A while back, I made a promise that I'd try to showcase some cool things taking shape in and around Columbus. Well, here we are, only 2 entries deep into this “irregular feature” and already I'm gonna complain. I guess I can't help it—it's in my nature.
A bit of background information is probably called-for (for those of you who aren't from Columbus, which is probably the majority of you.) The city of Columbus—like many other cities across this fair nation—has, of late, been much-concerned with the issue of retaining and attracting cool, smart, young and preferably attractive people to live and work here. Yes, the fabled Creative Class of effete hipsters and home-improving gays.
The city cares about it so much, in fact, that they hired a consultant, Rebecca Ryan of Next Generation Consulting. Incidentally, NGC is based in Madison, Wisconsin, a city that's not exactly noted for its cool-crowd quotient. (Besting Racine in the “Coolest in Wisconsin” race? Not so impressive.) Of course, I'm not the first person to point this out, but I still find it kinda.. defeatist, I guess. Isn't this like Potsy Weber turning to Ralph Malph for advice on how the Fonz keeps scoring all those chicks?! You'll never keep the Hooper Triplets happy with that attitude, bucko!
But I digress. I'm actually not here to write about NGC's findings. They've been doing a decent job of that over on Columbuser or ColumbusING, so if you're curious, I'd recommend a tiptoe through their archives. No, I'm here to put a slightly more personal face on this problem.
I first 'met' (online—we've never actually spoken face-to-face) Suzi Smith while browsing the columbusblogger tag collection on del.icio.us (which was much smaller at the time—like, 6 or 7 blogs, tops.) Her blog is fun, and ranges from subjects nerdy (ahem.. here's Suzi in a Jayne Hat from Firefly) to girly (I usually skip over her 'Revlon update' moments) to DOGGY. Suzi has what is quite possibly the cutest chug you will ever lay eyes on: Brodie. (Who, like our little Polly, was adopted from the Franklin County Animal Shelter.) Oh, and Comics, too. See, Suzi loves comics, even Hellboy. So her site has been on my RSS feedreader for at least a couple years now.
And through Suzi, I've learned about her boyfriend Justin, proprietor of World Famous Comics and an accomplished illustrator and Internet bon-vivant: colleague to Kevin Smith; regular Convention draw; inspiration for Kai Justiss, who survived Order 66 and the Great Jedi Purge.
Read that again.
Yes, Columbus has its own fucking Jedi Knight! Now, how cool is that? (In your face, Louisville!)
Or rather.. “had.” Columbus had its own Jedi Knight. Because Justin is soon following Suzi out of our fair city. Suzi, you see, packed up Brodie and moved to San Francisco a couple months back, in pursuit of a great job opportunity and a desire to live in one of the most beautiful cities in North America. (I say with the authority of someone who's made the sometimes-regrettable reverse of this action.)
Now... aren't these exactly the people, and pugs, that Columbus is so desperately trying to attract? I'm sure that the decision to move wasn't an easy or a light one for Suzi and Justin (2,000 mile relo? Never an 'easy' option.) And I'm sure that they'll love life by the Ocean and the Bay. But a small part of Columbus just withered and died and our city gets just that much closer to irrelevance. Like I said, I won't say much about Rebecca Ryan's recommendations to the city, but I've gotta think that—in any plan for retaining and attracting the best and brightest—Rule Number 1 would be… “Don't lose any more god-damn Jedi Knights!!”