Photo: Elena Efimova/Shutterstock

How to Spot a Michigander

by Michael Diaz Oct 27, 2016

1. Where others have a “mom”, we have a “maahhm”; where some would place a pot in the stove, we place a “paahht.”

Take your thumb and index finger and pinch your nose closed while whining the word “mom” while drawing out the vowel. Now you’re speaking like a Michigander!

I lived on this Earth for 20+ years before a friend from Canada (or, “Cahnuhduh” as we so nasally say here) pointed it out to me. I was surprised, but damn it if she wasn’t right.

While the rest of you in the world may have a “roof”, ask just about any Michigander what the top of their house is called and without thinking we’ll reply with a guttural “ruff.”

Now, we’ll spell it right, and heck, if we think about it we’ll carefully enunciate the word as “roof,” but catch us unaware and you’ll hear us inadvertently bark.

2. We won’t have the patience to teach you to play Euchre.

It’s not just a card game. Think Spades, but better. There’s strategy, competition, deception, and possibly betting and/or cheating.

Don’t know how to play? Learn. Difficulty: no one will want to teach you because it’s faster to find someone else to play with — because 99% of the native Michigan population already knows.

3. We’ll ask you for a “pop.”

I’m no etymologist, but my own personal theory is that perhaps we call soda “pop” here due to our proximity to Canada, where it is also often called pop (just as it is in much of the UK).

4. We’ll stand firm that Sprite splashed with cola is no substitute for Vernor’s.

I don’t drink Vernor’s ginger ale often, not even for the medicinal properties that my father claimed it had. However, every once in a while I crave it, usually when it comes to enjoying a “ginger and rye”.

Let me tell you something, rest of the world: Sprite/7-Up splashed with cola, while it may have the same color, is NOT ginger ale. I had the horror of asking for a ginger and rye at a bar out of state once, took a sip, and asked, “what is this?!!”

Once you realize that most of the rest of the U.S., let alone the rest of the world, has no idea what a decent ginger ale is, you’ll understand a Michigander’s diehard love of Vernor.

5. We will use our hand as a map.

If we live in the L.P., we’ll take their right hand and hold it straight up and use our left hand to point to approximate location of where they live.

Yoopers will hold up their left hand and turn it inward 90°, using their right hand to point to where they live in the U.P.

Can’t do it? You’re not from Michigan.

6. We know what L.P. and U.P. stand for.

No idea what I’m talking about?

Look up “peninsula” and figure it out from there.

7. We believe in trolls.

The majority of us here live in the lower peninsula, which is south of the Mackinac Bridge. As we live below the bridge, we are trolls. Get it?

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