Sooner or later, every past or present Michigander, (Don’t ask me why our name sounds fowlish when we have a wolverine as a state mascot. Oh visions of X-Men get out of my head!) must face the shame of our State closet skeleton.
Yes indeed, we must admit the ugly truth. Michigan is a state in severe mental crisis, and always has been. We are a divided state (remember Lincoln’s remarks) and thus unique in the American scheme of things. Our two halves are connected only by a bridge, called the Mackinaw (otherwise known in the LP [lower peninsula] as the “bridge to nowhere”. Got there first Sarah!).
The LP is also known, as the “part that counts,” or PTC. The upper peninsula is known as “yooper” land, pronounced UUUUper. It is actually connected landwise to Wisconsin, a state that may be the most boring one in the nation. Mostly it moos and it makes cheese. Thus the appellation of “cheese-head” is common. It’s most populous city is named after a beer–which makes sense, since they are largely drunks up there. It’s other claim to fame is a one dimensional town called Green Bay (why would green water be attractive?), which houses the GB Packers, a football team named after the bloody and unattractive practice of meat packing.
Yoopers are usually Packer fans, which is another reason they are mostly ignored by the PTCs. We are Lions fans, albeit, that is stretching the word “fan” to new dimensions in both time and space. The last time the Lions won a championship was in 1957, so unlike the dude above, I’ve been waiting now 52 years for a repeat.
The nemeses of the Lions are others from their division, the Chicago Bears, hated mostly because its truly impossible to argue that Detroit is a better city unless one is blind, the Minnesota Vikings, I mean what grown man wears purple for goodness sake?, and the aforesaid Green Bay Packers. I mean other than Chicago, what has Illinois going for it? And Minnesota or as they sing song say it in said state, MINa SOta like some Norwegian fjord name. I mean please. A political nightmare where Willy Wonka might be the next governor. So all these hatreds are firmly based in reality, really.
So, as I said, we understand why the Yoopers are GB fans, they are schizophrenic and not very sure of where they should lay claim to statehood. But one would think that such fuzzy and bizarre thinking would not penetrate below the state line right? Wrong.
Ten plus years ago, I was informed that my beloved and soon to be husband was a cheese-head. Yup, it still makes me shiver. Now, I had two choices, either maintain my identity as the hapless Lion fan, or go over to the enemy. I admit, that in the name of marital harmony, I caved without a single nail being pulled out by a set of pliers. I’d make a lousy spy. I would tell everything at once.
So, I figured okay, just watch the games, and be nice. But oh, I had no idea the affliction such Packer mania actually took. In these pro-less states, they become more fanatical than you would imagine. And over the years, I start to get anxious around the first of August. It’s coming you see. I wake up in the middle of the night with sweats, not menopausal one’s either.
Finally I hear the printer whirring and then he erupts, paper in hand, smile on his face, and announces the words that freeze my blood and start the ugly time, the seasonal chronic disease. He says,
“I’ve looked at the schedule, and I don’t see as there is any team that can beat them.”
Thus it begins. The suspension of all rights. The democracy that our marriage is allegedly based upon is usurped by the tyranny of a dictatorship, all revolving around da Packers. I flee in terror, but alas, I cannot evade the truth. Life as I know it is forever changed until the beginning of February.
I whimper in dismay and remain silent at the words. I then look up brightly and suggest: “But dear, we agreed, no football, until the first game starts!”
“The first game is Sunday, and it’s at NIGHT.”
I cringe. “But what of Mad Men?”
No amount of cajoling, threatening to withhold sexual favors, food, or anything will impact this decision. I am prisoner and I am expected to be an exuberant one at that.
I have been roundly criticized for being a “pessimist.” I see a game going into the crapper quickly and say so. Given 52 years of waiting, you can see why. Still, I’m told such negativity is not allowed. So I must prepare to be “upbeat,” optimistic and all that other silly stuff, no matter how much the team might stink up the field.
Bret Favre is gone of course. But to the true believer, people don’t matter, only team matters. The Contrarian takes delight that there are signs in Packer stadium saying “Number 4, we’ll never forget you Brent.” Yeah, funny. Worse the man has lost his entire mind (how big that might be is relative to being a football player in the first place of course), and become a MINNESOTA (make that MINNNNa SOta) Viking.