For those of us who have spent most of our lives in Michigan, certain traits and habits seem like commonplace. It’s not until we take a step back, however, that we realize how odd many of our choices and tendencies might appear to out-of-towners. Sure, we might be a little weird… but we wouldn’t have it any other way! Here are eleven things we Michiganders do that sometimes leave others scratching their heads in confusion.
1. Continue to lend our support to the Detroit Lions.
Year after year, season after season, we head out to Ford Field or gather around our televisions to root for the Detroit Lions. No, we’ve never appeared in a Super Bowl. Yes, we seem to have a special talent for losing games in the fourth quarter no matter how wide our original lead was. But that won’t stop Michiganders from standing behind the Lions and repeatedly proclaiming that "there’s always next year!"
2. Cite Superman ice cream as our all-time favorite flavor.
Don’t knock it ’til you try it! If you grew up in Michigan, you know that Superman ice cream simply tastes like childhood, and its rainbow coloring adds a whole extra layer of magic. Even though our tastes have matured, there’s still a certain nostalgia that comes along with a scoop of Superman. Non-Michiganders simply don’t understand what this sweet treat means to us.
3. Eagerly dive into ice-cold waters.
As if the waters of our Great Lakes weren’t cold enough during warmer months (we’re looking at you, Lake Superior), they’re completely bone-chilling when winter comes around. For some reason, we Michiganders tend to think that "polar bear plunge" fundraisers and events are a wonderful idea. Yes, that’s right: we’ve been known to don our swimsuits and dunk ourselves in the Great Lakes in the dead of winter.
4. Guzzle down ginger ale instead of taking "real" medicine.
Not just any ginger ale, though: we only drink Vernor’s. If you’ve ever had an upset stomach and reached for a pink bottle of Pepto Bismol, you’ve been missing out on the one true remedy that never fails us. Vernor’s will settle your stomach without leaving a terrible taste in your mouth. Just trust us on this one!
5. Throw octopi onto the ice before our team’s hockey games.
Yes, you read that right. Any true Detroit Red Wings fan knows that the best way to garner good luck for our team is by tossing a real-life octopus into the rink. To non-Michiganders, this probably sounds extremely weird and — let’s face it — a little disgusting, but we’ve sworn by it for decades.
6. Point out our hometowns on our hands.
We know, we know: we talk about this one all the time, but it still remains at the top of our "weird things Michiganders do" list. Until you do it in front of someone who wasn’t raised in the Great Lakes State, you might not realize just how confusing it is when you proudly point to your palm while exclaiming, "I'm from Ann Arbor!" But, hey. It works for us!
7. Believe in all sorts of spooky urban legends.
The Dogman, melonheads, the Paulding Light… our state is home to plenty of scary tales. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, you have to admit that Michigan’s paranormal history is an exciting realm to explore, even though a few of our most famous legends might sound too strange to be true!
8. Venture out in blizzard-like conditions.
It’s no secret that Michigan gets bombarded with winter weather every year, particularly our waterfront communities who fall victim to the dreaded lake-effect snow. The upside to our frequent snowstorms, however, is the fact that we’ve managed to develop a seeming immunity to cold weather. To those who live in a warmer climate, it must be baffling when we Michiganders run out through a blizzard to grab the mail with short sleeves on.
9. Willingly go to Hell.
We Michiganders know that Hell is actually a great place to spend a few hours and snap some photos! Hell, Michigan is one of our quirkiest little towns, and it’s full to the brim with photo ops, themed gift stores, and lots of perfectly bizarre charm. We Michiganders can truthfully say that we’re "spending the day in Hell" without cracking a smile.
10. Seamlessly make "Michigan lefts" while driving.
When you’ve been making these turns for years, they feel like second nature. But one car trip through Michigan with someone from another state will quickly remind you that our "Michigan lefts" aren’t commonplace throughout the country. We’ve seen a whole lot of confused looks from drivers who simply haven’t encountered our unique turning system, and this sense of confusion can certainly be a bit unnerving.
11. Venture over to Canada for a day trip.
Detroit’s proximity to Windsor, Ontario situates Michiganders perfectly for a quick trip across the Ambassador Bridge. There are very few spots in the United States that allow for fairly seamless back-and-forth between an international destination, and we’re lucky to have such awesome neighbors. Of course, we might draw a few confused glances from non-Michiganders when we say that we’re "leaving the country for a few hours."
Alright, you’ve read our list: now share your own stories! What are some of the strangest traits you exhibit as a Michigander? Have you ever left your out-of-town friends feeling baffled? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.