Citizen Wausau

A Site About Life in Wausau, Wisconsin

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The Trouble With Thanksgiving

by on November 29th, 2012

I live in Central Wisconsin, and I like living here.  I think that I have opportunities to do the things I love to do, be with the people that I care about, and really be happy.  But, during the two winter holidays (Christmas and Thanksgiving) I get bombarded with this idea that I am stupid, lame, do not know what fun is, am living a life with few choices in food, drink, culture, laughter, connection, happiness. I learn that my life sucks, and I am only happy because I am too stupid to know what actual happiness, fun, culture, drinking, live music or fun even is.

It happens every year during these times.  You get text messages, facebook messages, tweets, or actual phone calls from old friends who live someplace else who are coming home to be with their parents, extended family, or whatever….the call to GO OUT.   So, the nightlife is overrun by people from other towns, but these are old friends so I am thrilled to see them.

What I am not thrilled to do is spend an entire weekend talking about how lame Wausau is, and how much wherever is so much better.  Tell me, have you heard…

“I just could not live without a REAL sushi place!”

“How can you live here? There is not even a real grocery store.  Seriously I could not live without WHOLE FOODS!”

“I mean what are there, like 3 bars in this whole town, and they are all so (insert derogatory statement here)!”

“You cannot even get a good cup of coffee (insert fair trade, organic) here.”

“There is not one (paleo, raw, vegan, whole, slow) menu in any restaurant here.”

“I do not know why people even have cellphones here; there is no 4g (LTE).  Data is so slow.”

“No one in this town even uses (insert hot social media platform of the moment).  Facebook, ugh!”

“How does anyone do business here. There aren’t even any (start ups, VC’s)!”

“No public transit after 5?  I cannot wait to get home.”

“I cannot even find a yoga studio in Wausau on Google.”

I get it, you like where you live now.  That makes sense.  You grew up here, and you surely were tortured by the Grass is Greener theory.  That is absolutely something that makes sense to me.  But, let me clue you in on something…

As we sat at the Domino, or the Hiawatha, and you got drunker and louder and more obnoxious about how everything around you was lame, you were heard by people who call this place home.  Some people who choose to live here after living someplace else.  Some people who are raising their families here, who are enjoying their day to day life here.

Sure, of course we do not have a lot of stuff that maybe some others think is super important, but not all of us are somehow being held culturally hostage by whatever yardstick you want to judge human success by.

Look, I am not a rosy-eyed optimist; I think there is a lot in this town that I find objectionable.  But, when you show up for like two weeks a year, drink our coffee, beer, eat our food, and spend the whole time telling us how great Chicago is (just to be clear, Schaumberg is just barely Chicago), and how much you hate coming home, and how quaint (insert other demeaning word) it all is, just remember someone cooked that food, served that beer, owned that restaurant.

And when you leave, someone will eat, drink, laugh, fall in love, raise their kids, slow dance, create, invent, and grow up here.

Just like you did.

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