Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Did Chicagoland kill itself when I was sleeping?

Have you ever had one of those days, where you see something that hurts you, and it makes you want to type a rant online?

WELL this is one of those days.

I'm not going to tell you this is even a half-good piece, and I won't blame you if you hate this post.

But please believe me when I tell you, I am telling the truth and being honest.

Maybe honesty is my biggest downfall. It's the honest who die broke in the end.

I took this photo at 8:55 this morning. Anytime I am this far north, I try to get at least one nice shot of Chicago's Willis Tower... fuck that. It's the Sears Tower to me.

Sears was first on my mind.

The Sears in River Oaks Mall is closing. 

The Sears I grew up with. The Sears that granted me a business savvy look the very first time I went to apply for work ANYWHERE. The Sears my grandparents shopped at when my mom was a baby. The Sears my Great Grandpa saw being built. The very store my grandmother used to proudly live behind, before moving to a nicer place.

It's closing. And it's not alone.

See this picture? It's of a giant building I've always driven past in Oak Park. It used to house about 20 stories worth of lawyers, and the bottom of it was a big store.

Now? It's totally empty.

I woke up early this morning to a loud and sickening "THUD" sound. The lights flickered and some books flew from the shelf.

Was it an earthquake?


It was the sound of my neighbor's house being demolished.

Six houses are GONE now on the blocks away from the church. Funny that. Last November, everybody within five blocks of my house was at the church, praying for their homes and for this area. Now? Everyone's being foreclosed on, and the houses are dropping like flies.

Every third store from Northwest Indiana all the way through to Oak Park had a "For Lease" or "For Sale" sign. Many of the stores I grew up with in Chicago Ridge, Crestwood, Lansing and Calumet City are now boarded up or emptying out.

I want to be sad, I really do. I've never known a day without these places.

Can you imagine a Disney movie opening like this? No, really picture that.
1991, I remember seeing Beauty and the Beast on opening day. I leaned my face into my mom's stomach, telling my future baby brother all about this film.

The theater I saw this movie in? It's been closed since 1994. Nobody purchased it, so if you drive slow enough at the River Oaks Mall, you can still see a "Four Weddings and a Funeral" banner in the lobby.

Getting back to Beauty and the Beast, can you imagine Belle opening this film in Chicagoland?

♫ Little Town... it's a quiet village...
♪ Every day... like the one befooooooore
♫ Little town ~ full of little people....
♪ Waking uuuuup tooo saaaaayyy ..........


"Oh GAWD it's the welfare queen again!!"

"Get lost"

"Get a job!"

"Fucking whore!"

♫ There goes the racist with his Bush 89 sticker ~
♪ The balding mullet with a smeeeeelllll
♫ Every morning just the same ~
♪ Since the morning that we came
♫ To this poor provincial Hell

"What the fuck are YOU looking at?"

"Morning sir!"

"Where you think YOU'RE going?"

"To the Walgreen's. I just had the most wonderful ice cream, with chocolate and vanilla and-"

"The Walgreen's got torn down yesterday."

"Oh.. um oh dear... (Is this in the script) Ehm.. suppose you could show me where the K-Mart-"

"That's gone too."

".. The Dominick's?"

"It's an Ultra now, and they're closing."

"... Cub Food?"


"Oh um hmm... Maybe I could try the Jewel Osc-"

"It's an empty lot now, you want it? $50,000 cash foreclosure."

Worst.......... Disney opening...... ever, wouldn't it?

I wish to God that every single moron that has ever doubted me ~ even my own maternal grandmother ~ when I said "Nobody is hiring me" could see this.

Especially the selfish, lazy pricks at the WorkOne (which is now a Family Dollar) unemployment office, the food stamp assholes and the Government aid camps, who called me a "Lazy, stupid, good for nothing, wannabe welfare whore" could be forced to see the images I have today and eat shit.

That includes everyone who spends their days bitching and whining about people on food stamps ~ when they themselves are on the damn things!!

"MEH just get a job MEH MEH MEH Whore" I want them to take a drive though Chicagoland with me, and see these places. Every third building is gone, don't you think that is excessive?

I AM trying, I AM applying, these places are dying. Where the Hell am I supposed to get work from??

How the fuck is this "my" fault, when I've sent in application after application after application, only for these so-called businessmen to NEVER call or email me back, and then have these places fall backwards into the sea?

This shit started when Bush was in office.

During the Clinton era, there were open businesses open on every block, and everyone was hiring. You didn't need a credit score of 820 or a bachelor's degree in modern art, you needed to get your lazy ass off the couch, march down and apply. I'd kill for this to come back!

Now? Good lord, have you heard the excuses I've gotten?? I am not a religious person AT ALL, but I pray for anybody who has gotten the same excuses I have.

I'm over qualified.
I'm too skilled.
What do I mean I want to work hard? I must be a stalker bitch. CREEP!!
I have the right degree but not enough experience.
I have too much experience.
I dress too conservatively.
I don't dress conservative enough, what am I? A hooker?
I show up too early.
I didn't apply soon enough.
I applied too soon.
I call too often.
I don't call enough.

This is what I keep getting. Over and over.

So I try to make it as a cartoonist. Be unconventional, do what I love.

And always I'm told I'm not good enough ~ only to have another artists hired instead of me ~ who produces stick figures.

Yeah, those little doodles you did on a notepad when you wanted to leave school early as a child. The same design on the back of every soccer mom's car. THOSE things.

My "anime hybrid" style is not good enough, but your stick figures are??

Sorry, getting back to Chicagoland.

I was out of the house from 7 this morning until 6 this evening, looking at all of the towns I grew up in, when I wasn't on the East Coast.

My first apartment? Semi-exists with new owners. The floor I lived on burnt down years ago, so in it's place is a replica.

My second home? Boarded up when I was a teenager. It was a Sears home, built from a Sears kit in the 1920's. (Has Sears always been part of my life or what?)

My third home? There's a highway right where I used to have neighbors.... ok good riddance, that place was falling apart. But you see my point.

Everything, even wrestling tickets have doubled. Even the smallest shows want $25 for GA seats. Wrestling, my love and my vice. I can't even see my #1 sport around here. Ah, this is what it feels like to be stabbed in the heart.

After seeing so many "for sale" signs, dilapidated buildings, houses being torn down, and desolate areas where once was a bustling life, I tried looking for hope.

Instead? I found this, plastered all over Chicagoland:
On every fourth building, every 10th car.

This is what my Chicagoland is reduced to.

I want to be sad, I want to mourn the memories lost here.

But I wonder, did my Chicagoland do this to itself?

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