You're Kidding Me, Right?

September 2007

Before Ving Rhames made the news due to the fact that his dogs ate his gardener, the Hollywood actor of Pulp Fiction and Mission Impossible fame was known for something else.

This is what happened.

 In 1998, Rhames was a Golden Globe nominee for his portrayal of boxing promoter Don King. And he won.

Then he did something remarkable.

He called to the stage one of the other nominees, Jack Lemmon, and gave his award to him.

And I would suggest, after Money magazine’s recent poll ranking Middleton, Wisconsin as the most livable city in America, that this is exactly what the mayor of Middleton, whoever that is, should do.

 He should drive over to Mayor Dave’s house and give the award to him.

 Middleton?

 Most livable?

Excuse me?

Giving Middleton the Most Livable Award over Madison is like giving Bubba Franks the NFL MVP over Brett Favre.

Like Jason Chappell being named Most Valuable over Alando Tucker.

 Like honoring Ringo Starr for his songwriting over Lennon and McCartney.

Middleton over Madison? Please.

When folks visit Middleton, do they fly into Middleton International Airport?

Nope. They land at Dane County Regional Airport.

And where is that airport?

Madison.

Unless of course you are flying a crop duster.

Then you can use Middleton’s famous Morey Field.

When folks want to see the best performers in the world, do they go to Madison’s Overture Center for a little Itzhak Perlman or Middleton’s Shakey’s Pizza for a little banjo music?

Whoops. Sorry. Shakey’s closed.

 If you need a new liver, do you fly halfway around the world to Middleton?

 No, you don’t.

However, you do go to Middleton if you need a new transmission.

And what about a thrilling day of Big Ten football with 80,000 other rabid fans?

 Do folks flock to the UW-Middleton for that experience?

No they don’t.

They go to Middleton for the Corn Festival.

No. Wait. That’s Sun Prairie.

Look, I have friends in Middleton. In fact, every one of them called when the Money poll was announced. I am happy for them.

But let’s be real. If Middleton wasn’t at the west end of University Avenue, in the shadow of my beautiful hometown Madison, Wisconsin, no one-and I mean no one-would mention Middleton in the same breath as the words “most livable.”

Let’s say for a moment Middleton was a suburb of, oh, Gary, Indiana.

 Or Fayetteville or Bakersfield or Philly.

Would it still be America’s Most Livable City?

 I think not.

This is not to say that Middleton does not have some nice things about it.

There is that new shopping mall that isn’t really a mall.

And The Bruce Company has a killer selection of Christmas tree lights.

And there’s Fitzgerald’s. And Moosey Warner’s joint.

And, of course, Rusty’s.

We held a bachelor party for my brother Jimmy in the basement of Rusty’s.

The highlight was Kevin Farley walking out of the bathroom naked just as the bartender delivered the second half barrel.

That was really funny, but it did not contribute to Middleton’s livability.

Surely there will be Middletonians up in arms over the suggestion that their award was not deserved. And sure Middleton is a nice, sweet little burg.

And their folks are good decent Americans.

 But if Middletonians are honest, they will tell you that when they are traveling far from Wisconsin … and someone at the pool or airport asks them where they are from, they don’t say “Middleton, Wisconsin.”

They say “Madison, Wisconsin.”

Or at least they did until last month.

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