You’re Doing Fine, Oklahoma

Over the weekend Susan and I took the kids to the Skating Dead Mashup, a Roller Derby contest hosted by the Oklahoma Victory Dolls at Skate Fever in Tuttle, Oklahoma.

I was fifteen years old when I began making plans to escape Oklahoma. My first dream destination was California, home to everything I loved at the time: silicon valley, sports cars, skateboarding, Hollywood, MTV, and (I wish they all could be) California girls. I had no real understanding of property value at that time. I just knew that California was cool, cooler than Oklahoma could ever be.

A year later I changed my mind and decided I wanted to move to Chicago. I had it all worked out — I would move a mattress into my grandma’s basement and live there until I found a job and got my feet on the ground. I went as far as to tell people that this was “the plan”… and the funny thing is, I’m sure if I had asked my grandma (or any other relative in Chicago for that matter) if I could come crash in their basement, they would been more than happy to let me do so. The streets of Chicago would have chewed me up and spit my fleshy ass out pretty quickly, but still, the idea was fun.

In reality I didn’t want to live in California or Chicago at all. I just wanted out of Oklahoma, where the wind and not much else comes sweeping down the plain. We didn’t have the internet back then but we certainly had cable television. I knew all about the fun happening everywhere else. I knew about the clubs on Sunset Strip, the all night action in Times Square, the parties that took place on the beaches of Miami — and we had none of it. Oklahoma was lame, lame, lame. We had no rock stars or palm trees. Heck, the best party I ever got invited to took place in a field.

But something funny happened over time. Not all the people who wanted a cool place to live left Oklahoma. A lot of them stayed, and a lot of them began working hard to turn Oklahoma into a cool place to live.

Today there are two free skate parks for the kids to skate at. There’s Bricktown, and the Thunder, and all kinds of cool things downtown. There’s film row, and a couple of different arcades. Almost every live act I’ve wanted to see (from Slayer to Weird Al) has performed here multiple times. We have more sushi bars than you can shake a chopstick at. We have video game conventions, dozens of free car shows, the OKC Halloween parade and multiple art museums. We’ve got tons of places to go and relatively few traffic problems.

I left Oklahoma for a year and a half and missed it the whole time I was gone. I’m proud to live here and I’m glad we’re raising our kids here. Susan and I are constantly on the lookout for new things to do in and around Oklahoma. Sometimes the grass is pretty green right in your own backyard.

Which reminds me, you should totally attend a Roller Derby bout. They’re totally fun and filled with awesome people. And they play right here in Oklahoma.

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