We've said it so many times, it's a wonder that it bears any more repeating: L.A. is the greatest city on the planet. Hands down. Fact. People come here every day on buses, trains, planes and hand-made art cars just to bask in our sunshine, taste our tacos, stare at our beautiful people, and turn their creative pursuits into dollars.
But not everyone is going to last in our fair burg. Many people will self-select out of here, self-absorb up their own assholes, or simply self-destruct. Here are the ten types of those folks who won't make it:
10 . The People Who Claim Everything is Better Back Home
These are usually Midwesterners, frequently New Yorkers, and sometimes Bostonians. The “I hate everything but the weather here” people who tend not to make friends because they spend all their time talking about their hometown and crying under a blanket. They go to the beach and take solo selfies sometimes, but that's about it. Sure, where they come from, there's decent pizza, sausages shaped like footballs and leaves that turn colors once a year — but none of those places are THIS place. L.A. is more than just a parking lot on the beach, dude, and you're going to miss it if you're hung-up on your hometown's shitty donuts and the like. We don't need to explain why again, do we?
9. The Party Animal
This homeboy/homegirl usually wakes up on weekdays half-hanging out of a pool, crusted over with drugs the average person hasn't even heard of, reeking of lube and Fireball shots. They’re just here to genuflect before the pantheon of party gods or whatever, man. They’ll get their shit together as soon as they “wanna be boring” and “whatever, old man.” Not. Going. To. Happen. Even Mötley Crüe put in some semblance of an effort before they earned the right to mainline Jack Daniels on a weeknight, friend.
8. The L.A. Nativist
“I’m an L.A. Native, I’m so rare / there are so few of us / I’m like a four-headed unicorn-chupacabra that glows in the dark…” Uh. Yeah. With more than 2 million babies born in Los Angeles County in the past decade, you are mathematically, scientifically, sociologically and emphatically not special. Sure, you come from a truly great city, but if all you've got is that your mother’s vagina ejected you within these politically defined boundaries, you, sir/madam, are not going to make it here. Sorry. (Not sorry.)
7. “Everything Is Epic” Person
A sandwich with bacon on it? “So fucking epic!” A differently colored car? “OMG epic-as-fuck, bro!” This person has a problem with quintiles, superlatives and being easily impressed (and classic literature, frankly) — all things that don't bode well in a city full of above-normal and decidedly off-kilter experiences. And, while we're at it, The Ramayana, Gilgamesh, The Iliad, Beowulf — those are epics. They are about a hero or heroes on an unbelievable and arduous journey, specifically one that exemplifies the values of the respective cultures that wrote them, often involving supernatural occurrences. A two-foot wave you cruised? An app sampler you and another assistant scarfed at happy hour? Not epic. Not epic at all. Here in L.A., the bar is a bit higher.
Guys “just telling it like it is” can often be found among the L.A. Sheriff's Department, shooting unarmed black people and arresting brown folks for walking down the street. But they're in every profession, really — telling mean jokes about people from Micronesia and such. Here in the land of the ethnic mash-up, the capital of human diversity, treating people like they’re less than people just isn't going to cut it.
5. Aspirants to the Middle Class
“I just want to plug in, settle down, and contribute to my 401(k),” says this kind of asshole. Get over yourself, Ozzie and/or Harriet. This is the city to succeed wildly, or fail spectacularly — often both. There is no warm center, no extra helpings of milquetoast, and certainly no khakis with blue blazers here. You want to be all staunchly middle-class and middle America and what-not? Take that shit to San Diego. There are only bridge-sheltered hovels or 20-room mansions here, nothing in between.
This guy isn't going to make it here at all. Come on: Just look at him.
Turn the page for more Angelenos who aren't going to make it, including a particular type of artist
3. Artists Who Don’t Think Other People “Get” the Art Scene
“What’s this supposed to be?” “Well it's a meditation on the … look, you just don’t get it.” No. Sometimes there’s just nothing to get. The delightfully urban-blighted warehouse and the MFA paid for with trust-fund funds are no substitutes for hard work, talent, insight or creativity. It took Rodin almost 20 years to craft something worth looking at. Them? They just huffed paint thinner while an underpaid adjunct summarized Foucault. Well, that trust fund can only last so long.
2. People With the Word “Intuitive” in Their Job Title
“I’m an ‘intuitive architect,’ I can just see and feel how a building is constructed by being in it” — this is a statement that was once said aloud in our presence. No joke. Along with that doofus are the intuitive healers, intuitive nutritionists, intuitive cabinet-makers and whatever else people are attaching that word to nowadays. It escapes intuitive people that there's a physical world outside their own skulls and one where effort and professional training are required to acquire a skill or craft. In a city like L.A., which is full of actual engineers, actual architects and actual doctors, there's no room for the untaught kind. Here, intuitive healer person, let's see you intuit out this tumor, shall we?
And the final group of people who really aren't going to make it in L.A.?
1. The Writer Who Hasn't Written a Word
“It’s just so hard being a writer,” says the writer who hasn't typed up a single word of a single goddamn thing ever. These people are perpetually pensive and vexed as they craft haunting dialogue, imagine and reimagine the most emotionally gut-wrenching scenes, articles and screenplays — in their heads. Sorry bub, you aren't an actual writer until someone gives you money for what you've written or it has been, at the absolute bare minimum, written down. Sprawl it across a bathroom stall or something — jeeze. It doesn't have to be on a marquee or make a billion dollars, but it's gotta be somewhere. Get on it, or make some room for someone who wants to write something.
Paul T. Bradley on Twitter:Follow @paultbradley