Radio personality Erich “Mancow” Muller wants you to feel sorry for him.
So scared is he of the city, he just couldn’t take it anymore.
Despite living in one of the safest, most protected and wealthiest parts of Chicago, the man who prides himself on his fearless truth telling and devotion to “god, guns and automobiles” had to turn tail and run to an even wealthier and more protected place—Wilmette.
The 47-year-old shock jock told the Chicago Tribune the city had become so “unlivable” that he had to sell his Lincoln Park condo and move to the northern suburb.
It is a decision he called “heartbreaking.”
Muller, who is a married father of twin school-aged daughters, told Elite Street he’d had enough with city living.
“The schools are awful. I guess I could have had (my daughters) go to public schools, but I don’t want them to be stupid. I drove past Lincoln Park High School every day, and the kids are cursing and yelling and have their hands down each other’s pants," he said. "And then, I was spending $45,000 a year for the (private) British School of Chicago. It was killing me."
Mancow also said there were always homeless people outside his door and street parking he often used was raised from a quarter an hour to $13 an hour.
Oh, he stuck it out as long as he could, no doubt. Certainly long enough to use Chicago as a launching pad to build a notorious radio career and a net worth estimated at $10 million.
But none of that matters. What matters is that his fans and anyone else who cares about the trials and travails of a wealthy radio celebrity understand that it wasn’t Mancow who failed Chicago. It was the city that failed him.
Forget the fact that he sold his 2,900-square-foot corner penthouse for a major profit, or that he can easily afford to move to one of the highest income places in the United States.
Forget the fact that Mancow has been able to provide for himself and his family by wrapping his crude demeanor in a reactionary, right-wing belief system that celebrates many of the problems that plague cities like Chicago, like giving away assault rifles with the purchase of an automobile from the car dealership he owns.
More important, forget the fact that every day, millions of Chicagoans with far fewer means get up, go to their jobs, provide for their families and engage in the kind of civic and community life that works to make the city they call home a better place.
As you feel sorry for Mancow, try and forget that every day people in Chicago struggle with and overcome problems such as homlessness, shuttered schools, crime, the rising costs of living and more for themselves, their families, their neighbors and the dream of a better life.
Not run away because they let their imaginary fears run wild from behind a bunker mentality.
With his move to the North Shore, Muller said “80 percent of my stress is gone. You know what you have to deal with in Chicago, and get your kids away from that. I was always on guard, honestly, and now, my quality of life is so much better. I’m so much happier.”
I can’t speak for everyone on Chicago, but I can speak for a lot of them when I say:
So are we, Mancow. So are we.