Friday, March 5, 2010

Miserable in Kansas City

From the Parkville Luminary

Each night, as I lay in bed and the tears silently stream down my cheek, I curse the fates for putting me in such a God-forsaken place. In a former life, I must have been a very bad man to be cursed with being born and raised in Kansas City, and, even worse, having to endure the metro area’s armpit, Parkville, for so long.

My perception of the hellhole we call home was recently confirmed by a highly scientific poll in Forbes Magazine naming Kansas City the nation’s 13th most miserable city. St. Louis was 7th, and Chicago 10th in the poll, which must be deadly accurate since it comes from Forbes, which correctly predicted the financial meltdown (didn’t they?). At any rate, no one in America should have a keener sense of judging misery than Steve Forbes, who can use his own comical and expensive campaign for president as a scale by which to judge the misery of others.

In his highly scientific study, Forbes correctly points to the Chiefs and Royals as key reasons why we’re so miserable. He’s right. If you’re like me, you lie awake at night, sweating profusely and tossing and turning while wondering why the Chiefs can’t seem to generate any pass rush. Indeed, like most Kansas Citians, I am haunted by these thoughts all day, every day, rendering me unable to enjoy much of anything. I was watching a movie with my son the other day, and even started to have a good time for a few minutes, before I was struck by nagging thoughts about the Chiefs inability to produce any vertical passing game. My life is joyless unless and until the Chiefs begin winning.

Forbes was right, too, about the Royals. I have traveled the world, and wherever I go, I have to hang my head in shame because our baseball team stinks. Why, I was just in rural Uganda last summer, and was accosted by a Yankee-cap-wearing crowd at a refugee camp. Their cruel taunts (“what good is a great closer if your set up men can’t get him the ball with a lead?”) have left me a shell of my former self. It’s no better in Moldova, where surly teens wearing Minnesota Twins jerseys lambasted me about the Royals’ ongoing problems at shortstop. One especially cruel Moldovan teen even jabbed me with statistics about passed balls and wild pitches last year. Under these circumstances, how could anyone avoid being miserable?

To make matters worse, Forbes highly scientific survey was completed before the latest Royals embarrassment. It seems one fan is suing the team because the Royals mascot, Sluggerrrrrrrrrrrrrr, tossed a hot dog into the stands, hitting the fan in the eye and detaching his retina. Let’s face it—Sluggerrrrrrrrrrrrrr has always been embarrassing, and I believe, has brought some sort of voodoo curse upon the team, which has won about 20% of its games since the faux lion was unveiled. The point is, even our mascot is now a source of civic shame. I bet if Forbes had heard about this, we might have been rated even more miserable than St. Louis.

Forbes also rated Kansas City as miserable because of the problems by and from KC Mayor Mark Funkhouser. This also makes me miserable and ashamed, even though I live in Parkville and he’s not my mayor. Cruel, anti-Funk taunts have also followed me both abroad and domestically. Of course, the Funk taunts pale in comparison to the ones directed at his diplomatic wife Gloria, who would be crowned entrepreneur of the year if generating misery were a business.

You’re right, Mr. Forbes, we are miserable creatures haunted by bad sports and government. The best we can do is just muddle through, and try to think away our negative thoughts as we tour our city’s world class museums like the Nelson or the World War I museum, stroll down our beautiful boulevards, munch on the best barbeque on this or any other planet, hang out on the Plaza or in downtown Parkville, cheer on the nation’s best college basketball team, fly into or out of the most convenient, passenger friendly airport anywhere, visit with the guy next door in any number of beautiful neighborhoods, enjoy an outstanding concert, ballet, or live play, and attend classes at a number of fine educational institutions, including Park University.

At least while we’re out and about, we won’t be alone. Misery, after all, loves company.

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