were like “Horrors! Our beloved metropolis surely cannot be one of the miserable!” but I like to think that everyone loves their city enough to at least be a little put-off whenever someone else deems it a shithole. Also, is New York miserable? The city that never sleeps? The crossroads of the world? The mecca of art, culture, and fashion? The place that sucked my soul and bank account dry and made me bear witness to people pooping on street corners and jerking off next to me on the train?


Forbes, I’m beginning to see your point.

Oh, but I kid. New York is great, it just…wasn’t for me. Know what is for me?

  1. Giving a city you know nothing about a fair shake before you make a judgment.
  2. Pittsburgh.
  3. Drive-thru Dunkin Donuts.
I think I’ll miss you most of all.

Entry filed under: Taste my Backhand.

Things That Make My Heart Stop, Vol. 1 How Did God Punish People Before Email?

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Husband of Said Turkey  |  February 21, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    If New Jersey would only do away with those stupid turnabouts on their highways, it would skyrocket on my list of places that suck less than I originally thought.

  • 2. kdiddy  |  February 22, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    “don’t even get me started on New Yorkers who actually take pride in thinking that anything beyond their skinny little island is a worthless flyover cow town filled to the brim with illiterate rednecks.”

    that’s because NYC is full of people who have only been to two places: NYC and the worthless flyover cow town filled to the brim with illiterate rednecks that they grew up in.


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