well, that explains it: fresno is nation’s drunkest city

well, that explains it.

sometimes in life, certain things are suspected long before some scientific research or statistical analysis confirms what we already know. texas votes republican. england likes tea. the vatican likes catholicism.

and such is the case with a new survey to be published in the march 2010 issue of men’s health ranking the drunkest cities in the nation.

the winner: my hometown of fresno, ca.

i’ve told many of my professional colleagues in southern california and across the nation that we do things differently in fresno. for instance, to save money on buying meat at the super market, we hunted. a lot. my family ate something my father shot four nights a week growing up. elk, venison, wild boar – you name it, we ate it, and it was delicious.

and we drink beer in fresno. a lot. in fact, beer plays a major role in many rites of passage in fresno. i can’t recall my father every crying in public (with the exception of his father’s funeral), but i distinctly remember my father shedding a tear on the day i tapped my first keg, which was quite an proud accomplishment for a fifth grader.

and so goes the story of fresno. a big town that still retains a small town attitude. my ‘uncle jerry’ carried a .44 with him when he went on walks around the block, just in case. both my parents have concealed weapons permits, which makes sense for my dad, who was a cop, but is peculiar for my mom, the school teacher. let’s just say i did what i was told growing up.

it’s that kind of town: you don’t mess with me and i won’t mess with you. fresno is an ag community where one can still make more money working on the family farm than in some desk job. there has been an effort to revitalize the downtown area with a more sophisticated clientele in recent years. the most common way of doing this: establishing microbreweries. it’s a vicious cycle.

so congratulations to my fellow fresnans on being named the nation’s drunkest city. on behalf of those of us in the academy, like notable scholars victor davis hanson and eric cline, thank you.

a few more noteworthy items in the list of 100 cities:

  • 3 of the top 12 drunkest cities are in the central san joaquin valley of california (fresno 1, bakersfield 10, modesto 12)
  • the home town of my bride-to-be, lubbock, tx, came in at #8 which is astonishing since lubbock is a dry county!! i’ve often told roslyn that lubbock and fresno are sister cities – both flat, both ridiculously hot in the summer and freezing in the winter, both have really, really nice people, both ag towns, and everyone drives a white pickup – but now i have hard data to confirm it.
  • the soberest/least drunk city in the nation: boston, ma. go figuah. while one might expect the center of red sox nation to be a bit more tipsy, all of those top notch college students studying for endless exams must outweigh the weekend baseball crazed sox lovers.

update: sources say that one of the prime factors used in determining these rankings is the number of drunk driving arrests made over the past year. fresno is in the middle of a city-wide drunk driving crackdown in an attempt to reduce the number of incidents of drunk driving in fresno, resulting in a high percentage of dui citations. on the flip side, the combination of excellent public transportation, the smaller, european style living accommodations, and the proximity of pubs to residential establishments in boston (read: pubs downstairs and on every corner) means very few people ever drive at all, much less when drinking. it’s no excuse, but these facts do contribute to the numbers in fresno where there is no public transportation (the fresno area rapid transit busses don’t count), where everything is big and spread out, and where restaurants and pubs are located in strip malls away from homes.

here is the list:

  1. Fresno, CA                      F
  2. Reno, NV                         F
  3. Billings, MT                    F
  4. Riverside, CA                   F
  5. Austin, TX                        F
  6. St. Louis, MO                  F
  7. San Antonio, TX             F
  8. Lubbock, TX                    F
  9. Tucson, AZ                      F
  10. Bakersfield, CA               F
  11. Las Vegas, NV                F
  12. Modesto, CA                    F
  13. Columbia, SC                   F
  14. Nashville, TN                  D-
  15. Madison, WI                    D-
  16. Colorado Springs, CO    D-
  17. Denver, CO                       D-
  18. Phoenix, AZ                      D-
  19. Cheyenne, WY                D-
  20. Sacramento, CA              D-
  21. New Orleans, LA             D-
  22. Toledo, OH                      D
  23. Aurora, CO                      D
  24. El Paso, TX                      D
  25. Corpus Christi, TX           D
  26. Fargo, ND                        D
  27. San Diego, CA                 D
  28. Lexington, KY                   D
  29. Tampa, FL                         D
  30. Albuquerque, NM             D
  31. Oklahoma City, OK         D+
  32. Tulsa, OK                            D+
  33. Jacksonville, FL               D+
  34. Detroit, MI                        D+
  35. Boise City, ID                   D+
  36. Kansas City, MO             D+
  37. Washington, DC              D+
  38. Montgomery, AL               D+
  39. Omaha, NE                      D+
  40. Portland, OR                    D+
  41. Anchorage, AK                 D+
  42. Birmingham, AL             D+
  43. Greensboro, NC               C-
  44. Wichita, KS                      C-
  45. St. Petersburg, FL           C-
  46. Burlington, VT                 C-
  47. Houston, TX                     C-
  48. Los Angeles, CA              C-
  49. Charleston, WV               C
  50. Orlando, FL                      C
  51. Spokane, WA                   C
  52. Lincoln, NE                      C
  53. Arlington, TX                    C
  54. Des Moines, IA                 C
  55. Fort Worth, TX                 C
  56. Providence, RI                 C
  57. Anaheim, CA                    C
  58. Milwaukee, WI                  C
  59. Pittsburgh, PA                  C
  60. Baltimore, MD                  C
  61. Indianapolis, IN               C
  62. Louisville, KY                   C
  63. Raleigh, NC                     C
  64. Seattle, WA                      C+
  65. Grand Rapids, MI           C+
  66. Buffalo, NY                       C+
  67. Wilmington, DE              C+
  68. Hartford, CT                     C+
  69. Sioux Falls, SD                C+
  70. Virginia Beach, VA          C+
  71. Memphis, TN                   C+
  72. Cincinnati, OH                 C+
  73. Cleveland, OH                 C+
  74. Charlotte, NC                   C+
  75. Oakland, CA                    C+
  76. Little Rock, AR                 B-
  77. Dallas, TX                        B-
  78. Richmond, VA                  B-
  79. San Jose, CA                   B-
  80. Minneapolis, MN            B-
  81. Jackson, MS                    B-
  82. Jersey City, NJ                 B-
  83. Columbus, OH                 B-
  84. Atlanta, GA                       B-
  85. Chicago, IL                       B
  86. San Francisco, CA          B
  87. St. Paul, MN                     B
  88. Honolulu, HI                     B
  89. Philadelphia, PA              B+
  90. Portland, ME                    B+
  91. Manchester, NH               B+
  92. Fort Wayne, IN                 A-
  93. New York, NY                   A-
  94. Durham, NC                    A
  95. Newark, NH                      A
  96. Miami, FL                         A
  97. Salt Lake City, UT            A
  98. Rochester, NY                 A+
  99. Yonkers, NY                    A+
  100. Boston, MA                      A+

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