The St. Louis effect.

The bubble surrounding the St. Louis Metro area is intense. It’s a near-impenetrable fortress which, when lived within under the right conditions, produces a insular world view not unlike that of a Mennonite community in rural Pennsylvania.

As a college-educated person, I try to be aware of the fact that I spent my formative years beneath this bubble. But every once in awhile, I slip.

Today, as I mindlessly scrolled through Facebook status updates I happened on my friend Jeremy’s: “Congrats to Brett Hull! You deserve every minute of it!”  Well, good for you, Jer. I thought, and immediately clicked the “Like” button so that I could needlessly and vapidly record my agreement with this phrase.

I’d just finished reading about Hull’s shoe-in first ballot vote for the Hockey Hall of Fame (and by “read,” I mean I saw the headline). He spent eleven seasons as a Blue – the time during which I was arguably most enamored with the game – and spent the majority of his time here breaking records and being worshipped and adored.

So of course everyone should congratulate him on this achievement, I thought. It didn’t even register that Jeremy is a native of the Dallas, TX-suburbs.

Oh, right, I remembered, too late. Hull was signed by Dallas after those 11 years, went on to lead the Stars to a Stanley Cup victory ten years ago, and now works in their front offices.

Oops.

It’s a funny little story, and beautifully illustrates my point. And yes, I know that each major metropolitan area or sleepy hamlet the world over feels similarly, but I’m not a resident of those places. I’m a St. Louisan, damnit. This is what I know. 

I know that fried ravioli are actually “toasted” and filled with meat, not cheese. I can name at least 15 private Catholic high schools in St. Louis County alone. I talk about Ozzie, and Stan, and Mark, and Albert like they were my cousins. And there are things that I wouldn’t know growing up somewhere else, probably.

And, duh, I know my experience here as a middle-class, White, Catholic girl growing up in the county sure aren’t the same as, say, a middle-aged Black man living in the city. But we’re still all in this bubble together, eh?

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