Depression City, Girly Town

25 Jan


Recently my hometown, Jacksonville, FL, received the dubious honor of being named one of Business Week’s 10 Unhappiest cities in the U.S. We ranked at number 6. That means only 5 cities are sadder than ours.

You have to wonder, just how jacked up does a town have to be to make this unhappy list? From the Business Week article:

These were the cities that saw the highest depression and suicide rates even while the Dow Jones was climbing to 14,000 and Countrywide Financial was considered a respected mortgage lender. Why? Blame a variety of reasons, from divorce and crime to lousy weather and job loss.

According to this article, Jacksonville has a Depression rank of 2. Or, as I prefer to put it, we are #2 on the Depression-o-meter. We are number 9 (number 9, number 9, number 9) for suicide and number 7 for divorce rate. (As if divorce is automatically an unhappy thing!)

While those figures kind of surprise me, the only thing surprising about our Crime (property and violent) ranking (23) is that it isn’t higher.

People love to kill each other in Jacksonville, that is just an established fact.

I wager if I click on one of the local TV station’s websites right this minute, I will find a headline about someone or a group of someones being murdered or beaten or, at least, robbed. Let me just see…One moment…

Wait…Teacher Sent Naked Photos to Teen…That was in St. Petersburg anyway and as much as I do not support this type of behavior, I am sure seeing his teacher naked is not going to kill this teenage boy. Of course, I haven’t seen the teacher, but…What is up with these nasty teachers these days anyway?

Hmmmm…Here’s a local story…some guy was arrested with 17 pot plants in the back of his pickup. He told the police he was moving them to protect the plants from burglars…See, burglars are a real problem.

I rest my case.

While I am looking for news stories about local violent crimes, what do I find but the news that Jacksonville made yet another list.

This time it is the list of America’s Manliest Cities.

This designation was determined by those arbiters of all things manly, Mars Snackfood. You know, the candy people.

They looked at the 50 biggest cities in the nation to determine which is the manliest. What did they base this on? The number of professional sports teams, popularity of tools and hardware and the frequency of monster truck rallies.

Cities lose points for having too many home furnishing stores, (because real men don’t furnish their homes?) high minivan sales and high numbers of beauty magazine subscriptions.

We’re not really happy with our ranking on the Manliness-o-Meter. Sadly, Jacksonville only ranked 21 on the list of 50.

We’re the sixth most unhappy city and only the 21st most manly. No wonder we’re depressed.

Oh sure, we can take some comfort in knowing that Portland, St. Louis, New Orleans, Detroit and Cleveland ranked higher as Unhappy cities and therefore suck worse than we do.

But that is small comfort when we also have to adjust to the certainty that Nashville, Charlotte, Oklahoma City, Cincinnati, Denver, St. Louis, Columbus, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Toledo, Memphis, Richmond, Columbia, Orlando, Dayton, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Cleveland and Detroit are more manly than we are.

SLC?! Are you kidding me?! Jacksonville could beat the crap out of Salt Lake City with one hand tied behind our collective back!

Nashville ranked #1 on the manly scale but they were #8 on the sadness scale. What do they have to unhappy about? Nashville is the most manly, isn’t that enough?!

New York and San Francisco did not rank at all on the Unhappy list but, according to Mars Snackfoods, NY and SF are at the bottom of the manliness meter–SF is #48 and New York is at the bottom at #50.(Los Angeles is number 49.) Perhaps someone should convince the men in San Francisco, LA and New York to fiddle a bit more with some tools so they can redeem their image.

Just a suggestion.

While I like manly things as much as the next guy, (*snorts and hikes up pants a la Barney Fife*) I am really more concerned about Jacksonville ranking so highly on the Unhappy scale.(*wipes away a tear*)

To be more manly, all we have to do is buy more tools and more tickets to sporting events and monster truck rallies. (Check, check and check!)

To be more happy we have to lower unemployment, violent crime, divorce and the suicide rate. That kinda sounds like hard work to me and hard work only makes me sadder.

It’s a vicious cycle, isn’t it?

Why do the Mars people care which cities are the manliest anyway? They make candy bars, M&Ms, Skittles and Whiskas cat food. Those aren’t exactly the most masculine products in the store, you know.

In my experience, depressed people are liable to throw back some Snickers. So, Mars should be a lot more interested in the unhappy cities than the manly ones.

Real men don’t eat Skittles, but sad people eat everything!

Despite my concerns, I try not to let these lists color my thinking too much.

After all, I have to live in this miserable girly berg, so I try to make the best of it.

Even so, lately I find myself gazing out of my office window, taking in the skyline of Jacksonville and looked down on the people below.

“Oh, you sad, sad, unmanly people,” I mutter, as I wrestle with a giant bag of M&Ms…

One Response to “Depression City, Girly Town”

  1. SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB January 29, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    before i even read the entire post, i KNEW that my city, CLEVELAND would rank higher i knew itdammit

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