When we moved to Atlanta in 1994 we really did arrive in a city that fit its unfortunate slogan: "The City Too Busy to Hate."
You and I both know it takes time and energy to hate, and Atlantans back then had little of either. They were too busy building entire industries from the ground up, and in their spare time shopping or sitting in traffic, or hunting for underpriced real estate. NO spare time for hating. Not that it didn't occur to the average Atlantan. There simply wasn't time.
Talk to the hand--got no time to hate you.
And now, with the Olympics a distant memory, we've grown up. Because we're not too busy to hate any more. We've got the time, the memories of dreams denied, lots of people laid off, the dot-com boom having come and gone. We've got a divided nation. One at war. A war that half the country doesn't think we got into for the right reasons. Atlanta's just a microcosm of the larger American divisions. Our millions of bumper stickers demonstrate the opposing views in this city. "Love it or leave it." "Bring the troops home." "My boss is a Jewish Carpenter." "My right. My choice."
Who can blame our great mayor, then, for deciding that it is time to drop the pretense of brotherly ambivalence and rebrand.
Atlanta is now the city where "Every Day is an Opening Day." And, in the tradition of KFC, we are now officially ATL. That's A-Tee-El.
For me, this conjures an image of a confused city--are we talking about baseball? The open minds, open doors, open hearts of the Methodist Church? Our reputation as a city welcoming of diversity as long as you stay out of certain counties at night? Our strip clubs that are open late? The HOV lanes that are open except when they're clogged with traffic? I'm not sure.
I think about the brainstorms that must have gone into coming up with the slogan. How many Snickers bars were ingested in the name of progress? How many Hershey's kisses? How many stress balls had to die? How many easel pads? Ahhh. Just think about how it went down...
"Okay, what do you think of when you think of Atlanta--"
"traffic" = "a ha ha ha ha"
"pass the candy dish"
"anyone want a Coke?"
"no idea is a bad idea come on..."
"The buckhead murder district?" = "a ha ha haha"
"Dan you've got a client call--sandy's looking for you."
"Okay, Mike Vick?"
"The music--has to appeal to the urban crowd..."
"Smells like Hell in the A-T-L?" - "a ha ha ha"
"Marta's Ashcan?" = "a ha ha ha ha"
"Bob you're being a jerk."
"Okay no idea's a bad idea..."
"Atlantizzle My Nizzzle?" = " a ha ha ha"
"How many of us in here are billing? Is this billable?"
"How about the culture--Cultural Mecca or something..."
"Jesus, why don't you just call it Islamanta!"
"Pass me the candy dish..."
Almost makes me miss home. ;-)