Michiganders are overflowing with state pride and appreciation, but that doesn’t mean we’re immune to a few silly tendencies here and there. While it’s not always easy to admit, we Michiganders have some pretty funny habits — and it’s never healthy to take ourselves too seriously. Here are eleven things that every Michigander can poke fun at themselves for from time to time.
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1. Even after everything they’ve put us through, we’re still Detroit Lions fans.
When we think back over all the painful losses we’ve suffered during our years as Lions fans, it’s hard to believe that we still root for our team so forcefully. Despite the frustrations that come along with supporting the Lions, we’ll never be fair-weather fans… but maybe that’s because there’s never really fair weather. Sigh. At least we can poke fun at ourselves when we half-heartedly proclaim, "There’s always next year!"
2. We think it’s totally normal to wear shorts outside in subzero weather.
Frostbite? What’s that? We’re not sure where it came from, but many Michiganders seem to be completely unaffected by wearing short sleeves or shorts outdoors in the freezing wintertime. We’ll admit it’s a little weird that we can’t feel our legs when we come back inside from taking out the garbage, but don’t knock it ’til you try it.
3. We add letters to words where they don’t belong.
When we really take the time to look at the names of our favorite stores, we realize that they aren’t spelled quite the same way as we pronounce them. "Meijers?" It’s actually "Meijer." "Krogers?" It’s actually "Kroger." Perhaps we’re trying to add a possessive quality to these titles, but regardless of what our reasoning is, it's definitely a little odd.
4. We act like other people are strange for not understanding our "hand map."
Let me get this straight: we lift up our hands, point to an inexplicable spot on our skin, and claim that’s "where we’re from." And we have the audacity to be irritated with other people when they don’t understand what we’re doing? This is a weird trait, fellow Michiganders. But it’s ours, and we wouldn’t change it for the world.
5. We take offense to criticism regarding the shape of our state.
A few years ago, some misguided people in Wisconsin tried to argue that their state was actually "The Mitten State." The outrage sparked among Michiganders, although TOTALLY JUSTIFIED, was admittedly a bit silly. Who knew we could get so defensive about the naturally drawn borders of our land?
6. We have some pretty silly legends, spooky as they might be.
Most states have their fair share of frightening urban legends, but we’ve got some slightly outlandish ones. One Michigan tale refers to a creature called the "Dogman," who is half-human, half-dog, and stands seven feet tall. It’s a scary thought at first, but once you really take the time to consider its plausibility, there’s an undeniable comical element as well.
7. We get genuinely angry about the outcome of college sports games.
If you’re from Michigan, chances are that you’ve gotten into a heated argument with a friend or family member following the outcome of a college football game. Whether you’re a Michigan State faithful or a diehard fan of the Michigan Wolverines, one thing is for sure: you care a whole lot about your team. At least we can all come together in our unrelenting hatred for Ohio State.
8. We’ll find any excuse to joke about the fact that our Great Lakes are "unsalted."
They’ve all been used before, but that doesn’t stop us from making these jokes over and over. "Hey, at least there are no sharks to worry about in the Great Lakes!" "Our beaches are just like the ocean… but unsalted." "Salt-free and fabulous!" The list continues, and we keep laughing.
9. We use the word "troll" as a term of endearment.
Is there anywhere else in the world where you can be called a "troll" by a complete stranger without taking offense? Here in Michigan, the word simply applies to someone who lives in the Lower Peninsula, "below" the Mackinac Bridge. It might sound a bit funny, but it’s just the way things work around here.
10. We get pretty darn heated in the "pop" vs. "soda" argument.
Um, excuse me? WHAT did you just order with your dinner? A "soda?!" ARE YOU EVEN A REAL MICHIGANDER? Oh, ahem, sorry. It’s just… I can’t stand hearing my favorite fizzy drink referred to by anything but its rightful name: pop!
11. We expect that everyone should know the right way to pronounce "Mackinac."
And Charlevoix, Sault Ste. Marie, Ypsilanti… the list continues. When we really take the time to think about it, it’s pretty unrealistic that we expect our out-of-town friends to automatically know the correct pronunciation of these words. It’s important to remember that not everyone was lucky enough to grow up in the greatest state around!
Alright, Michiganders: it’s your turn to poke a little fun at yourself. What are some Michigan traits that you can admit are a bit odd, humorous, or strange? Share your thoughts in the comments below!