Story: The Wizard of Mich, Part One

Hey Y’all,

You might have wondered where I’ve been the past four weeks. Doubtless many of you thought I had forgotten about this blog and was never to come back to it. But that is not so. In fact, I’ve just returned from a very strange trip (an entirely LEGAL “strange trip”). It was time on The South Will Blog Again to begin to investigate that strange land we call “The North”.

Although Strange Looking, it is their National Costume

To begin to investigate the North we must realize that there are several “Norths” just like there are several “Souths”. I can tell you first-hand that the Mississippi Delta is a different South than the Virginia Tidewater. Memphis has a certain flair for a Southern city, but it’s much different from Charleston and New Orleans. Texans are a different breed from Alabamians, Kentuckians from Georgians and so on. There are even states within states. That’s why there are really three Tennessees, and over six different Carolinas. In one state, Florida, you have to drive north to get to the “South”. Then there’s Atlanta…

Likewise the Midwest is different from the Northeast. Wisconsin is full of people wearing novelty foam cheese headgear not Jersey Shore cast members (or cast-offs). Folks in Indianapolis are a whole lot friendlier than Boston, while Chicago is much more sophisticated than Providence. Some Yankees drive real fast and cut you off, while others smile and wave you through. Parts of the North are like Canada, others are stereotypical Yankee to the core, while a few places might just pass for Dixie.

So due to my curious ways, I’ve decided to begin some investigative reports on TSWBA in 2012 to find out what makes “us” so much different from “them”. For my first investigative piece I chose the state of Michigan. But because this website and its author are now world-famous after 5,000 site hits in the year 2011, I had to go incognito…

Since we all know I would not willingly travel to the North on vacation I needed some guise or ruse from which to make this trip. I found the answer during bowl season. All Southerners (except for the ridiculously militant) have several Yankee transplants as friends. Since we know they’re going to come down here anyway it behooves us to show them around and perhaps convert a few of them to our ways. In fact I’ve known more than a few good “naturalized” Southerners. In any case one of my good friends is such a transplant and a Michigan grad to boot. There was my answer. I would make a bet this bowl season betting against Michigan and for my graduate school Virginia Tech. Since we all know Virginia Tech goofs up every big game they are ever in, this became my solution. I announced that if Virginia Tech lost the game I would “become” a Michigan fan “to the fullest”, complete with authentic costume, dialect, and beliefs, and make a pilgrimage to Big Ten Country. Despite the inferior nature of Michigan being a typical Northern football team, Virginia Tech came through blowing the game for me with ridiculous play calling. You should know I have operatives working for me.

Frank Beamer and his "Can't Miss" Acme Playbook by Coach Wile E. Coyote

With that out of the way I began to plan for my trip. I had researched Michigan in the past so I was pretty secure in my ability to mimic accents, folkways, and the various Michigander tics. I even have an operative based in Grand Rapids “Agent Rothstine” that fed me regular info. The costume was also quite simple. As we all know, people in the Midwest love a good costume. They don’t need much of an excuse really, just any opportunity to wear novelty attire and headgear will do. I came up with a foolproof costume. Using rolled up khakis, long navy socks, a navy sweatshirt, some yellow sticker felt for a number, and a Michigan winged helmet winter cap, I became a 1940s Wolverine football player. Now I could walk into any public place, at any time of the year in Michigan and blend in.

The transportation was a more difficult hurdle, but that was solved when I was able to rent the “Wal-Mart Wolverine 2000″ a fully customized Maize and Blue Winnebago complete with a unique Winged Helmet design. With this vehicle no Midwesterner would think me out-of-place.

Michigan: They have a Map for that!

The most difficult assignment was finding out how to get there. Michigan maps are very strange. They do not use typical paper, nor surveyed cartography, nor satellite imagery. No, folks in Michigan like to show where they are going, where they’ve been, or how to get somewhere by using their hands. Apparently Michigan looks like two mittens or gloves if you were to make a hand gesture that looks like waving “hello” and calling a timeout at the same time. (This was famously shown by the basketball player Chris Weber on national TV years ago). But that wasn’t really going to help me since I needed my hands to drive, so my operative sent me a map made out of an oven mit and a pot holder. I’ve been told it’s the most accurate map of Michigan available. So I took my doggy niece Julep with me, and headed northwest over the mountains and towards the square states and was on my way…

I got lost near one of the rectangular states. I believe it was South Nebransasowa. The weather quickly turned nasty. The sky blackened and the wind whipped around in circular directions. It appeared to be a giant midwestern twister. I tried to outrun it like I saw in the movies, but I was in a Winnebago after all. Alas the twister picked us up. I hit my head and blacked out…

Those Stinkin' South Nebransasowa Tornadoes!

When I awoke I had a massive headache. Luckily the pooch and I were all right. Amazingly the Wal-Mart Wolverine 2000 was not seemingly damaged at all (or so I thought). Clearly this vehicle had magical powers to survive the trek through Midwest. But where the heck was I?

I opened the door of the Wolverine, stepped outside and looked around. The sky was a very dull gray. The land was perfectly flat. While there were occasional trees the area around me was largely built up with what looked like massive suburban sprawl. Every building appeared to be some sort of mid-market chain restaurant. I saw four Applebees, three Chilis, one Bennigans, one TGI Friday’s, six Hungry Howies, a Little Caesars that was next to a Dominoes Pizza, and seven Bob Evans franchises. Whoever these people were they sure had an appetite for appetizers.

It was eerily quiet as I continued to get my bearings. Wherever this place was it seemed devoid of people. It’s as if whoever once lived here had moved some place else. Just as I began to wonder why I heard noises…

From behind the alleys, and dumpsters, around lamp posts and corner booths came a few intrepid little people. Each of them looked the same but had on slightly different attire. As they slowly inched closer they appeared to be football players. They were much smaller than the football players I was used to in the SEC, and they moved much slower too. But as they came closer I could make out the uniforms they wore. Penn State, Illinois, Michigan State, Iowa…..”a ha” I realized…”I’ve landed in Little Ten Country”…which I guessed was not far off from my intended destination. I was truly fortunate…

But as I moved closer to attempt to talk with these little people, they were taken aback. Even though I was dressed in similar clothing  as them they sensed something was amiss. I tried to break the ice and said “Hey, how’s it going?” But they looked quizzingly at me as if they didn’t quite understand what I said. One of them in green, I believe it was the one called Spartan said “that’s a strange accent you have there for one dressed this way, you betcha”. I explained to them that they had “accents too”. At this they all let out a chirping little giggle. The one dressed like me called Wolverine spoke and said “we have no accents!”…only it sounded like “Wii hee-ah-ve NOH Eee-Ahh-cintz!” spoken real fast…

There was much confusion, until the one little guy covered in tattoos spoke up pointing to the Winnebago. His name was Buckeye. “This strange person has killed the Loony Leftist of the West!” Others crept out in amazement. Several began to clap and sing and call out for joy. I then looked under the rear wheel of the Winnebago and saw that I had run over someone. I was shocked and dismayed, but more so that I had damaged the vehicle than by hitting something. It looked more like a cow than a person, and it was wearing these ugly yellow sneakers.

I was wondering what I was going to do to get home when a winged creature appeared out of the sky. He looked like a cross between a fairy godmother and an unemployed sitcom star…like one who would take any role offered to him. I had seen that face before but couldn’t quite make out who it was…He flew closer to me and I could see he was carrying some sort of wrench in place of a magic wand. The Little Ten-Kins knew who he was and were happy to see him.

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Little-Ten-Kin Land is a strange place indeed!

The man then flew down and said ‘Don’t be startled…I am Tim Allen the Good Tool Man of the North! You have done a wonderful thing!” He then explained to me that the tornado that had picked up the Winnebago had landed on the body of the Loony Leftist of the West. This Leftist was a loud fat obnoxious creature that terrorized the little people of Little-Ten-Kin. They were not allowed to have real restaurants because of strange labor laws. They were not allowed to have good football programs because of a strange desire to have good academics. Butter, salt, spices, and other tasty things were banned (although I later found out the Little-Ten-Kins never liked those things anyway). This Loony Leftist had pretty much destroyed their culture, ruined jobs, and caused many of the people to move to other lands…

It was at that point when I realized which of the Little-Ten-Kin states I was in…but the Tool Man spoke before I could say it. “Yes exalted one, you are in Michigan”. To confirm this he arranged his hands and showed me on his “map”. At that point I looked around this bizarre place and decided I wanted to leave. But the Winnebago’s tire was destroyed and the last tire store and tire plant had moved from the area six years ago. To find a replacement, I would have to walk across the state to see the “Wizard of Mich”.

At that moment a loud noise interrupted the scene. A loud, beastly, foul creature then stood in front of me. He was carrying a bull horn and dressed like a cross between a protester slacker and Jaba the Hut. I had seen this creature before. It was Michael Moore, the Loony Leftist of the East!

Michael Moore: The Loony Leftist of the East!

He looked at the feet of the creature I hit. Apparently it was his brother. “YOU’LL PAY FOR THIS!!” He yelled from his megaphone. “YOU’RE FROM A RED STATE AREN’T YOU?!”…he looked me up and down, sniffed and then yelled “FROM THE SOUTH TOO!!! OH YOU VOTED FOR GEORGE W BUSH, YOU RACIST, SEXIST, BIGOTED, HOMOPHOBIC, WAR MONGERING, GAS GUZZLER YOU!!! I’LL MAKE YOU PAY FOR THIS! I’LL FILM A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT YOU AND FOLLOW YOU AROUND YELLING IN YOUR FACE!

I was extremely annoyed at this disgusting fiend. But then when he saw the Tool Man he shrieked and stopped yelling in his megaphone. Apparently this goon has no power over the Tool Man. He then shrugged and said “I’LL JUST BE TAKING MY YELLOW SNEAKERS THEN!” But he couldn’t because as he reached for them he was shocked. I looked down and saw them on my feet. They were hideous…not the kind of shoes a Southern Blogger would wear. But they wouldn’t come off.

The foul Loon left the area and the Little-Ten-Kins began singing “Sing Song the Loon is Gone, the Evil Loon, the Lefty Loon, Sing Song the Lefty Loon is Gone”. I was then told by the Tool Man that these ugly sneakers would help me for walking on my journey. I sighed as I had no choice and began to follow the “Flat and Straight Road” east  to the home of the Wizard of Mich. The Little-Ten-Kins began signing again…something about following the road again, but it sounded an awful lot like a cross between bad musical theater and Journey. I resigned myself that this would be a long trip.

END OF PART ONE



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