So St. Petersburg is supposedly the "saddest" city in America? To borrow a line from Saturday Night Live's faux anchorman Seth Meyers: "Really?" Never mind St. Petersburg's glimmering waterfront, its elegant neighborhoods, its world-class museums, its first-rate dining, Major League Baseball's contending Tampa Bay Rays and the annual Grand Prix racing event that attracts international attention. By the arbitrary standards cooked up by editors of Men's Health magazine, we're all completely miserable.
The magazine's dubiously concocted ranking published Monday put residents of St. Petersburg at 100th on the list, sadder than Detroit (99th), Tampa (97th), Washington (81st) or Fresno (75th) based on employment, suicide and usage of antidepressants. But in fact, the leading cities for suicide are Las Vegas, Colorado Springs and Tucson. And while the Tampa Bay unemployment rate remains high at about 10.8 percent, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Detroit and Fresno have even higher numbers of jobless, and presumably sadder residents. As for drug use, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that prescriptions for antidepressants have skyrocketed nationally, by 400 percent in recent years.
Like any large metropolitan city, St. Petersburg has its fair share of challenges in dealing with crime, homelessness and strained budgets. But with the Men's Health scale of relative bliss suggesting that windswept, frigid, cold, flood-prone Fargo, N.D., is the seventh-happiest place to live, St. Pete should demand a recount — something we're quite adept at here in sunny Florida. Really.