You've heard of slut-shaming. You've heard of job-shaming.
And now, I present to you...town-shaming.
While I'm hardly proud to present it, it's a subject that merits mention. If you ask me, town-shaming is exactly what it sounds like: one person from one town putting down another town and, or, its residents. Over the last eight years, I've experienced an unfair share of town-shaming in Idaho's Treasure Valley. But back then, I didn't have a catchy name for it. In the beginning, I was caught off-guard by the barbs and backhanded comments town-shamers would throw at me. Whether veiled or direct, one shamer after the next would express the low opinion they held for the cozy and semi-country hamlet known as Star.
My first encounter with a town-shamer was with someone from the Boise Bench. Having just moved to Star from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, I knew little of the Treasure Valley and it's cities. In an effort to change that, I signed my-then four-year-old up for recreational soccer at Tom Erlebach, the skatepark across street. About a week into the season as the kids were practicing, the mother hens frenzied about on the sidelines. Truth be told, I have no interest in small-town gossip or forced conversations, so I divided my attention between watching my daughter Charlie Brown a soccer ball, and an article on my phone.
Unfortunately, that did nothing to deter one of the hens who had gone rogue. From the moment she opened her mouth, her words were filled with disdain for my little town. From the unbearable pilgrimage she braved from the Bench to Star, to what she described as our sh*tty little main street, this woman tore the town to pieces. After her Karen-like filibuster ended, she finally asked me where I was from. As you might imagine, the look on her face was priceless. A moment later, she excused herself to the restroom across the field, and I never saw her again. If I remember correctly, I think her husband assumed soccer duty for the remainder of the season.
The rude Bencher is just one of the many encounters I've had with town-shamers. Star doesn't stand alone. Town-shamers live among us in every Treasure Valley city. It's childish, insensitive, and beneath us. Friends, we're better than this. All of us are here because we love Idaho. Can't we all just get along and support one another?
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