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The above spreadsheet represents a pathologically rationalist approach to getting out of Chicago. I’ve scored each state on a scale of 0 (“worst”) to 9 (“best”) according to my life’s present greatest ambitions and fears:

1. environmental toxins (including but not limited to ionizing radiation, fracking wastes, and agricultural runoff)
2. cheap rent (a dying breed)
3. abundance of shit jobs (another dying breed)
4. nearby acquaintances (to help smooth the transition but also to make life generally less unbearable)
5. access to UV light (to cure my vitamin-d deficiency and to make life generally less unbearable)
6. tick-borne illness (including but not limited to Lyme disease)
7. foraging grounds, primarily macrofungi

I’ve assigned each state in The Union (a Canadian version was ruled out as being both too employment-prohibitive and too sunlight-prohibitive) a number for each of these seven criteria, to reach a rough estimate as to which state i’d most not hate. Granted, the data isn’t perfect — some tweaking was required (such as Oregon’s crippling -3 rating in the “jobs” category, for reasons best left private) — but i feel this chart is generally more useful than the “vibe” system i’ve previously based my life’s major decisions on.

It’s no surprise that my home state made the 1 slot — what’s interesting is that Washington, a place i hadn’t considered too hard previously, turns out to be the first contiguous state that i’d theoretically enjoy.

And really, why not. Besides the Microsoft/Amazon-inspired rent inflation, the legal-weed-inspired rent-inflation, the legitimization of segways as a means of transport, the endless rain, and the unnerving proximity of one of the nation’s largest nuclear nightmares, maybe it wouldn’t be all that bad. (And please, imagine that every sentence i write about anyplace is followed by an invisible “…compared to Chicago.”) Assuming my calculations are correct, my main concern there would be sunlight — which i know the PNW can be famous for lacking (and i might have based the “5” UV rating on a flawed UV map). But in the end, proximity to nature and jobs, and freedom from viking winters, seems like a fair trade for those too begging to choose?

I know this has nothing to do with comics, and is just me rambling in an empty room to myself about my personal life, which is pretty pathetic, but does anyone out there actually live in the Olympic Peninsula, and have any advice/words of warning/job offers regarding the Frasier City? Is everyone else trying to get out? Is it impenetrable to those few of us still resisting the Singularity by refusing to learn to code and kayak? Where is happiness, dear reader? Where is home?