I live in St. Louis (motto: “If New Jersey is the nation’s armpit, then we’re its sweaty crotch!”), which is a lovely city, once you get used to the crippling heat and humidity, ever-present allergens, and awful pizza.
It’s a very pleasant place, made up of very pleasant neighborhoods, full of very pleasant Midwestern-type people who are unnaturally obsessed with where they went to high school. But St. Louis is more than just sweltering heat and folksy urbanites; we’re also first in the nation in several important categories! For instance, we’re ranked #1 in chlamydia infections among all US cities! And #2 for gonorrhea*! (Fitting, considering the motto) And in case topping the lists for not one, but TWO of your more popular venereal diseases weren’t enough; we’re second only to Detroit in violent crime! (I’m sure you’re already packing up the minivan to bring the kids down to the ‘Lou’ for your next vacation!) Yet despite these impressive statistics, St. Louis remains a rather unsung city. According to a recent survey, the average non-resident – when asked what St. Louis has to offer – is most likely to respond with, “Corn?” This is incredibly ignorant and unfair stereotyping, given that St. Louis area farmers also produce an exceptional amount of soybeans. I am kidding, of course. The real bumper-crop in Missouri is okra. In all seriousness though, St. Louis is not a bad place to live or visit. Beyond the riot police, you’ll find several museums and a zoo that are free to visit, great parks, and wonderful ethnic food in well-kept old neighborhoods scattered throughout the metro area.
There are also several good colleges, a top-rate botanical garden, concert halls and theaters, and a number of other attractions that generally don’t get much attention. Yes, we have the Arch, and it’s lovely – but we also have the City Museum, which is WAY better, in that you get to climb on anything you want AND they serve alcohol! And speaking of alcohol, St. Louis is the heart of the Budweiser kingdom, which comes with perks such as an interesting brewery tour, Grant’s Farm, and plenty of Clydesdale sightings. If you consider yourself refined beyond the point of drinking a beer advertised by talking frogs, the area is also littered with popular microbreweries and wineries. And I haven’t even mentioned the sports teams, which locals are just a tiny bit proud of. So I kid, but it really is a lovely city, and one that I’ve enjoyed exploring for a little more than a decade. I figure I’ll use this forum – in addition to broadcasting sarcastic opinions to the world – to cover some of the more entertaining activities I’ve found here over the years, so that all of you might be able to experience the elation that comes – for instance – from wrapping yourself in a giant plastic bubble and running full speed into your friends and coworkers. (You may also be able to experience the elation associated with a good chiropractor visit.) Stay tuned for that and many other stories, and if you have suggestions for things I could try (aside from pulling my head out of an unpleasant hole, or ‘provel’) I’d be happy to hear them. My goal is just to stay active and make people say, “Wait…what?!” So grab your keys and your Advil, and let’s go paint this town red!
*Stats on gonorrhea infection rates are being disputed by the city, but you may not have heard the news over all the clapping…HA!!