You know how black people can use the n-word freely without any sort of criticism, but no other race can? It's the same phenomenon with almost any group, including fat people. They can make fat jokes to each other, but if a skinny person does it, they are a dick. And let's not forget about our favorite Half-Norwegian, Half-Korean Transsexual friends. It's all fun and games for them when they say the r-word to each other, but don't you dare say it to them if you're an outsider.
I feel like this same dynamic applies to being a Philadelphian. As someone who has lived in Philadelphia his entire life - right now, a block outside of it for tax reasons (f*** you, city government) - I think I can discuss how much Philadelphia sucks without any other Philadelphians being offended. If I were from Kansas or California, or wherever, I doubt I could do this without receiving any sort of negative feedback, but a Philadelphian can't be criticized for ragging on his own hometown.
That's precisely what this entry will be about - how much Philadelphia sucks. And I'm not the only one who feels this way. My friend Body Burner once said this to our mutual buddy Angry Asian Man, who happens to be from New York, "Here's the difference between Philadelphians and New Yorkers. We know our city sucks, and we admit it. You New Yorkers don't know your city sucks. New York sucks, but you think you're cool because you're from it. You're not cool. You're from New York, and New York is trash."
Body Burner is absolutely right. There is nothing worse than a native New Yorker because they're so pretentious. They're so completely clueless that they come from a terrible city, loaded with crime, douchey hipsters who think they're good at art/music, pollution, high taxes and the abomination known as Jay-Z. Ugh, who the hell would want to live there; let alone visit there? I'm proud to say that I've never been to New York in my life despite just being a 2-hour drive away.
Now, you might be wondering why I'm bagging on New York, when I'm not from there. It goes what I wrote against in my opening paragraph about being able to make fun of something only if you're a part of it. Uhh... have you read Jerks of the Week? I make fun of everyone, and I don't care. New Yorkers needed to hear this because they're so clueless about how disgusting their city is. In effect, this is a public service announcement. You're welcome, New Yorkers.
I want to concentrate on Philly though, and why it sucks. Of course, I've already written about why downtown is miserable nearly five years ago (has it really been that long?). If you're too lazy to click the link, it's basically the same reasons why New York sucks, minus Jay-Z. Not having Jay-Z here is a huge plus, and it's probably the biggest factor why I've chosen to stay in the Philadelphia area rather than move to New York. That, and I don't feel like paying $500,000 per month for a rat-infested apartment just so I can experience the dreadful New York lifestyle.
You might be wondering why I'm staying in the Philadelphia area. Well, my girlfriend, parents and friends are all here. I work from home - this is my full-time job, for those wondering, and as I'm typing this in my pajamas - so if I moved somewhere else, how would I meet anyone? It's not like I could go out with coworkers. I barely see my employees as it is - they work from their own homes as well - so I'd essentially be a bigger hermit than I am now if I moved anywhere.
I did have to move out of the city though. The taxes were ridiculous. Not only were they high, but I had to pay an entire year's worth of taxes to Philadelphia a year in advance because I am a "business." How stupid is that? My first complete year doing this as a full-time gig was 2008. When I met with my accountant in April 2009, I was absolutely appalled that I had to pay both 2008 and 2009 taxes to the city. I was just starting out, not even three years removed from graduating college, so I didn't have much money in my bank account then. I literally had to completely empty it just so I could pay the city.
And for what? Our crime rate is absurd; there are parts of North Philly where you will literally die if you stand there for 10 minutes. Our education system sucks because most Philadelphia students get pregnant at 13. Our transportation system sucks because the trains run once per hour, and everything shuts down at 12:30 a.m., so if you go to a downtown bar, you have no choice but to risk a DUI.
Despite all of this, Philadelphia is on the verge of bankruptcy. The corrupt idiots in the government confiscate all of the money and then raise taxes when they realize they can't pay anything. As a consequence, businesses - like mine - move out of the city because there's just no benefit of living in it.
Unfortunately, crappy Philadelphians still affect my life. Here are a few examples:
Watching the Philadelphia nightly news is depressing. I went to Penn State for six years, and the news they have there is markedly different. The top story in Central Pennsylvania towns will be something like, "Mrs. Johnson's cat got stuck in a tree again. Our brave firefighters were able to retrieve the feline. Unfortunately, Mrs. Johnson is senile, so she didn't even realize the cat was missing." Ooohhh, how exciting.
That story wouldn't make the Philadelphia nightly news. Not in a thousand years. The top story here isn't about someone dying; it's about how many people died. "Three teenagers were gunned down in a North Philadelphia neighborhood" is commonplace. "A mother and her newborn were stabbed to death in a West Philadelphia park." Yawn. "A gang is going around and lighting homeless people on fire." Happens like every week.
Do you understand now why I wasn't very ecstatic to pay a year's worth of taxes in advance to this crummy city?
Anyway, one unique story recently that barely made the A-block went something like this:
A black teenager is at large tonight. This teen, who is about 13 or 14 years old, has been groping unsuspecting women. This black teen typically grabs a woman's rear end and runs away. Five women have been groped thus far, and those are the only ones we know of. If you see a black teen who resembles this picture, please call your local law enforcement.
You know, for all the murder, rape and theft that goes on in the city, you'd think we wouldn't be as concerned about a pervy teen groper. In fact, I found it amusing that there was a 13-year-old kid running around the city, touching women's butts.
In fact, if I were a woman, and some teen touched my butt, I'd be flattered. I'd know that I had a nice butt. If my butt didn't get groped, however, I'd feel sad. Now that I think about it, I feel like the women who didn't get their butts groped are the ones who want this kid arrested. They're just jealous that they don't have nice butts.
Is this kid even worth arresting anyway? I feel like he's harmless. In fact, what he's doing is pretty commonplace for a teenager. Think back to when you were 13. When I hung out with my friends then, I played sports, hung out at the mall and bought baseball cards. Groping butts could have easily been one of our activities. I'm actually ashamed that we didn't grope any butts, now that I think of it. Doing so would've made for a very pleasant afternoon. I could have easily called my buddy and asked, "Hey, Frank, want to play basketball, then go to the card store and then touch women's butts?" Sounds like a perfectly normal afternoon for two 13-year-olds.
Unfortunately, I am now past my prime, so I can't grope butts. Adults can't do that without being arrested for something called sexual harassment. How absurd.
I feel like the cut-off limit for groping butts is probably 16. If you do so when you're younger than 16, you're just being a cute kid. If you're 16-plus and grope butts, you're a sexual deviant - unless you're a female. Then you can grope all the butts you want. Damn cruel world and your double standards!
So, live it up, kid. You have three more years in which you can grope all the butts you want. Make the most out of it, and please grope some for me and my deprived childhood, OK?
This occurred a while ago because How I Met Your Mother was still on. That was a much simpler time. I'd do anything to go back. A world in which I didn't make the How I Met Your Mother finale the Jerk of the Year quite yet was much more tranquil. The HIMYM finale ruined everything. Did you know suicides have doubled since that episode? I found that fact in a Wikipedia entry that I edited, so it must be true.
Anyway, a new episode was airing, but CBS cut to a news update right in the middle of it. The words "Amber Alert" flashed onto the screen. Completely frustrated, I yelled in agony, "F*** YOU AMBER, WHOEVER THE F*** YOU ARE!!!"
CBS continued with its story: They had a video camera capturing a Muslim woman dressed in one of those black ghost costumes taking a 5-year-old girl from a school in a ghetto Philly neighborhood. CBS then pleaded for anyone with knowledge of where this woman - or "anyone who fit her description" - or little girl could possibly be to call 911 immediately.
Anyone who fit the woman's description? A Muslim woman wearing all black? Gee whiz, I wonder where I could find one of those... or one billion of those? Seriously, there are hundreds of thousands of Muslim women wearing black costumes in public in this city. I know this sounds racist because I'm stating that all Muslim women look the same, but I don't care: They all do look the damn same because they completely cover themselves up. How are you supposed to tell one apart from the other hundred thousand?
In other words, good luck finding Amber.
I've always wondered about this costume phenomenon. Mostly, I don't understand why male criminals don't dress up like Muslim women. Think about it: If you're a male criminal aspiring to rob a bank, just dress like a Muslim woman. Once you take the money and run out of the building, ditch your black ghost costume. The police will be looking for a Muslim woman, but you're a dude, so they won't even suspect you. This sounds like a foolproof plan to me.
Now that I think about it, perhaps a Muslim woman didn't even kidnap Amber. Maybe it was a guy who had the same idea I did. He grabbed a black ghost costume at the local Halloween costume, went into a school and then nabbed Amber in broad daylight.
I'd say this was genius, but why, aside from Jerry Sandusky-type reasons, would a man wearing a Muslim woman costume kidnap a kid? Why would you want to deal with a 5-year-old girl? All she'll do is poop and pee and cry for mommy the entire time. Before long, she'll annoy this cross-dressing guy so much that he'll want to give her back, rendering this Amber Alert completely useless.
Thanks for ruining my How I Met Your Mother episode, CBS. This one, and the finale.
Speaking of 5-year-old girls, there was one at the local Wawa at 2 a.m. recently. I went there for some milk - the parking lot sucks, so I didn't want to deal with it when there were cars there in the morning - and I saw a middle-aged, chubby bald man there with his 5-year-old daughter. And I'll repeat: At 2 freaking a.m.!
Why the hell would you drag your daughter to Wawa so late at night? OK, maybe he's a single dad who didn't want to leave his girl at home alone, but that's what alarm systems are for, buster.
Anyway, this guy was literally buying the entire store. He continuously brought all sorts of items to the cashier, and before long, he had a pyramid of goods. It took the cashier about five minutes to scan everything, and it ended up being in the $255 and change. What was this guy doing, preparing for the end of the world? And should I have been doing the same?
Anyway, what happened next is absolutely unreal: This guy reached into his pocket, pulled out a $5 bill and handed it to the cashier.
Cashier: Sir, this all comes out to $255.
Guy: But this is all I have!
This is all I have!?!? You didn't consider this when you were carrying countless items to the register, all while making me wait in line?
Cashier: Sir, it's $255, so you need $250 more.
Guy: Please, it's all I have!
Cashier: I don't know what I can possibly do.
Guy: I only have $5 and I need all of this!
Cashier: I can't give it to you for only $5.
Guy: Please! Please!!!
Here's the kicker: The little girl saw a pack of candy beneath the counter. She grabbed and asked, "Can we get this too!?" The guy took the candy from her, handed it to the cashier and said, "This too."
This too!?!?!? What!?
This man begged and pleaded for another five minutes before the cashier cleared everything away and allowed me to pay for my milk. It took me 15 or so minutes just to buy milk, but seeing all of this was well worth it.
Now that I think about it, maybe this is the same man who kidnapped that little girl. Perhaps he also dressed in a black ghost costume and robbed a bank. That's why he thought he had all of this money, but he foolishly left all of it in the costume he ditched while trying to elude the cops.
Holy crap, I found the guy who kidnapped Amber!
I considered calling the police for a brief moment, but I decided against it. Take that, CBS. Maybe next time you shouldn't ruin my show.