Illinois is okay, I guess.

I was born in Illinois. I’ve lived my entire life here. Chances are good I’ll end my days being an Illinois resident, barring some changes in the next 8-9 years. I don’t know how that makes me feel. At least not yet.

When I was a kid, we had to do an exercise – draw a picture of what we were going to be when we grew up. A tough thing to ask any kid that age, but I gave it a whirl, drawing my interpretation of a comedian. Adorned in a long gray overcoat and matching fedora, Future Me avoided falling anvils and a piano before a crudely scribbled audience.

20-odd years later I did a pair of stand-up shows and discovered that I’m funny, but maybe not that funny. Not everybody funny. And I was okay with that. Might do it again, but it’s not a career path that would take me out of the state toward greener pastures.

At 18, I perused several stands at a career fair-type deal at my local community college. The Radio/TV Club caught my eye. After 5 years, I learned a lot and am apparently quite adept at the profession.

I worked for a radio station during one drunken college summer. I got fired. They were all assholes at that station anyway.

Several podcasts later, I’ve accepted that it may not be for me. Not ruling it out, but the time definitely isn’t right.

At 25 or so, my bandmates and I gathered ’round a computer, perusing ideal houses we could afford in Los Angeles. The band was going to make it, and if we committed enough, we’d take LA by storm.

Things fell apart and the band didn’t work out. It was an amazing time of my life, but it ended in a ho-hum fashion. That’s how it goes sometimes.

Here I am at 31-going-on-32, working and living near Champaign, IL. There’s a decent mix of bigger-city elements here; the college keeps the area youthful.

My job as a helpdesk rep is steady and my co-workers amazing, but my heart doesn’t always feel content with fixing laptops. What should I be doing? Am I out of time to grow? Am I too lazy? All the kinds of questions that ring existential. Simultaneously universal and first-world in category, I often quell the voices and find comfort in my simple life.

After all, it could always be worse.

Illinois has some upsides. The weather is, for the most part, decent. Each season feels unique and full of character. The people that populate it are no better or worse than anywhere else. We famously have very little accent, depending on which part of the state you call home.

Our state mineral is blue collar in utility. Our state animal is routinely run over or shot. Our state bird is one of 7 states that uses the same stupid bird.

Our flag is generic and severely dated.

According to residents south of I-80, Chicago is corrupt, violent, and elite; according to Chicago, residents south of I-80 are ignorant, stupid, and racist. Both sides, like almost any issue, are right and wrong about all facets, but will argue their sides until the end of time anyway.

Thank God for Abraham Lincoln. Otherwise all Illinois would be known for is Al Capone and Michael Jordan.

That said, I thoroughly enjoy the sunsets. I guess I’ll stay for those. At least for awhile. Plus Champaign is getting a Portillo’s and an Oberweis, so now is definitely not the time to leave.

Anyone need their laptop fixed?

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