May 13

Hey, you want a piece of me?

May 13 - nj Hard on the heels of the happy news that New Jersey finished in the middle of the pack of a Forbes '50 happiest states' rankings comes the debut of a depressing Bravo series called 'Real Housewives of New Jersey.'

The former is quite a coup for the much-maligned Garden State, alternatively known as 'America's armpit.' New Jerseyans told Forbes researchers that they were doing just fine, thank you, in such areas as: well-being, life evaluation, work quality, basic access to infrastructure services, healthy behavior, and physical and emotional health.

For the record, Utah finished first in the happiest states rankings (I guess plural marriages do work) and West Virginia finished dead last (my apologies to faithful readers Lunchboy and Lance LePoer, who have direct ties to the coal mining capital of the U.S.).

So, while I was pleased to see my beleaguered home state do fairly well (and finish far ahead of New York and those snobby Manhattanites. Take that, Ms Scheluter-Brown-Schleuter), I was simultaneously dismayed to read about the debut of Bravo's Real Housewives of NJ series. The latter will quickly undo any good done by the Forbes rankings and, like the Sopranos before it, convince viewers everywhere that the state is populated by hordes of mindless, silicone-enhanced, dyed blond gold-diggers named Teresa, Dina and Caroline who spout such mal mots as, 'Her heart is as big as her bubbies.'

Hey, we New Jerseyans are used to taking the good with the bad. For every Bernardsville, Spring Lake and Upper Saddle River, we also have a Camden, Trenton and Bogota. For every Woodrow Wilson, Peter Rodino and Vince Lombardi, we also have a Sharp James, Robert Brennan and Aaron Burr.

Our state's image and reputation may have scored a momentary victory with a decent Forbes ranking, but it's almost expected that a Bravo-type series will counter with a body blow of a reality show that perpetuates NJ's love affair with Mob-connected families from Franklin Lakes.

But, hey you got a problem with that? You want a piece of me? You think New Jersey will ever have a good image? Fuggedaboutit!