There is something strange happening along the shores of Lake Erie.
I think maybe an alien race has parked its invisible spaceship above Cleveland and is bombarding the city with good luck rays. Or maybe God, getting tired of hearing all the pleas for help from Cleveland, has sent a few angels down to get things in order. Or maybe there is some kind of cosmic event that has changed the city’s arc of destiny.
Whatever the reason, Cleveland is on a roll.
It started out with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who won the city’s first NBA title earlier this year. LeBron James’ performance in the finals did make some people wonder if he might not really be human — maybe he’s one of those aliens come down to Earth to help Cleveland out.
Then the Republicans held their national convention in Cleveland, and everything went swell. The delegates had a great time and nominated Donald Trump for president.
Then the Indians won the American League pennant. They did end up losing in the World Series to the Cubs, but that’s only because the Cubs have an even worse history than Cleveland and some of Cleveland’s recent good luck wore off on them.
Then Trump won the election! People are saying he won because a bunch of angry white guys voted or because a bunch of non-white angry guys didn’t vote or because everyone just doesn’t like Hillary, but I know better. He won because he was nominated in Cleveland. Had he been nominated anywhere else, he would have surely lost.
Cleveland is making a big comeback, and it needs one. Back in 1950, 914,000 people lived in Cleveland. Today, there are only 388,000 left. Cleveland was the fifth largest city in the country in 1920; today it is 51st, behind Wichita, Kansas and Arlington, Texas.
I’ve always been more of a Cincinnati guy than a Cleveland guy but I don’t mind seeing someone else on a hot streak. I think Cleveland has turned the corner. Here are some things that will be happening in Cleveland soon:
• The Browns will win a game. Really, it is going to happen.
• Cleveland will become a vacation hot spot. It all has to do with global warming. People go to Florida and Arizona and Southern California now, but it’s getting hotter and dryer in all those places and it’s eventually going to be pretty much like vacationing in hell. Cleveland is getting a little warmer and pretty soon people will be going there for its mild climate. It has Lake Erie (lots cleaner than it used to be), the Cavs, the Indians (well, and the Browns), the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and lots of other stuff (maybe including invisible aliens).
• Lots of people will be moving back to Cleveland. One main reason is that Cleveland has lots of water. It has a whole, big lake full of water. All those places where people have been leaving Cleveland to start their lives over – Phoenix and Los Angeles and Las Vegas and even Denver — no water! They already sucked the Colorado River dry and are working on every other drop they can find. In the end, Cleveland’s water resources will be very valuable. Water is the next oil! And since people have been moving away from Cleveland for decades, there are lots of empty buildings to move into.
• The next president of the United States will be from Cleveland, or at least close by. Let’s say we all survive the next four years and then Trump beats Chelsea Clinton or someone else for a second term. In eight years, LeBron James will be 40 years old. He will be looking for an easy retirement job when he leaves the NBA. Being president will be a perfect fit, as long as he doesn’t mind moving into a smaller house. Let’s see Vladimir Putin try to intimidate LeBron. Ha! It’s a slam dunk. (Note to LeBron: I’d like to be vice president. I can shoot free throws.)
Think of it. The home of John D. Rockefeller, Paul Newman , Jim Brown, Jesse Owens, former President James Garfield, future President LeBron James, Eliot Ness, Cy Young, Bob Hope and, yes, Frankie Yankovic is making a comeback. Sure, there are still a few problems — all those empty buildings, low income levels, no jobs, minor details like that — but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Cleveland. I can hardly wait to see what happens next — although I think I will still keep watch from a distance.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.