html xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' xmlns:expr='http://www.google.com/2005/gml/expr'> Lounging at the Waldorf: Sweden = Suicide, Seattle = Rain

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Sweden = Suicide, Seattle = Rain

The other day I overheard a man on the street who looked to be about 22 or so state with all the confidence of a 22 year old that Sweden has high incidents of suicide because of the long, dark winters. This isn't a new thing to say. I've heard it many times since my teenage years when all things disturbing really caught my attention and brought a macabre twinkle to my eye.

Sweden = suicide.

I accepted it as true. Hell, I wanted it to be true! What dramatic possibilities! An entire country of tragic civil servants, riding bikes, shunning bras, and courting death. Wah ha ha ha ha!

Only one problem: it's not true. I would have thought that with the advent of the Internet and smart phones that the kids today wouldn't keep passing along the same old misinformation. But, we're only human and as us humans know, old habits die hard.

And for the Goth teen in you, the rankings are Greenland 1 while the US is 34 and Sweden is 35. Naturally, I think the misinformation is probably distributed by Swedes themselves so you won't come to their country where they're toiling night and day, plotting to take over the world!

Here's another - in a conversation about livable cities, I said I thought Seattle or Portland would be nice places to build a life as they're liberal leaning, not so dependent on cars, are neither too big nor too small, etc. The person, who has spent a great deal of life living in a city he can't afford, shut it down with, "A lot of rain."

Seattle = rain.

That's the word on the street. But like the suicide rates of Sweden, it's not true. Turns out Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami, New York, Boston, Akron, and Savannah all have more rain than Seattle. Sadly, this person could probably live a better life elsewhere if only he were open to the possibility of living a better life elsewhere. But there's always a belief, a theory, an excuse.

All this got me thinking thinking about all the times I've let half truths and hearsay make decisions for me. The times when I've believed in a person or place or "fact" without anything more than repetition to back it up.

The saying is "Ignorance is bliss" but really ignorance is ignorance.

Señor Salme
Señor Salme



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