FLINT - Portfolio.com, which is a business website of some sort, recently named the Detroit metro area as the most stressful area to live and work in the country.
My general reaction: Us? Stressed? Why would they assume we're stressed just because we lead the nation in nearly every possible negative statistic, including, but not limited to, unemployment, crime, obesity, clouds, lawn grubs, potholes, and, for all we know, halitosis? (Ohio would tell us, right?)
Pretty major leap of faith, if you ask me. I mean, just because our auto companies had to be bailed out,ourLegislature can't decide on lunch much less a budgetand our out-of-state relatives routinely ask if they can send us food, candles and blankets that doesn't mean we're losing sleep or hair.
Don't be ridiculous. We lost those things years ago.
Personally, I'm not stressed, although I swear to God if some nitwitgoing 50 mph in the fast lane while I'm making the hour-long commutehome tonight from the job I'm falling down grateful to have, I'm going to tailgate him soclose he'll be able to count my nose hairs.
So, OK, perhaps we're a wee bit edgy. To be honest, if the rest of the nation knew how keyed up we truly are, it wouldcut off coffee supplies to Michigan. Caffeine could be the thing that makes us snap and invade neighboring states to take their women (or men, if you prefer)their jobs and their foodstuffs.
And I don't think Portfolio.com knows the half of it. In making its list, it considered statistics on unemployment, heart attacks, poverty, crime, housing costs and so on. But they left out things such as:
The Detroit Lions. I know some of you annoying glass-half-full types are already saying, "But they're better! Why, they may win four games this season!"
Which is sort of like saying a skunk stinks less if it uses deodorant. Not to be harsh or anything.
The roads.Seemingly every road and bridge in the state is underconstruction, thanks to federal stimulus dollars. That's a good thing, in a sense. But considering what it cost us to get those stimulus dollars - in my case, half of my 401k - it hardly seems worth it.
Our homes. Values have dropped so fast that most Michiganders, I would bet, are underwater on their homes, usually through no fault of their own. Underwater homes are a big reason the reason isn't recovering. And yet no one says or does anything about it.
Asian carp. You laugh, butyou think you're stressed now? Just wait until you can't swim in Lake Michigan without worrying whether one of those ugly suckers is about to go all "Jaws" on you.
So, yeah, Portfolio.com, we're a bit stressed here in Michigan. What do you want us to do about it - statewide aromatherapy? Sorry, not practical. Plus, I hate patchouli.
But here's an idea: You want to do something for our collective stress level in the metro Detroit area?
Publish fewer studies talking about how stressed out we are.
EDITOR'S NOTE - Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist for The Flint Journal, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. For more of his work, visit his blog at blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/aheller. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.