I've always been kind of a nomad. I've lived in the country, small towns, big cities, DC, Portland, but I've lived in Philadelphia the longest. And I didn't just happen upon it. When I was a kid growing up on a farm in Virginia, my family would come to Philly for our urban excursions. Most kids would go to DC if they ever left Mount Crawford, and that's where the big field trips led us because it was the closest big city. But my dad grew up in Philadelphia, my grandfather was a catcher for the Phillies (although my allegiance lies with the team he won the World Series with, the Yankees, I know, yuck), and my mom's family history with Philadelphia is as hard as the crust on the crappy sandwiches they still serve at the Philadelphia Club.
But it's not even that. I ****ing love this town. The architecture that New York and Chicago can't touch, the quaint streets that Savannah would consider a driveway, the insane rants from anyone of our resident weirdos that any struggling actor in LA could only wish to emulate, even the constant string of entertainment our absurdly corrupt City Council provide.
Philadelphia is the microcosm of Americana. It's redneck, it's douchebag, it's exceedingly wealthy and exceedingly poor. It's (Montgomery County) where heterosexual county clerks issue marriage licenses to same sex couples because they want to be on the "right side of history," it's where the Black Panthers spout racist rhetoric in front of the city's homage to capitalism while we buy a $600 suit, and ignore it because Ben Franklin said any idiot can say what he wants on public property.
It's where it's 2013 and 1776 at any given day and any given time. Where a group from Nebraska wait for their table at Hard Rock while Granny Tranny panhandles, and then an Amish girls walks by with her lunch from Chinatown.
It's the good, the bad, and the downright crazy. It's not the best place in the world, but good is boring. Philadelphia is America. People love Philadelphia for the same reason others hate it, it's real, it's us.
Other cities have winky fun in their coffee shops and beer halls, spin political campaigns and define corporations, produce blockbusters and win Super Bowls. Meanwhile Philadelphia remains, unconcerned with others and itself, just being what it is. We're the true bad ass of American cities. Guys want to be us, chicks want to get with us. We're too cool to sit at the cool kids' table, we're in the parking lot smoking with the janitor.
That's us, and we're ****ing awesome.
*Thanks to Gladys on PhiladelphiaSpeaks.com for asking me to post this.
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