There are a variety of culprits they’ve determined responsible for keeping them from returning home, the same problems cited by wandering locals for decades. There are absolutely no jobs; the politicians are corrupt; downtown crime is rampant; the city schools are terrible; the winters are unbearable; economic development is lagging; there’s just not enough exciting things to do in the dilapidated region. Yet still, despite this laundry list of complaints, natives gravitate to foreign pubs on NFL Sundays to seek out allies who want to wax poetic about their birthplace and roots. Buffalo is the greatest place on Earth, but they’ll never move back.
Because they can’t.
Was I in any of these cities on Sunday to hear these conversations? No. But, for the last 11 years, I was leading them from a variety of barstools in
The longer you’re away from
This was something I had to consider last spring, back when I was presented the unexpected chance to replace my idea of
Eventually, I accepted this truth and decided to leave the idea behind. In July, I packed a Budget truck and came back to
Now, this isn't the part of the essay where I transition into a section that details how the streets of
But, on one of these upcoming Sundays—just as the Cowboys or Dolphins raise your anger to hallucinogenic levels—maybe you'll reach the point that I reached, one where you can no longer deny the intrinsic connection that silently nags; a clear moment when you're finally sick of complaining about inaction when the opportunity for action is within your grasp. Maybe you’re a cook in
When you get here, you’ll knuckle down, network, and find a job because you have to, just like you would have to in any other city. It'll be a risk, but finding a job in any city these days is perilous If you can’t find something accommodating, you can tap into the experience, ingenuity and independence you’ve developed elsewhere and add your own business to the
After years spent praying, I finally left the barstool and came home. You can too.
(Author’s Note: This entry was finished while listening to Dan Auerbach’s “Goin’ Home”. And yes, I purposely waited until I was almost done to listen to this obviously appropriate song.)