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Old 06-24-2010, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Fort Smith Arkansas
6 posts, read 144,319 times
Reputation: 88

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I want you to know just a little about me before I begin. I am a 34 year old honorably discharged US Marine originally from Cabot, Arkansas. I moved to Conway, Arkansas before enlisting in the military and lived in several cities in Arkansas and Missouri before ending up here in Fort Smith. I have a very wonderful girlfriend and I am a Christian.

I came here to go to school because the degree I am earning is not offered anywhere else in the state or even many other places in the entire region.

My expectations were positive when I decided to move to Fort Smith. I have a couple of good friends from the area who are wonderful people. I am a big Delta Blues lover and I particularly enjoy any variety of live Blues music. Fort Smith is supposedly on of the best places besides Memphis for that kind of thing. I enjoy living in the Bible Belt, relaxing outdoors, and being able to find a good job (that last part sounds like a 'duh' but just give me a minute). The Fort Smith Chamber folks would tell you that Fort Smith is the perfect place for that kind of lifestyle.

All right, so what's it really like?

THIS IS THE CRAPPIEST PLACE I'VE EVER LIVED. Iraq, Cuba and couple other 2nd and 3rd world countries are worse....so I've seen worse but I think you see what I'm getting at here.

This is NOT a Bible Belt city. People who live here think it is, but they are wrong. There are over 250,000 people in the metro area and there is a very limited VARIETY of churches compared to cities like Conway or even Cabot...towns much much smaller than Fort Smith. I am constantly hearing about how Fort Smith has so many churches, but for a city this size in the Bible Belt Fort Smith does not have that many churches at all. For those of you who are not concerned about this particular subject, I can assure you the church culture in this city will still affect you, and in my observation not in a positive way (which is very sad). I have a wonderful little church that has wonderful people, but it was very difficult for me to find. I have never had such a hard time finding a good church to attend in Arkansas, and Fort-Smithers are just plain wrong when they think this is a Bible Belt city overrun with churches. It is actually a trashy, backwards place to live. The church culture here can be fairly divided into two groups: (1) wacko snake-handling-type nut jobs (Tony Alamo had his compound just down the road for years) and (2) uppity rich snobs who only cross the tracks to warm a pew.

This is NOT a good town for live music, particularly blues. People who live here think it is, but once again they're wrong. Live music here consists of crappy cover bands and fat guys with lots of tattoos screaming at the top of their lungs, sweating all over the place. HEY, if you LOVE KARAOKE, you'll love going downtown. "Historic" downtown Fort Smith is a freaking zoo on the weekends. I came here hoping to catch some cool blues cats, but all I get is karaoke and unemployed fat guys yelling at me.

They can't build a road in Fort Smith. Looking at a street map of Fort Smith, one would probably come to the conclusion that a drunk person planned this town. People who live here will tell you that it is because this is an "Old West" town, but they are wrong (again). I've lived in several cities much older than Fort Smith and was able to figure out their system and get around. In Fort Smith, you have several important roads that have the same freaking street name as other important roads in the city. Roads end abruptly and pick up 20 blocks later, or on the other side of town in the last place you would ever imagine to find it. Roads "just change"....for example, if you go north on 69th street, somewhere along the way it just turns into 70th street. The numbered and the lettered streets are all jacked up; there is no logic and I have observed over and over that even people who were born and raised here have a difficult time finding their way around. It is impossible for me to exaggerate how messed up the road system is in Fort Smith. New Orleans, Dallas, Mobile, Little Rock, Memphis, etc. are all easier to figure out and they're all older and bigger than Fort Smith. And better and every other way, too.

When my family comes here to visit me, I take them to several intersections here where there are 6 or 7 different street lights at one intersection and you seriously have to guess which light applies to you. This is the kind of site-seeing my family gets when they visit me here. This town has the most bizarre intersections and traffic lights. Ever seen a blinking yellow left or right hand turn traffic signal??? Let me tell you this town is full of confused drivers because Fort Smith has not mastered the whole traffic light thing.....they also don't know much about turning lanes. And don't worry about having your alignment adjusted in Fort Smith because the roads are like wagon trails. People who live here are so used to it they think I'm just being incorrigible, but let me tell you the only places I've seen with worse roads than Fort Smith are a couple towns in southern Mississippi. The manholes aren't in the center of the lanes, so it's clunk-clunk-clunk down there road all day long no matter where you go. I am impressed to see that they are starting to install sidewalks in places that should have had sidewalks in 1920......okay I'll move on.

If you come here for a job you're going to starve. Period.

They don't fluoridate the water. The town floods if it rains for a few hours. Most of the neighborhoods should are like demilitarized zones. Most of the historic sites should be demolished. The river front is basically a pasture. There's nothing to do here (unless you like karaoke or methamphetamine woohoo!)

People who live here say "well drugs are bad everywhere." When they say that I kind of want to slap them. Okay, this is freaking crack-head central here folks. And it's no wonder it just gets worse and worse because the native morons think that the rest of the state is rotting from the inside out just like Fort Smith. They are wrong (as usual).

In fact, I do not recommend getting an opinion on Fort Smith from anyone who is native to this area. Fort-Smithers simply do not realize that this place is the butthole of America. People who transplant here quickly realize what they have and done, then figure out the culture and economy make it very difficult to get out once you're here. I honestly think that is how so many people ended up here in the first place. I can't think of any other reason people stay.

I have always been a big supporter of the police. I considered federal law enforcement after the military. Police men and women in general have always had my respect and consideration because I'm a veteran and I know how it can suck to have to deal with people and what it's like to be under incredible stress. That being said, BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU COME TO FORT SMITH! I have never encountered a more unprofessional, inconsistent, and downright brutal police force than what I have found in Fort Smith. The police here WILL BEAT YOU UP! They will taze you, club you, tight-cuff you for hours, and if you are ever so unfortunate to end up in the county jail, consider yourself in a life-or-death situation. They routinely lock up misdemeanors with violent felons, sexually and physically abuse prisoners, and beat prisoners. Got a teenage boy who you think might learn a lesson from a night in jail for doing something dumb a teenager might do?? Do that in Fort Smith and your kid might end up dead, raped or severely beaten. Doubt me if you want, but a suspicious number of people die in that jail every year and my personal experience with the police is frankly like something you would see in "Training Day" or "Boyz N Tha Hood." The police in the surrounding areas are no better. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that as a veteran, my "life-threatening situation" alarm goes off ANYTIME I have to deal with the Fort Smith Police. The whole department should be rolled over and the next chief should be a transplant. They are a disgrace to any uniform.

It seems like every other person I meet in Fort Smith has a severe personality disorder. I was vaguely aware of bipolar disorder, ADHD, etc. before I moved here. Well I'm fully educated now. I've never seen anything like it in my life and I'm not trying to be funny, but I have encountered an inordinate amount mentally retarded children and adults on xanax, antidepressants, and all manner of mood altering substances. Seems like every other person I meet here tells me they are bipolar.

I can't wait to leave this town. I don't plan to ever come back once I am gone. I have been blessed to make some really good friends and see some great things happen in people's lives and my own. I am thankful for God's grace and I don't want to fail to point out that good things have happened for me in Fort Smith, too. I also made good friends in Iraq. That don't mean I wanna live in Iraq.....and I ain't stayin' in Fort Smith, either

Last edited by edjarhead; 06-24-2010 at 02:21 PM.. Reason: typos

 
Old 06-24-2010, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Fort Smith, Arkansas
1,466 posts, read 3,695,746 times
Reputation: 1045
wow. That was quite a rant. I should clarify that I am a Fort Smith native so, according to paragraph 13, my opinion doesn't officially count in this thread, but I would like to respond off the record.

Churches: Fort Smith not only has a lot of churches, they have a very diverse offering of churches for almost any religion you can think of. Protestant being the most numerous, but there are also many Catholic churches, synagogues, Buddhist temples, and mosques. Finding the right church isn't always easy, but if you can't find one in the Fort Smith area, you are going to have a hard time finding one anywhere.

Live Music: I am not sure where you heard that Fort Smith is such a Blues haven, but you were lied to. I believe there is a Blues festival every year, but I can't remember when it is. Some spots you might want to hit are The Oyster Bar, The Hanging Judge, and The Beer Garden. There are a few really good Bluegrass bands from the area that play those locations on occasion. Other than that, you are correct that there are a lot of cover bands in Fort Smith - some better than others.

Street layout: I agree. The layout of the streets in Fort Smith is the most idiotic thing I have ever seen in my life. Whoever designed that layout should be hung..... Maybe Judge Parker took care of him?

Jobs: I didn't leave Fort Smith because I didn't like the city. I left because I couldn't find a job in my profession. I, again, agree with your point.

Riverfront: Grossly underutilized. I would place the blame on the city's officials on that one.

Police: No opinion. I never went to jail or had any run-ins with the police.

Mental Disorders: I am responding, so I must have some sort of disorder. Other than myself, I never met anyone who claimed to be mentally handicapped - I am sure that Fort Smith has a few.

Good luck on your future relocation.
 
Old 06-24-2010, 03:52 PM
 
735 posts, read 1,052,157 times
Reputation: 344
Adios amigo!!! I love Fort Smith.

Quote:
Originally Posted by edjarhead View Post
I am a crack-head folks.

I have always been a big supporter of the police. The police here WILL BEAT YOU UP!

It seems like every other person I meet in Fort Smith has a severe personality disorder. I was vaguely aware of bipolar disorder, ADHD, etc. before I moved here. Well I'm fully educated now. I've never seen anything like it in my life and I'm not trying to be funny, but I have encountered an inordinate amount mentally retarded children and adults on xanax, antidepressants, and all manner of mood altering substances. Seems like every other person I meet here tells me they are bipolar.

That don't mean I wanna live in Iraq.....and I ain't stayin' in Fort Smith, either
 
Old 06-24-2010, 04:53 PM
 
Location: Fort Smith Arkansas
6 posts, read 144,319 times
Reputation: 88
Dr. Foosball:
You are right that there are more churches for a greater variety of religions; my guess would be that there is more religious diversity among churches in Fort Smith than any other city in the state, which I would say is a good thing. However, this not one Reformed Church in the entire city. I am not part of some obscure denomination and I'm very open minded when it comes to denominations, etc. but what I found when I was looking was that there was LESS diversity among protestant churches in Fort Smith than even most small hole-in-the-road towns in Arkansas. It's like some kind of miracle that 275,000 people live around here and there is NOT ONE REFORMED CHURCH in the whole area. If you open the Fort Smith phone book, and then open the Conway phone book, and you look under churches, you will actually find that the Conway area not only has more PHYSICAL churches, but greater diversity among Protestant churches. That is just mind-blowing considering there are 200,000 more southerners living in FS than in Conway.

This doesn't mean that I find cultural diversity a threat in any way. One positive thing about Fort Smith is there is more cultural/religious diversity than a lot of southern cities that I have lived in. But I still object to characterizing Fort Smith as "Bible Belt" town because there is surprisingly LESS diversity among Christian churches compared to the rest of the state. I mean it's a short list man if you are Protestant and don't take snake-handling-type churches into account. Lots of weirdos around here and that makes me despise Fort Smith even more, because there are so many things about this town that are stereotypical.

The Blues Festival is this weekend. Me and my gal are going. I'm leaving the first time I see a fat, greasy loser take the stage and start trying to scream like a third series drill instructor. The freaking bands around here suck and I just know every Fort-Smither is going to hate me for saying that.....I don't know I guess Memphis and Nawlins spoiled me but I can find good music in Fayetteville, Little Rock and Tulsa but sure not in FS, so I'm either just a jerk or I'm right, you can decide that for yourself.

But Foosball, you can communicate using English and you moved to Hot Springs, so I'm not sure you drank enough of Fort Smith's un-fluoridated water for it to effect your mind. I'm a nice guy and I'm not presumptuous, I'm just used to meeting lots of crappy, nutty losers in Fort Butthole Arkansas.

bluenoter:
Adios to you too, bro. be careful at roosters, I can tell by lookin' most of those girls ain't safe
 
Old 06-24-2010, 05:02 PM
 
735 posts, read 1,052,157 times
Reputation: 344
I don't believe Fort Smith has an Albanian Orthodox Church.

I like Texas Dave a lot more after reading all this

Quote:
Originally Posted by edjarhead View Post
Dr. Foosball:
You are right that there are more churches for a greater variety of religions; my guess would be that there is more religious diversity among churches in Fort Smith than any other city in the state, which I would say is a good thing. However, this not one Reformed Church in the entire city. I am not part of some obscure denomination and I'm very open minded when it comes to denominations, etc. but what I found when I was looking was that there was LESS diversity among protestant churches in Fort Smith than even most small hole-in-the-road towns in Arkansas. It's like some kind of miracle that 275,000 people live around here and there is NOT ONE REFORMED CHURCH in the whole area. If you open the Fort Smith phone book, and then open the Conway phone book, and you look under churches, you will actually find that the Conway area not only has more PHYSICAL churches, but greater diversity among Protestant churches. That is just mind-blowing considering there are 200,000 more southerners living in FS than in Conway.

This doesn't mean that I find cultural diversity a threat in any way. One positive thing about Fort Smith is there is more cultural/religious diversity than a lot of southern cities that I have lived in. But I still object to characterizing Fort Smith as "Bible Belt" town because there is surprisingly LESS diversity among Christian churches compared to the rest of the state. I mean it's a short list man if you are Protestant and don't take snake-handling-type churches into account. Lots of weirdos around here and that makes me despise Fort Smith even more, because there are so many things about this town that are stereotypical.

The Blues Festival is this weekend. Me and my gal are going. I'm leaving the first time I see a fat, greasy loser take the stage and start trying to scream like a third series drill instructor. The freaking bands around here suck and I just know every Fort-Smither is going to hate me for saying that.....I don't know I guess Memphis and Nawlins spoiled me but I can find good music in Fayetteville, Little Rock and Tulsa but sure not in FS, so I'm either just a jerk or I'm right, you can decide that for yourself.

But Foosball, you can communicate using English and you moved to Hot Springs, so I'm not sure you drank enough of Fort Smith's un-fluoridated water for it to effect your mind. I'm a nice guy and I'm not presumptuous, I'm just used to meeting lots of crappy, nutty losers in Fort Butthole Arkansas.

bluenoter:
Adios to you too, bro. be careful at roosters, I can tell by lookin' most of those girls ain't safe
 
Old 06-24-2010, 05:42 PM
 
Location: Fort Smith Arkansas
6 posts, read 144,319 times
Reputation: 88
bluenoter, you're right dog. i would expect to find an albanian orthodox church in any southern town.

yep and texas dave rocks. famous guy just like the other other awesome bands downtown.

keep posting bro, tell the world how great it is to live in FS
 
Old 06-24-2010, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Quapaw Quarter, Little Rock
837 posts, read 1,937,465 times
Reputation: 370
That's certainly the first I've ever heard of Fort Smith being some kinds of Delta Blues mecca. It's on the opposite side of the state! Are you sure you didn't mean to move to Helena?
 
Old 06-24-2010, 07:45 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
69,259 posts, read 79,427,308 times
Reputation: 38626
I don't know as much about Ft Smith as most of you, but we did consider reitiring there, so we visited a few times and researched it. I never heard anything about it being a Delta Blues mecca. As for churches, we found the opposite. We found the people to be very Bilble Belt, actually too much for us and we are relatively religious. We also found about every type of church one could think of in the metro area.

I am sorry it doesn't seem to be working for you, good luck with the rest of your life.

Nita
 
Old 06-24-2010, 08:04 PM
 
93 posts, read 225,885 times
Reputation: 72
Thanks for the heads-up - Edjarhead. I will never move to a community that does not have a Reformed Church. That is priority one when I retire - find a good church (Reformed).

Secondly, the last time I was traveling through that area of Arkansas we got pulled over and the cops admitted it was because of our California plates. I couldn't believe the officer admitted this to us; we were in a class A motorhome and he said he was checking for drugs. And, they were not friendly.
 
Old 06-24-2010, 09:20 PM
 
111 posts, read 326,094 times
Reputation: 177
You know what impresses me about this thread?

Dr. Foosball actually counted the number of paragraphs to cite the right one for saying his opinion didn't count.

Other than that, only passed through Ft. Smith, so I have no dog in this one. I did kind of dig their funky far eastern market I visited with my BIL once just to see all the weird stuf that was available (well weird to me anyway).
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