Last month, as the rest of the
city was either excited or appalled about the upcoming Super Bowl
Bowl, I faced an intensely personal decision. In the span of two weeks, two
job offers came in from out of town.
Both would have doubled my
salary, although that's not saying a whole lot. Although the pay increase
wouldn't have put me into the 1 percent, it would have let me live a much more
The catch was that the more
comfortable lives being offered me were in Dallas and Milwaukee. I've seen the
Zapruder film of John F. Kennedy's assassination, so I know how Dallas treats
visitors. Milwaukee I only know from Laverne and Shirley, which didn't give me
a whole lot on which to base my decision.
My wife and I talked it over. We
ran through the math. We calculated the costs, both financial and emotional, of
suddenly picking up and moving to a new city. Even though I'd be making more money,
her contribution to the household income would be zero, at least until she
found a job.
I even priced apartments and
extended stay hotel rooms in Milwaukee and Dallas. I read about the relative
merits of each city. I even asked my Facebook friends, almost all
of whom urged me to go.
In the end, I decided to stay in
Indianapolis, despite losing the prospect of a better-paying and more secure
The easy answer would be to say
because my family is here. But, truthfully, I'm benignly estranged from most of
my family. My wife's parents live a few hours away from Indy and she didn't
want to be away from them. But she could deal with that.
The truth is, I chose to stay in
Indianapolis because, to me at least, it's the greatest city in the world, full
of everything a person could desire in a city except effective public
I've traveled to many of the
great cities of the world but only Indianapolis is my home. I am impressed by
the museums and architecture in Chicago, for example, but that city has a nasty
undercurrent to it that simply doesn't exist here.
New York is vast and amazing but
friendliness and solicitude is in short supply. New York isn't designed to be
friendly, or even convenient. It doesn't care about you.
But Indianapolis, at least on
some level, does care, a fact that surprised many of the journalists who
descended upon the city for the Super Bowl. Ordinary people will go out of
their way to be helpful in a way that simply doesn't occur in many cities.
Even our war monuments
monumentsare friendly and functional. Our city forefathers sure had an
obsession with war and building structures to honor soldiers killed in combat,
but at least our monuments have been converted into public gathering spots. Monument Circle
Circle, which I see every day from my office window, is one of the nation's
great community centers, full of life and action.
I couldn't move away from
Indianapolis because the allure of this community exceeds the monetary gain I
would have had with the other jobs. I would miss the Pacers,
my beloved hometown team. I have decades of association with the Pacers, dating
back to the time when George McGinnis was dunking a red, white and blue ball on
the court at the State Fair Coliseum.
I have seen this city change from
a crumbling, decaying hulk into a bright, innovative metropolis. When I was
young, downtown seemed a dangerous, dirty place to be. Now it's one of the
safest, cleanest downtown areas in the nation. We rightly take pride in this
fact even as we try and improve neglected and blighted areas that still exist.
This is a resilient city that has
survived bad leadership and still thrives. It is a city with a future and is
poised to become even more vibrant as the economic recovery continues.
A coworker of mine urged me to
go, saying the only valid reasons to stay would be if I had children I'd never
see or if I were on home detention and couldn't legally leave. I have neither
and so he questioned my sanity for remaining in Indianapolis.
may have been a fool to pass up two career opportunities in the span of a few
weeks. There may yet be another opportunity that might lure me away from the
city I cherish so much. But it would have to be an exceptionally good one to
pull me away from Indianapolis, a city with flaws and blemishes but also a good
It would take a lot more than a
few extra dollars to make me abandon that.