A Message
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Chicago - Nov. 20, 2021
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Chicago Lamely Welcomes Rosie O'Donnell To Town

Dear Rosie:

Despite our supposed, newfound world-class status, we are really still a lame cowtown with second-rate insecurities to match our obvious non-New York-, non-Los Angeles-ness.

Examples:

1. We have a well-compensated, relatively popular columnist here named Mary Schmich. When not churning out her umpteenth meditation on the weather, she writes things like this:

"Welcome to Chicago! We were really psyched to read in the Tribune the other day that you are getting such a warm bienvenidos from our frosty town as you inaugurate The Rosie Show.

"But as your new neighbors, Rosie, we would like to offer you some advice: Do not go around saying things like, and I quote, "The only thing I'm afraid of is this 'snowmageddon' winter thing, but my garage is apparently heated, which is essential, I've heard."

"A heated garage? Essential? You really heard that?

"Here's what's essential in a Chicago winter: a snow scraper.

"Scraper on one end, brush on the other. Plastic. Cheap. And don't forget to do the side mirrors!

"Gloves are essential, too, Rosie. And a humidifier, at least if you don't want to scratch your skin to confetti. And a coat that covers your butt - an absolute must. Man, I cannot tell you how many newcomers - I was one once - have failed to understand the importance of the fully insulated derriere."

Oh, it's a weather column after all!

"But a heated garage?

"Rosie, the essence of living happily in Chicago is to not act too high and mighty, unless you are the mayor. And even mayors have to pretend sometimes like dey're one of da people even when dey ain't."

Because we don't have spoiled, rich people who use heated garages in Chicago.

We're just a bunch of working stiffs!

Then again, as an Urban Turf post from last winter shows, this isn't a new trope for Schmich.

"Mary Schmich's recent article in the Tribune about heated sidewalks discussed their status as a luxury item (albeit a convenient one) that belies Chicago's 'gritty soul' (after all, we're tough, we can deal with a little snow). 'Chicagoans are attached to their identities as shovelers, as people who bravely battle the beasts of winter. How soft would we grow if we let sidewalks vanquish ice and snow for us?' Schmich wrote.

"However, if you're in the market for a new home and do not necessarily self-identify as someone who handles snow with hardiness and panache, be prepared to pay for the luxury - most properties UrbanTurf has found that have heated sidewalks or driveways are in the six-figure range, like this Lincoln Park single family home at 1814 North Burling Street. With four bedrooms and ten-foot ceilings, the heated driveway is a nice extra touch."

Schmich apparently hasn't caught on to the global elite that come with a global city. In her world, we're all still a bunch of Ditkas, when in reality Chicago is comprised of an upper crust whose wealth mostly derives from inheritance, financial services and corporate professionals of a certain rank; a shrinking middle-class of upwardly mobile immigrants and downwardly mobile public service workers and corporate drones; and a rapidly expanding lost class often referred to as the "flexible" part of the labor force. Da Bears was 25 years ago when industrial relocation was first underway.

But then, which part of Chicago does Schmich hail from?

"Two of the houses across from my place have heated sidewalks," she wrote last February.

Oh. Rosie's part!

2. From The Central Lake View Merchants Association e-mail newsletter:

"Special thanks to all the businesses who donated items for Rosie's welcome basket."

A welcome basket?

It gets worse.

"Due to the overwhelming response from 81 businesses, we ended up filling an entire van full of gifts!"

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Oh my Lord.

"We appreciate our PR firm Motion for setting up the contacts with her studio and allowing us to help welcome Rosie to the neighborhood."

A gift (van) rustled up through a PR firm! Maybe we're big-city after all . . .

"Rosie couldn't believe how generous all of the businesses were, and will be sending out individual thank you cards."

She just couldn't believe it!

Like, she probably got the van and went, "Are you freakin' kidding me? What is this, Des Moines?"

3. Another Schmich column!

"Follow these readers' tips, Rosie, and you're on your way to being one of us."

Or ignore these tips and maintain some sliver of respectability!

"In case you haven't noticed, Rosie," Schmich writes, and can she call you Rosie?, "the only thing Chicagoans debate more than politics and baseball is pizza. Except when they're debating whether ketchup belongs on hot dogs."

At least in media tropeville. Some of us who have lived here for at least, oh, 20 years can't recall really ever debating about pizza at all, though at least four polite discussions of the merits of various pizza places have taken place without incident.

Then again, I haven't been to the Billy Goat in a long time!

4. Rosie's new home in Chicago includes a home theater, a sports bar and a 2,000 square-foot rooftop deck.

Maybe invite your new pal Mary over and pretend you're "real Chicagoans."

-

Comments welcome.



Permalink

Posted on October 19, 2011


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