Monday, December 20, 2010

Meet Me In St. Louis, Louis, Meet Me At The Fair

By Shane Cashion

I really enjoyed reading Susan’s post yesterday. She made Nantucket sound like the perfect place to spend Christmas, and a definite must visit for me and my family. While my own hometown of St. Louis, Missouri may not be as outwardly appealing as Nantucket, it’s certainly not without its charms, and, at present, is on an exciting uptick.

Last year, CQ Press ranked St. Louis the second most dangerous city in America. To say that we were embarrassed and disappointed would be a gross understatement. For twelve long months we had to live with this humiliating designation. Everyone knew. My cop friends told me that they’d see people brazenly walking around downtown at all hours of the night, showing off, like they were at Disney World. It was shameful.

Thankfully, this year, we rallied by committing 2,070 violent crimes and 12,074 property crimes for every 100,000 residents. That was enough for us to reclaim the top spot over other more popular destinations like Camden, New Jersey (last year’s champion and our most bitter rival); Gary, Indiana; Compton, California; and Detroit, Michigan. Now, I can once again wear my Brave Enough to Live in America’s Most Dangerous City T-shirt with pride.

What’s strange is that I don’t personally know anyone who contributed to our victory. For the most part, all of the fun occurred on the north side, which is entirely avoidable, unless of course you’re out shopping for a hit man, or a switchblade, or a stripped car, or maybe an unregistered gun for a desperate friend. Nevertheless, thanks to the considerable sacrifice made by our neighbors to the north, the entire city gets to boast of our victory. I think I speak for all of us in expressing my deepest gratitude.

Crime isn’t the only place we’re dominating. According to Men’s Health magazine, we also have the worst teeth in America, beating out such orthodontically challenged places as Jackson, Mississippi; Newark, New Jersey; and New Orleans, Louisiana. I guess I never really noticed all the bad choppers talking to me, but now that we’ve been officially declared the cavity capital of the country, I pay more attention and do in fact see tons of yucky mouths at Starbucks, the grocery store, work, court, just about everywhere really. In some strange way, it’s gratifying knowing that I’m unlikely to see worse teeth anywhere else in the country. To be honest, we St. Louisans just aren’t that bothered by yellow teeth or broken smiles or even putrid breath. In this way, we’re less superficial than people in other places I’ve traveled and lived.

To round out our obvious appeal as a budding tourist destination, according to the Centers for Disease Control, we rank second in the nation for the highest rate of Chlamydia. For those not up on their STDs, Chlamydia is the most common STD of all, so this is big news! If you want your city to get noticed, this is definitely the STD to focus on.

I suspect the foregoing information might come as a surprise to some followers of this Blog. Outside of catching the Cardinals on TV, or taking a quick peek at the Arch from 30,000 feet, St. Louis isn’t a place heavy on peoples’ minds; although, it hasn’t always been this way. At the turn of the 20th Century, we were the fourth largest city in the country, and quite relevant. We even hosted the World’s Fair in 1904. I’d like to think that these recent statistics are only going to help us recapture some of our former glory. So if you’re looking for a carefree, adventurous vacation and you’re tired of the beach, or Paris, or Aspen, or San Francisco, I invite you to leave your curlers and tooth brushes at home and meet me in St. Louis. You’ll like what you see. I guarantee it.


Susan Santangelo said...

Glad you liked the info on Nantucket. Your post was great -- you should be part of the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce!
I remember hearing Judy Garland in "Meet Me In St. Louis" sing "The Trolley Song." Bet those are long gone, though, yes?

Susan Santangelo

Shane Cashion said...

Thanks! The trolleys are definitely gone, although some of the tracks remain. Hilarious regarding the Chamber of Commerce! :) St. Louis is in a pickle. It's what I think is known as an independent city, which means that it doesn't belong to a county. I believe the only other sizable independent city in the country is Baltimore. As a result of this peculiar arrangement, Stl is deprived of revenue from Stl county, which is where most of the wealth in the metro area exists. There's been some movement throughout the years to integrate Stl City with Stl County, but thus far it hasn't amounted to much more than talk. Unless and until that ever happens, the City of St. Louis will continue to enjoy dubious rankings like those mentioned in my post.