It seems appropriate in the middle of this miserable winter that Forbes magazine has St. Louis in its List of America's Most Miserable Cities.
Like most rankings, St. Louis is somewhere in the middle. We're 12th out of 20. Kind of miserable but not the most miserable.
The most miserable, at number one, is Detroit, followed by 2) Flint, Mich., 3) Rockford, 4) Chicago, 5) Modesto, Calif., 6) Vallejo, Calif., 7) Warren, Mich., 8) Stockton, Calif., 9) Lake County, Ill., and 10) New York City.
Toledo, Ohio, just edged out St. Louis for 11th place. But St. Louis is slightly more miserable than Camden, N.J., which is 13th.
I say we, but I mean them. One of the nice things about living in Illinois is that when something is right about St. Louis, the Cardinals for example, we claim it.
But when it's a miserable city? That's Missouri, not us.
The criteria for the rankings included violent crime, unemployment, foreclosures, taxes, home prices and some quality of life issues, like average commuting times and bad weather.
Chicago, at number four, could have been worse, if as in years past, they included pro sports and corruption in the criteria. Imagine what the Cubs would have done to Chicago.
Interestingly enough, when you check the list online, (www.forbes.com/lists) beside nearly every picture of every derelict building, junk yard, crime or torn-up house, there are advertisements for that area.
I'm not sure what that says. Maybe that any publicity is better than no publicity?
There are some of the usual suspects on the list, like Atlantic City (15), Gary, Ind. (19) and Cleveland (17.) But a place like Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (18)? I have to figure much of their misery comes from having to spell and pronounce that name all the time.
The list is not all gray cloud. There is some silver lining there if you look hard enough.
For example, if we were on the happiest city list, and you weren't feeling particularly happy, how upsetting would that be?
But since we're on the miserable list, and you feel slightly miserable, that's OK. Heck, considering how miserable St. Louis is, actually you're doing pretty good.
It could be worse. We could be in Detroit.
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