Well shoot. My small-ish hometown of Hickory, NC is finally featured in the Washington Post…but this, my friends, is NOT good news. No, similar to a good 80% of all stories in big papers around the US at this point in time, Hickory shows up in yet another article about unemployment in the economic crisis.
Just as musical wonder Wesley Willis ends each song with a motto (“Wheaties – breakfast of champions”), I have spent the last 12 years of my life marketing Hickory as the “furniture capital of the world.” Well, the Post – in too many words, I might add – basically conveys to the reader in this article that China has taken all of the worth out of Hickory and the surrounding area. What’s left is an unemployment rate of 15%, vacant textile mills and furniture factories, and still far too many restaurants and steakhouses per capita.
And that’s it. My tagline for Hickory is irrelevant. Perhaps I could say something like: “Hickory – WAS the freakin furniture capital of the world until China thought they could do it better.” Just doesn’t have quite the same ring… The tagline is gone, the jobs are gone, and the people are CONFUSED. The Post’s article is sprinkled with what must be the best quotes they could muster up from Hickory’s finest:
“Now what is everyone supposed to do?”
“The people in the think tanks keep saying we are going to become — what’s the term? — an ‘information and services’ economy… That doesn’t seem to be working out too good.”
“At my age, I didn’t want to go back to school… But I looked around and everything was $8, $9, $10 an hour. I said, ‘Hell, I’m worth more than that.’ “
“I wish they’d just flush the whole NAFTA idea and tell all the other countries the heck with you.”
And of course, my favorite…
“We don’t want to lose our home… I’m just not seeing where the jobs are.”
Someone needs to tell this poor lady that there are no jobs. Anywhere. (Except, maybe, North Dakota…) Poor Hickory. Poor, poor Hickory. People are feeling good about the supposed “end” of this economic crisis, but as the resident pessimist, I feel as though it is my job to let you know that we are nowhere near the end. N Street Village is seeing an increase in numbers of homeless women almost daily, and pretty soon, it sounds like there will be a great job market for me to work with the homeless back in Hickory. <sigh>
To read the article for yourself, click here.