“These people here are lower than maggot shit.”
My friend was royally pissed. She had been on the phone with a customer service rep with some local company. I knew without having to ask her – the “these people” she was spouting off at? South Floridians.
How can you stand living among these people? my friend, only an infrequent visitor here, asked.
It ain’t easy, I told her. In fact, it’s downright nearly impossible. But I didn’t relocate to South Florida in the mid-90?s for the charm of its locals, I assured her. I live here for the mostly-hospitable climate, even if the people are less so: Love the climate, hate the people.
Unfortunately, living among and enduring the ass-wipes that comprise a good lot of the local population is the steep, sacrificial price I must pay to live here and be able to enjoy that climate. It’s not such a balanced trade-off, but I’ll take it anyway – albeit with clenched teeth.
No, I told her, I don’t much like the people here, either. In fact, I often loathe and detest them. There’s hardly a redeemable quality about them. Give me a year and a day and I just might be able to come up with one.
The qualities for which words do come to mind? Well, there’s ignorant. Irresponsible. Mean. Haughty. Cold. Arrogant. Shady. Duplicitous. Lazy. Indolent. Uncouth. Self-centered. Feeble-minded. Moronic. Indolent. Lackadaisical. Slow. Unenlightened. Shallow. Egotistic. Supercilious. Fake. Half-baked. Superficial. Doltish. Boorish. Crude. Uncultured. Vulgar. Phony. Inconsiderate. How much time we got?
Are all people here like that? she inquired.
Not all of them, I excepted. There are about twelve left who are half-way decent.
Actually, I like the locals who are the native born-and-breds of the region. Plus those who settled here so long ago they can remember when the downtown Dade County Courthouse or the Freedom Tower were the tallest buildings, and no structure came even so much as close to blocking out the sun on Miami Beach. As I’ve come to know, these are about the best of the breed. Far politer, smarter, and more civil denizens.
Rather, it’s the transplants – those who have immigrated here from elsewhere in the nation and from abroad – who are the snakes in the pit. Flies in the ointment. Dung on the shoe. Being a transplanted snowbird myself, I am more pointedly aware of my own origins here as an outsider. But with time, I have come to identify and empathize more with those native born-and-breds and early settlers than with relative newcomers as me.
But, alas, it seems that the South Florida natives and I are outnumbered by too many of the ass-wipes. Hence my easy tendency to lump all South Floridians together generally and condemn the whole lot outright.
Yes, I told my friend, these people are stupid. These people are rude. These people are, without a doubt, evolutionary degenerates. The intellectually lowest common denominator maggot shits in the U.S., if not the world. And, yes, lower than maggot shit. If only I could wave a magic wand and replace the bulk of them with an influx of nicer, better people from finer parts of America and the world.
Then where would I transplant the South Floridians? she quizzed me.
After momentary pause: “Antarctica sounds nice.”
Without the thermal housing to make more bearable their stay. And without provisions. Ouch.
South Floridians are, by and large, a dumb lot. My own deduction on this is that there must be something about the proximity a people are to the equator that makes them dumb and dumber. All this sun exposure must fry the brain cells of those whose brains weren’t already scrambled to begin with.
And speaking of that, try this one on for size: You know that big Medicare bamboozlement the feds busted last week right here in Miami? The one involving American Therapeutic Corp. and its allegedly fraudulent billings for mental health services? The most eye-popping fact I culled from news reports – even more than the $200 million alleged to have been stolen – was that 56% of Medicare’s entire nationwide reimbursements to mental health centers last year went to facilities right here in South Florida.
Either we’ve got a lot of mentally ill people among us – perhaps proof in itself that living among South Floridians really does tax one’s sanity! – or there are a lot of crooks among us. Or maybe both.
When I think of metropolises of the intelligent I think of Boston, the Big Apple, San Fran, Chicago. But Miami? No way. Connoisseurs of the cerebral arts we aren’t. This was brought home to me by the publisher of the first magazine I worked for upon arriving in Miami. Think of how many bookstores there are in all of SoBe, he asked me.
(For this, one could count on the fingers of one hand, with fingers to spare.)
Now, he said, consider how many body-building gyms there are.
That said it all.
Tuesday, of course, is Election Day. We are days from learning what, exactly, this Angry America we live in really thinks of a lot of things. Obama. The Democrats. The Republicans. Millionaires and billionaires blowing their fortunes buying, er, seeking elective office. And not the least of which is the fascination du jour: the Tea Party movement.
We’re about to find out what Americans really think of the Tea Party as they step into their polling places on Tuesday and pore over their ballots in silence, with no Mama Grizzly Palin or Papa Bear Beck hovering near. Are Americans dumb enough to put power into the hands of wackos like Alaska’s Joe Miller, Arizona’s Sharron Angle, Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, and Kentucky’s Rand Paul? Will Florida elect its own Tea Party wingnut, Marco Rubio? And another Tea Party fave, Rick Scott? We’ll know soon enough.
And all this as we approach the tenth anniversary of the Election Florida Would Rather Forget. When a bunch of elderly blue hairs in Palm Beach County – in what would make for a hilarious Rube Goldberg cartoon if only the ending weren’t so unfunny – (A) misread their butterfly ballots and (B) accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan, thinking they were actually voting for Al Gore, and (C) inadvertently put the nation on hold for 36 days, provoking (D) the strange intervention of one Katherine “Does my mascara look all right for TV and is my hair in place?” Harris, and inviting (E) lawyers from all over to crawl out of the woodwork for both sides as the whole election became a court case that (F) got lobbed from one Florida appeals court to another before (G) bouncing into the U.S. Supreme Court, with (H) a verdict that (I) gave the White House to the contestant with the fewer popular votes, eventually (J) sending this country hurtling toward two Middle East wars, a runaway deficit, a housing market collapse, a Great Recession, a banking crisis, and a last-ditch bailout.
Thus, our Flori-duh became a national – no, make that international – laughingstock.
True, it was the electoral votes of the entire state, but – really, people – it was South Florida’s doing. The folks up in the Panhandle, in Jacksonville, in Orlando, in Tampa and elsewhere didn’t fuck up the state’s result. We down here did. Right here along the tri-county Duh Coast.
If America steps into the voting booth next week and pulls the lever for dumbness, cast the blame on South Florida. After all, we showed the nation, big-time, ten years ago, how it’s done – with a unique brand of dumb the comparison to which would make even a maggot cringe.