If you're a true Michiganian, you know that 'UP' means a place, not a direction — and you might splash in Lake Superior on a sunny day with chunks of ice in the 33-degree water. (Tom Buchkoe / Special to The Detroit News)
Have you ever called a shopping cart a “buggy”?
Me, either. But after 30 years here, I do say “party store” — even if I used to think that’s where you’d find paper plates and balloons.
Buggies and party stores were both included in a roundup called “10 signs you were born and raised in Michigan.” If you have better ones, or at least different ones, stick around; we’ll be collecting those later.
As for the original list, a travel website called MatadorNetwork.com published it last week.
It was the sort of thing Matador publishes all the time: “26 items every traveler should have in their wallet,” “9 of California’s most epic concert venues,” “3 reasons you should ignore the media and travel to Egypt NOW.”
Except that the Michigan list got hot. Very hot. “5 flaming items in a list of extremely hot things” hot.
In the space of three days, says Scott Brannon of Matador, it became the most successful article in the history of the site. At the 10-day mark, it’s been read nearly 1 million times.
Sign No. 1: You know what euchre is. (Definitely.) Also, you’re not mystified by a Michigan left turn. (Check.) You know the difference between a Coney Island and a chili dog, that pale imitation served with beans and without onion. (Extra-big check.)
People ate it up. But who, exactly — and why?
You really, really like us!
Brannon is the director of strategic relationships for Matador, which has been around since 2006 and operates an online travel writing course along with its digital magazine.
He says the second-most-popular article ever centered on being from California, which has more residents than Michigan, more sunshine and more Disneylands. He’s essentially mystified about why a Michigan-themed article would be liked or shared 161,000 times on Facebook.
I’d chalk it up to pride and insecurity. We like what we have here, but we always wonder how we measure up.
Do New Yorkers care what people anyplace else think about them? Fuhgeddabout it. Three states to the left, though, we’re 96,716 square miles of self-doubt, overreacting to every slight and over-appreciating every pat on the head.
Most of the online traffic, Brannon says, “came from Michigan, or if not from Michigan, from former Michiganians who live out of state.”
How do you like us so far? OK, how about now?
That's MackiNAC, buddy
The writer who launched a million hits is a freelancer from Kalamazoo who was paid $60.
Koty Neelis, 29, grew up on a farm outside Jackson, graduated from Western Michigan University and sometimes thinks about moving to New York or L.A.
Then she remembers that she’s paying $260 a month to share a house, and she strolls contentedly in the direction of the newest Kalamazoo brewpub.
“I wish I could say I have the magic formula,” Neelis says. Since she doesn’t, she just tries to “resonate with readers, and give them something they’re compelled to share with their friends and family.”
For her Michigan list, she intentionally skipped obvious notions like using your hands as maps.
Naturally, the readers who commented on the story hammered her for leaving them out. Which leads to a question:
When the subject is sure signs that you’re from Michigan, what’s on your list?
You turn a company name into a possessive. Meijer’s, Kroger’s, Ford’s.
If you haven’t been laid off by a car company, you at least have a relative who was.
You know a Soo Lock doesn’t come with a combination.
You laugh at the new TV anchors in town who pronounce the island “Mackinack.”
And what else?
You tell me.
Send me a sign, or a list of them: It’s firstname.lastname@example.org, or 615 W. Lafayette, Detroit 48334. I’ll stitch them together, and maybe we’ll all go viral together.
Then we can celebrate with a nice, refreshing soda.
I mean, a pop.