It always amazes me how a non sequitur sentence in a column can set off some overly sensitive, surly and snooty comments. To wit, in my recent Patch piece concerning the city of Chicago’s , I uttered this simple, but obvious truth: “The smart people live in the suburbs for a reason.”
And after they got a suburbanite to read the column to them, those Second City citizens shrieked and howled almost as if I'd said that stopped serving Iced Peppermint White Chocolate Mochas. (Chicagoans drink some rather strange things.)
So now we know why they call it the “Windy City.” Ah, well! I suppose having to face a bitter truth can be difficult for folks who have to inhale bus fumes on a regular basis.
In their vainglorious attempts to mount some sort of meaningful defense, those snobby second citizens speciously said their restaurants had no suburban parallel. That’s true! Or should I say that’s “Tru!” Because when it comes to charging an arm and a leg for mediocre fare served by a surly and disinterested wait staff, no one can beat that Toddlin’ Town.
Only Chicagoans would boast of a restaurant that offers the rare privilege of paying $200 for an unrecognizable entrée of such miniscule proportion that it wouldn’t satisfy the appetite of a pygmy shrew. And as you desperately try to find your unpronounceable menu choice with a high-powered magnifying glass, you also have to fend off a charging waiter who can’t bear the thought of even one crumb hitting the table cloth.
That certainly sounds like a fun evening to me!
No! You can’t find anything like that in the suburbs because our restaurant owners implicitly understand we have enough connected brain cells to know when we’re being had.
Yet another big-city reader had the nerve to brag about Chicago's professional sports teams. So let’s take a closer look at this purported “advantage.”
Yes! You too can mortgage your house just to purchase a single Cub or Sox ticket, pay $500 to park, fork over $20 for a watered-down beer, $50 for a hot dog that came from an anemic pig, and wait hours in line to use the restrooms, only to watch your team lose another game while some drunken fan throws up on your shoes during the seventh-inning stretch.
Well, either that or you can attend a Bears game where, because of the the increasingly ill-mannered fans, security is so tight you have to endure a full body cavity search just to get in to Soldier Field. Or, as you all call it, “Soldiers Field.”
You can forget about your Blackhawks, because we’ve already established that any sport that requires ice isn’t a real sport. As for the Bulls … Oh, that’s right! They’re on strike because the average NBA player can’t get by on anything less than $8 billion a year.
Let’s not forget the post-game crowd, either. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a Wrigleyville denizen exclaim, “Look, Honey! Out there on front lawn! It’s a blue-capped, beer-soused urinating Cubs fan. Aren’t they cute!”
In the Western Suburbs, for a mere 10 bucks with free parking, you can go to a game and actually buy a hot dog without having to recruit a co-signer. And the players won’t spit at you when you ask them for an autograph, either. Unlike the Cubs and Sox, the Cougars made the playoffs again this year!
Then some whiny Chicago folks tried to brag about regularly gawking at Lake Michigan and claimed nothing compares to their beautiful lakefront bike path. I have to admit, it is actually safer to gaze longingly upon those beaches because, for 90 percent of the summer, they’re closed due to fecal contamination.
And I’ll also agree that nothing quite compares to that overcrowded bike path, which makes China’s densest cities seem like open space.
Another reader boasted of “enjoying” his daily downtown six-block walk to work. While I can only imagine that dodging bike messengers, muggers, rats the size of Volkswagens, hordes of pigeons and the random Chicago alderman must be fun and entertaining, I simply walk downstairs.
And you Chicagoans just love being stacked on top of each other, don’t you! What you call a back yard, we call a porch. Out here, when folks let their Chihuahua out back, the poor dog actually has enough room to turn around.
But the worst affront of all came when some silly second citizens had the nerve to say the Chicago Public School system was better than our suburban counterparts. They had the temerity to claim that five of the top 10 Illinois public high schools were right there in Chicago.
Yeah! That’s because, in that tried and true Chicago tradition, their magnet and charter schools rig the ballot by choosing their students. If suburban school systems were permitted to engage in those kinds of shady shenanigans, no CPS school would crack the top 1,000.
Then, in an irony to end all ironies, immediately after I wrote the previous column, as if to prove my thesis that Chicago will do anything to pick your pocket clean, their aldermen just announced a plan to blanket the city with speed cameras!
Most suburbs don’t subscribe to , much less this kind of unconstitutional and unconscionable revenue-raising monstrosity. So get out your wallets, my delusional and misguided city dwellers! In the very near future, if you do as much as one mph over the speed limit on Lake Shore Drive, you’ll be coughing up another 100 bucks.
All I can say is, “I rest my case!” The smart people really do live in the suburbs, for all the right reasons.
But all is not lost, my sad second citizens! I’m starting a new 12-step program to rid you of your delusional Chicago-centric thinking. And the first step in the recovery process is to admit you have a problem.
So repeat after me, “Jeff Ward is always right.” I don’t know about you, but I certainly feel better.