The old argument as to whether we are “Michiganians” or “Michiganders” will most likely soon be put to an end by law.
Senate Bill 562 amending regulation of Historical Markers cleared the Michigan State Senate Oct. 5 and the State Legislature Nov. 1. The original Senate Bill used the word “Michiganian” to define a resident of Michigan, but the House version struck out the word and reads instead in Section 2, Paragraph (I),
“MICHIGANDER” MEANS A RESIDENT OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN.
The Bill now awaits Governor Snyder’s signature putting it into law. Governor Snyder has favored the use of “Michigander.”
We’ll take it. It could have gone in so many other directions.
The rather industrial “Michiganites” could have taken hold, but it makes us sound like rock formations hanging in cave. Speaking of living in caves, thank goodness somebody didn’t get “Michiglodytes” rolling.
We do like our rocks in this state: Pictured Rocks, Petosky, Iron Mountain, Ironwood, Copper Harbor, Flat Rock, Rockland, Rockford, Flint and Gibraltar. Escanaba means “flat rocks” and Sheboygan means “place of ore.” Bob Seger’s “Like A Rock.” Kid Rock. There’s even a township simply called “Rock.”
It all starts to sound like we’re living life with the Flintstones. Flint, another city in Michigan.
“Michiganaunts” wouldn’t make sense. The “Michigangsters” of the 1930’s Purple Gang in Detroit never spread to the rest of the populace thank goodness. “Michigangliates” would take a lot of nerve!
In an historical moment of unprecedented cooperation and agreement, all political parties could have come together and choosen “Michiganderanians.” What a mouthful.
“Yoopers”; now that’s cool and fun to say and their half of the state is shaped like a snowmobile. Our half down here, trolling under the bridge, is “The Mitten State” which does go with snowmobiles.
Speaking of the embarrassingly whimsical “Mitten State,” we could have been saddled with monikers like Mittenanians, Mitteniacs or Mittenatics. Let’s just stay away from the whole mitten identity. Nobody is winning a national title while saddled with that powder puff of a nickname. Mittens can’t raise a finger to make the “We’re #1 sign”.
But there are worse things than mittens. Alabama is the “Lizard State”. Alaska is “Seward’s Folly” which is bad enough but even worse because one of the words sounds too much like “sewer”. Connecticut is the much-too-serious “Land of Steady Habits”.
Georgia is the “Goober State”, apparently a nod to the peanut industry, but I’m staying away from a state of goobers. I just washed the car for Pete’s sake. Nebraska is the “Bugeating State.” Here’s a hint: making two words into one doesn’t make it pretty. Silly “Cornhuskers”. North Carolina is “The Tar Heel State”. What is that and why are they proud of it?
Oregon is the “Webfoot State” which I sincerely hope is a reference to a university mascot. At one time South Carolina had “The Iodine Products State” on their license plates. Bleh. Must have been before there were cars.
So yeah, “Mitten State” maybe isn’t so bad after all and “Michigander” is just fine.
But what about here in our fair city? What should we call residents of Dexter, Michigan?
“Dexteranians” sounds forced. “Dextermites” sounds like a bunch of bugs. “Dexternals” would make outsiders think we only come out at night. For a few weeks in the late 1960’s we were known as “Dexterterrestrials.” Glad that one didn’t stick around.
To give some extra “umph!” to our sports team’s (ahem) Dexterity we could insist on being referred to as “Dexterminators” or maybe “Dextroyers”. Good for sports. Bad for community development.
But for all Dexternalized concern of what people may think of us and how we’re labeled, there’s one word that many, if not most of us can embrace. For those of fortunate enough to be within the Dexterior of this community, it has a deeper meaning than simply the location for Amazon to drop your stuff.
For “Dexterites” (which seems to be the unofficially accepted moniker), it’s where we return from a day of work, a trip or a semester away at school. It is here we poke fun at each other and in turn can laugh at ourselves. It is where we can find brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers, blood-related and not.
It can be the place of life’s greatest tragedies and life’s greatest triumphs over tragedy.
Be it ever so humble in all our coming and going, living and dying, laughing and crying, in the words of one ruby-slippered gal clicking her heals together declaring that of all the location names and labels that give us place and identity in this world, “there’s no place like … home.”