Pundits at Business Week Magazine have pigeon-holed Portland Oregon as The Unhappiest City in America which means that we suck, collectively, congestive-ly, and maybe even Supercalifragilisticexpialidociously, if you want to throw in
Mary Poppins to boot, and why not, since at the same time, Portland is also ranked by Sperling's Best Places at 47th out of 50 cities on the Manliness Scale. Sir, that is failing!-Bob Segar's Beautiful Loser or not.
A double whammy Grammy, it appears. The misery index is based on number of grey and rainy days, suicide rates, use of anti-depressant drugs, depression, divorce, unemployment, and crime and economic factors. The upside is that there is a bar on every corner, although as a tavern owner, when I think about that much competition, I get depressed, and have a beer.
Ok, we are a little morose. Although wait a minute, we did have a mayor named Bud Clark who flashed in a famous poster in front of a downtown statue (Expose Yourself to Art); and our current mayor who may have exposed himself to an intern named Beau Breedlove, but c'mon, the dark clouds and depressed citizenry can drive one to distraction. When depressed, undress.
The last time I saw somebody smile, however, was in 1970 when some guy blew up a whale (on Utube) that Dave Barry reported on. That's a long time to keep a poker face. But just when misery is becoming fashionable, and the rest of the world is going down the tubes; in fact, just when misery is the poster child of every Main Street parade, if not the measuring stick of what it means to be fully American, and Portland leads the meritorious pack of miserable manly-hood miscreants (not that women are not equally capable of misery); then along comes some Sperling's Best Places (an erudite website of consumerism) and snatches away the congenital cohones of our dour downtown deadbeats, by declaring Portland near the bottom of the pack on the Manly Scale. If you've ever been in a pack, it is not an attractive place to be.
Is there no mercy?-Miserable Un-manliness?-Egads!...which in itself is an unmanly expression! Looking on the bright side (an impossible liberty here in Stumptown), maybe unmanly means very womanly-meaning Portland is loaded with beautiful women?-What would it matter if they were all depressed! No, Sperling bases their scurrilous badge of shame on a city's number of major sports teams (we got the Trail Blazers and Tonya Harding), number of hardware stores, number of tools purchased, and frequency of monster truck rallies. In this world, Chuck Norris is god! Lesser cities lose points based on home furnishing stores, high minivan purchases (I have one), and subscribers to beauty magazines.
Nashville, Tennessee came in first in manliness, because of NASCAR enthusiasts, BBQ restaurants, hunting and fishing turnout, and pretzel snacks made with cheese. Ok, I'm depressed but damn if I will swallow this! Put 'em up! You want one of my high fiber yogurts? I think I'll go to Starbucks (also on every corner) and have a latte and wash down some righteous reuptake inhibitors. Damn this rain, and clouds; and fish!-you don't think we got fish?-Ok, they're sturgeon; they're prehistoric tanks with scales like dinner plates; with eyes like giant squids, and they swallow kids whole! So what if they're radioactive from nuclear plants up the river! Depressed? You must be thinking of De-troit! Or deranged, denial, or denatured...which is another emasculating etymological badge of shame lurking just around the corner. If we had corners! Portland don't have corners! It's a bunch of overgrown trees and exploding volcanoes...Hell, see...even our mountains blow! And compared to Pompei, we are more like a wimpy wombat with dandruff! Every day, a Barry Mantileau bummer moment about to rain down misery on lines of moviegoers who cannot get their fill of Drugstore Cowboy. Oh, god, if I could only could get one more look at Matt Dillon's slack-jawed, rain slicked, black-jacketed angst. Who loves ya, baby! Nobody.