Y'know what bothers me most about this whole Manti Te'o affair? I mean, besides the apostrophe in his name? A last name with only three letters in it should NOT have an apostrophe. But I digress...
What bothers me most about Manti Te'o is that he only had ONE make-believe girlfriend. If I were a college football hero, I'd have a whole HAREM of make-believe girlfriends. I'd be the BIGGEST make-believe stud on the team.
But enough of that nonsense and all those capital letters. I was tired of the Manti Te'o story five minutes after the news media began to go all OCD on it. Sadly, my news media friends weren't, and they bragged to me about how they were going to commit all their time and all their resources to get to the bottom of the story, until they could finally report to the American people the truth about what happened.
"You mean, like Benghazi?" I asked them.
"Ben who?" they answered.
But I didn't want to write about that. What I wanted to write about was how, according to the Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index, El Paso is no longer the second-best performing metro city economy. It's 18th.* You know what I say to that? So what? Do you know what second-best is? It's the first loser across the finish line, and who wants to be the first loser? (Although, if coming in second makes us first, then we should celebrate that.
El Paso! The FIRST Loser!
Whoever reads that won't remember that we were losers, they'll only remember that we were first. For example...)
In the first place, who listens to an index that's named after something you do on a dairy farm, and, in the second place, people don't believe the truth, they believe what you tell them. Whenever I go to Vegas, my parents aren't interested in how much I lost, they're only interested in how much I won. It gives them something to brag about when annoying other relatives who are busy trying to brag about their annoying kids about things that are just as obviously untrue.
"Did you win?" my mother always asks.
"You bet. Five thousand bucks," I always say.
"Wow!" she always wows.
Now, why would I want to tell my mother it cost me 20 grand just to win that five? That would disappoint her. Make her sad. I don't want to make my mother sad. And that's why El Paso needs to come up with an index of our own. So that we don't make our mothers sad.
I suggest we start the Duchene Institute of Statistical Comparisons and Comparable Statistics. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that the longer an institutes's name, the more impressive it is. The more impressive it is, the less they do. The same goes with titles. My title is Love Czar, a title I got playing football in college, and, since my title is short and I do more, my first order of business would be to point out that, although El Paso went down 16 rungs in the economical ladder, we're still WAY better off than the whole country of Zimbabwe.
Did you know that, after paying government salaries (first things first, after all), the country only has $217 left in the bank? And that's after checking between the couch cushions and underneath the refrigerator. How a country with some of the world's largest platinum and diamond reserves can have less money in their coffers than my little girl has in her piggy bank is easy to explain.
In the year 2000, Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe seized the land of over 4,000 white-owned farmers and effectively dismantled the country's agricultural industry. In other words, he took away from the producers, and gave what he took away to the takers, and the takers, who know nothing about producing, produced nothing. That sent the country down the road to hyperinflation. Inflation reached 11,200,000% in 2008, and the world's economists acknowledged that the country was so poor the only thing they exchanged at Christmas were glances.
Meanwhile, prices were doubling by the day, and the government found itself having to print Z$100 billion notes. The next year they found themselves having to print Z$100 trillion notes. President Mugabe wanted to print gazillion dollar notes, but his plans, much like Zimbabwe's economy, fell through when he found out there was no such number.
A new coalition government formed that year, and, adopting the motto "Hope and Change," they began the long process of 1) fixing their economy, and 2) making sure their salaries were paid.
First things first, after all.
As I write this, I'm looking at a picture of the new trillion dollar coin the U.S. government is thinking about minting, and something about the whole Zimbabwe comedy of errors seems familiar. I can't quite put my finger on it, but, as El Paso's Love Czar, at least I can confidently say:
El Paso! At Least We're Not Zimbabwe!
*Las Cruces fell from 13th to 21st.**
**But who cares about Las Cruces.