I was at a friend's house playing video games when I found out. Sitting there shooting zombies with my Wii controller and then it happened. It started off quiet at first, but then as always, it picked up. "Raaapppadooo!" That either means that the champ is here, or that Bris Isaak is calling me (What? You don't have "The Time is Now" set as one of your ringtones?). To my surprise, it was both.
"Forbes has named Stockton the most miserable city in the United States."
Wooo! Weeeeeeee are the champions! Nobody's more depressed and miserable that us! Fuck yeah! Then I thought about it for a bit. Wait a minute, I don't feel depressed or miserable. Sure, at times there's enough THC in my lungs that you could probably slap me in the face and I wouldn't feel a thing, but it's not like I smoke and drink to escape being miserable (Note: Valentines Day not included in this statement). I do that shit because I'm fucking bored and need to kill time.
I don't mean to shit all over the celebration, we are called Reclaiming the Title after all. We love this kind of shit. But this list just seems flawed. Well, more flawed than any of these sorts of rankings. They compiled this list by looking at things like violent crime rate (check), taxes (looks at paycheck, check), and...commute time? How did we rank so low in commute time?
I know sometimes driving in Stockton can be fucking annoying because of the high rate of old Asian ladies. Hell, we have a high rate of old people in general who for some God forsaken reason still have their license. But are old people alone really enough to warrant a low commute time rating? These guys have been to Tracy, right? I've hit bumper to bumper traffic on the 205 at 3 in the fucking morning. They're way worse.
But even if you spot Forbes the traffic thing, it still doesn't amount to anything real. It's all statistics and no polls. Sure, we all have our problems. Times are tough right now, but I wouldn't say anybody I know is miserable by any means. What this list shows is Stockton has the potential to be miserable. Nobody could blame us if we all just sat around wallowing in self-pity because shit is so tough. But that's for pussies and emo kids.
We're not the most miserable city in America (and we question the veracity of any list that infers that Miami could be anything but fucking awesome). Are we one of the most afflicted cities in the US? Yes. Do we have a lot of shit to deal with? You bet your ass. Do we let it get to us? Sometimes, although you could have said that before the recession. Will we let it hold us back? Fuck and no. We've said it before and we'll say it again, Stockton is town of fighters. Could we be miserable? Yeah. But shit doesn't get fixed when you're wallowing at the bottom of a fifth of SoCo (and trust us, we would know). If we're going to get out of the slump this city has been in for years, we have to fight. We have to fight the voices in the back of our head that's freaking out about bills, mortgage payments, and job security. That little voice can't win. That's what makes people miserable.
Sure all of the factors Forbes listed help, but Forbes never called anybody from Stockton and asked if they're miserable (save for Ann Johnston, but who listens to her anyway?). Again, everybody gets down from time to time. But straight up completely miserable? Cynical maybe, but not miserable. I think deep down inside, even past that previously mentioned nagging voice in the back of our heads, we all know it's all going to turn out OK. Like the Forbes article says, we were ground zero for the real estate boom and we were ground zero for the real estate collapse. Who's to say we won't be ground zero for economic recovery? Sure, shit looks bleak right now, but as housing prices continue to drop more and more people are able to afford homes. The jobs will eventually come back, and shit will work out.
Some people are fatalists and claim we just need to tap out. Again, those people are pussies. We need to remain hopeful for Stockton's future. Yeah, it's tough to do right now, but if we're going to get out of this we have to keep that hope. Shit can't really get any worse so we have to cling to that hope and fight for a better Stockton. You know, fighting those El Guapos that try and keep us down. The day we stop fighting is the day we truly are miserable. I hope we won't stop fighting. I hope we win this battle. We have the potential to be miserable, but we also have the potential to kick ass. Eventually we're realize that potential. Which one? Well, I know which one I'm hoping for.