Hoosier loyalty not easily bought

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Thanks to fans and foes

 

Last month, as the rest of the

city was either excited or appalled about the upcoming Super

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

comfortable life.

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

job. Why?

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

transportation.

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

are 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

, 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.

Yup, I

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

heart.

It would take a lot more than a

few extra dollars to make me abandon that.

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