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Lovely, or lame?
Lovely, or lame?
Larry Johnson at Flickr

Op-Ed: Damn, but Denver Is Getting Lame

Denver has so many redeeming qualities. There are so many chill spots. The music scene is legitimate; it's remarkable how many big-name and small-name artists roll through Denver. But lately, the chill spots and the concerts are populated by rude douchebags. The caliber of people who are migrating to the city is low.

And, yeah, I know that this is common: All types of people move to big cities. The people moving to Denver are astoundingly similar, though. They are as follows:

• 21-to-28 years old
• College graduate
• White and upper class
• Moderately liberal OR libertarian but have conservative parents
• Know everything about weed but are not stoners
• Know everything about beer but are not drunks
• Love Molly and think it is a brand-new drug
• Love EDM and think it is a brand-new music genre
• Were not unpopular in high school or college
• Ski or snowboard because family vacationed in Colorado when they were young
• Know everything about Vail and tell you so, oblivious to the fact that I'm from here and have skied CO my whole life
• Pretend to be open-minded but harbor backwards views
• Love J Crew, fucking love it
• Too scared to migrate to a big city, but claim to be from a big city, despite actually growing up 100 miles away from one
• Have no idea how to interact w/black people or Hispanics

I'm just back from San Francisco, and my Lyft driver today was this seemingly dorky white dude. We get to talking, and he used to be an amateur boxer. He actually went to this boxing high school. Now, he "just dances." What kind of dance, you ask? Breakdancing and that Street Crew shit. The guy was kinda dorky, but he did listen to good music. I asked him where he was from, and whaddya know...he's from the Denver area. This guy had depth, he had a personality. There's more to him than meets the eye. He is Colorado to the core.

You don't meet Denver transplants like this. They never break the mold, they are exactly what they appear to be. There is no hidden anything. They are basic!!

The culture of Denver and Colorado, in general, is welcoming and carefree. We value a person's right to independence. We were the first state to legalize recreational weed, but we also have some of the loosest gun laws in the country. We're also one of the few states where you can legally ride your motorcycle without a helmet. We don't like people telling us what to do, and in turn, we respectfully refrain from telling others what to do. This incredible principle is our demise, as we let transplants do whatever the fuck they want.

Get ready to bitch, San Franciscans.
Get ready to bitch, San Franciscans.
sfmta.com

I was driving down 17th Avenue the other day and I saw three "W" flags within a span of six blocks. I'm not exaggerating, three of them! Chicago residents know what that flag represents; it's a Cubs thing. People come here and make no attempt to learn our culture because we do not stress it. There is no respect for the Colorado lifestyle. I don't need to be schooled on weed or told that there's a back part of Vail called Blue Sky Basin. I would never go to a San Francisco native and ask them if they've been to the Golden Gate Bridge. The thing that makes us Coloradans great is the thing that will ultimately be our downfall.

When I'm flying back to Denver, I'll walk through airport security, and I can always tell those people who will be on my flight. It's not necessarily what they're wearing, but that is part of it. More than anything, though, it's a flow and a swagger. Real Denverites and true Coloradans emanate positive vibes. I was wearing a Yellow Days shirt in the San Francisco airport, and this random 40-year old dude is walking by with his kid and he stops and says, "Nice shirt! I love Yellow Days." Sure enough, this guy was not only on my flight back to Denver, but he ends up sitting right next to me on the plane. Oh, and it probably goes without saying, but he was from Denver.

I was born in Virginia. I moved to Colorado when I was one, and other than a two-year stint in Missouri, I've spent all of my life in Colorado. Technically, I'm not a native, but I am a Colorado kid. I am Denver through and through. I graduated from Denver East and University of Colorado Boulder. I worked at the Cherry Cricket when I was in high school. I worked at Coors Field when I was in college.

Alas, I just moved to San Francisco. I am 32 and Colorado is all I know, it is home. But I cannot continue to tolerate the boring losers infiltrating my beloved home.  I hate being the guy who complains about transplants; I think that shit is weak. We should be flattered that people want to live in our great state. But I also have to call it like I see it.

This is me waving the white flag. Transplants, you win. I will now be part of the problem, and San Franciscans can bitch about me.

Want to respond to this piece? Post a comment or send an email to editorial@westword.com.

Westword occasionally publishes op-eds about issues of interest to Denver residents. Have one you'd like to submit? Send it to editorial@westword.com.

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