Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Why should expectations be low about Dorchester? It is Boston's biggest neighborhood. Opportunites abound. Life is lived large and in the round in the Dot. It is an empire of goodwill, glad tidings, low rents, cheap food and high living that will fit in most people's budget.

Thin wallets have their place in Dorchester, Mass. Fat wallets are acknowledged, but they don't garner any special treatment. "Pay me what you owe me," is Dorchester's mantra. Dorchester doesn't only rhyme with Poor Chester. It rhymes with More, Chester. I've never met a soul named Chester in the Dot, unless we're talking about Chesty Rivers, but her nickname doesn't have anything to do with the one on her birth certificate.

People don't move to Dorchester to slide down Boston's economic ladder. They move here for the chance to climb up its rungs. Ability, technical skill, and silky palaver go a long way in Dorchester, Mass. If making good is about making good connections, Dorchester is a spider web of interlocking threads easy to navigate for those with multifaceted eyes and nimble legs.

Some people get sick in Dorchester, whether with ague, vapors, Montezuma's Revenge, the Hottentot trots, catarrh or the croup. You don't need to cough in Dorchester to whoop. The contagion of accomplishment is infectious. People disembark from the Red Line and say, "I'm in Dorchester! Hooray!"

Illness is endemic everywhere and the Dot is no exception. Despite that, Dorchester isn't the Sick Man of Boston. It is the most robust organ in the metropolitan body, a veritable spleen that will take all the abuse it is given and never deviate from its evolved purpose. Dorchester filters the lifeblood of Boston, fortifies it, boosts it up, cleans it out, chastens what's not working right and discards what's dirty into the trash. What works in Dorchester has run the gantlet of scorn and come out purer and stronger for it.

Long live the Dottoman Empire!

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