Six Stupid Questions People Always Ask Me About Michigan
I've lived on both coasts and there is an honest curiosity about our state that few other states enjoy. We are unique, and that baffles the rest of our country.
Here are the six stupidest questions I've been asked about Michigan.
1. Are the Great Lakes really big enough that ships can sail on them?
Yes, and you can surf on them too!
I've never understood the underestimation of the size of the Great Lakes to the rest of America. Any map makes it very clear they are HUGE. And yet I always get asked about their size. Imagine their surprise when I show them photos of freighters sailing in the Detroit River!
2. How come the Upper Peninsula isn't part of Wisconsin?
This is always a fun question to take on, and rather than bore them with the complicated particulars of how we won the UP in a war with Ohio, I tell them we built a bridge to rescue the Yoopers first, so we got to keep them. Their reaction is always priceless.
FUN FACT: When Michigan was awarded the UP instead of Toledo, it was met with jeers. Michiganders felt we got hosed. Anyone still feel that way?
3. Why Do You Have To Turn Right To Go Left?
It's called a Michigan Left, and it involves medians and traffic lights and makes the East Beltline a complicated torture zone for tourists.
Why? It's safer. I know it doesn't look like it, but science bears that answer out.
Believe it or not, there are more Michigan lefts in New Jersey than there are in Michigan, but they still call it a Michigan Left. And Michigan Lefts exist as far away as Australia.
4. Is the whole state as wrecked as Detroit?
There is a weird thing on the internet called 'ruin porn' or 'urban decay' where photos of rotting structures are shared online. Needless to say, most of these photos come from Detroit. The rest of the country thinks Detroit IS Michigan, so they think we're all suffering like these photos showed. While the entire state has a rich history with now obsolete manufacturing, 'wrecked' is a harsh word.
This state has its struggles, but its people are what makes it special. Yes, we're a little weird, but we're resilient, not wrecked.
5. Why is the Mackinac Bridge spelled differently than nearby Mackinaw City, but they're pronounced the same?
It's because of our French heritage and as the grandson of a Quebecois, if you make a joke about the French being cowards, I will be forced to punch you in the head.
The French fur traders who settled the area used a French spelling to convey a Native American word to describe the area ('Micihilimackinac' translated to 'the great turtle'). The British later adjusted it to their spelling (mackinaw).
6. How can you cheer for the Lions?
I don't have a logical answer to that other than to tell you it ain't easy.