The Key to unhappiness is West

There is an entire industry out there dedicated to providing readers, listeners, viewers and / or subscribers with the key to happiness. And what a multi-gazillion dollar industry it is, my friends.

Books, videos, seminars, webinars, conferences, classes — the options are practically endless.


I have your key to happiness right here, right now, and I won’t charge you a red cent for sharing. Here it comes. Ready?

The key to happiness is this: Never, never visit Key West.

That’s it. If you avoid this dreadful destination, you will lead a life contented.

Trust me, Key West is a wicked awful place and the further away you stay from it, the better.

Did you ever see “The Princess Bride?” Remember how Wesley and Buttercup had to hide in the Fire Swamp with its flame spurts, lightning sand and Rodents of Unusual Size? Well, it’s exactly like that in Key West! Pretty much.

Look, I don’t warn you away from this awful island offhandedly. I gave it a lot of thought. And here are the main reasons you should avoid it at all costs:

IT CAUSES HOME WELLNESS. Remember in “Friends” when the gang went to London for Ross’s wedding and Joey almost immediately got homesick for New York? Yeah, it’s not like that in Key West. Not only will you not get homesick, you will actually have the opposite malady — never-wanting-to-leave-itis.

IT’S MONOTONOUS. The sunshine. The blue skies. The palm trees swaying in the breeze. How boring is that? I mean, any place that can leave hammocks strung between palm trees year round is just too incredibly predictable, weather wise, capisce? Plus do you know how much energy it takes to keep reapplying sunscreen? Exhausting.

IT’S DULL. The galleries, the restaurants, the museums, the historic sites, the marketplaces, the street performers. The endless waterfront and watersport excursions. Yawn.

IT’S A WRITER’S WAKING NIGHTMARE. Oh yeah, if you’re a writer? Um, not only is it the home of the late Ernest Hemingway, but it also happens to be where author Judy Blume hangs her hat … and her OPEN sign, since she runs the Books and Books store on Eaton. I mean, if you’re, say, a newly-turned 50-year-old who spent her adolescence idolizing Blume after reading and re-reading and re-re-reading “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret,” well, you can imagine not wanting to accidentally bump into THAT lady on the street. Sheesh!

IT’S SLOW PACED. Now who needs that kind of invigoration in a dog-eat-dog, breakneck-pace, go-till-you-drop, sleep-when-you’re-dead work world? Antirelaxers, beware. If you aren’t careful, you could go an entire week without a panic attack.

IT’S SEAFOOD CENTRAL. Lobster, grouper, shrimp, crab, scallops, oysters, shark… and heck, some places serve gator. Fish dip, fish tacos, oh, and conch EVERYTHING. Moreover, it’s all so fresh. It’s never once been frozen and shipped in from thousands of miles away. Do you really want to put that kind of swill in your body after all the years of consuming carefully processed tuna in a can?

IT CAUSES AMNESIA. You will forget the day, date, month and even season while you’re there. Not surprising, since Key West is part tropics part Bourbon Street and part southern Florida. It’s an island in the midst of an identity crisis, if you ask me.


So, travel at your own risk folks, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who wants you to say out of Key West because that’s HER retirement spot, Capisce? Find cool photos from there at