From the outside, underneath all those layers of winter clothing, your typical Wisconsinite looks kind, self-effacing, and a just a little fluffy. (It’s the down jacket. Really.) But unzip that jacket, take off the sweater, remove the long johns, call in a surgeon to open the chest cavity, and you will find a heart much like your own, a heart filled with mitten envy.
While the rest of the nation frets about the economy, global warming, and Mitt Romney’s hair, tensions between Wisconsin and Michigan have been escalating. The Wisconsin board of tourism recently started a campaign to lure people to the state by depicting Wisconsin as a mitten. This enraged Michigan who has long been luring people to its state by posing as a mitten. (They have satellite images to prove it.) I’m sure you’re aware of how effective this has been. You want a vacation without the hustle and bustle of working people clogging up the streets as they go to and from their jobs? Then Detroit is your place; your Michigan fits your desire like a mitten.
What the people of Michigan have failed to understand, because I have not yet revealed it to them, is that the tourism campaign is actually a federally funded study on the effects of beer on Wisconsinites. (People here drink 38.2 gallons per person per year, which based on drunk driving arrests is probably about 30+ gallons too much.)
As part of the study, the members of the tourism board were forced to sit in a room with nothing but a large map of Wisconsin and an unlimited amount of beer. Although it took one member just three beers to see Wisconsin as a mitten, it took most of them six beers to see it. The lone holdout had to stand in the corner, squint, and drink another beer before he saw it.
The government is developing a rating system for tourism campaigns in every state and soon you will start seeing a little beer steins as the bottom of posters and flyers based on the average number of beers needed to understand or appreciate them.
Unfortunately, I am not a beer drinker, so I can’t see the mitten in the map. I may have to do my own study using wine. I’ll keep you posted. However, I was able to do about 90 minutes of research by squinting at a map of Wisconsin during a recent meeting I attended. I saw two things.
First, I saw a man gargling Green Bay.
Second, I saw a man with his hand at his throat wondering where he lost his mitten.
As your Mitten War correspondent, embedded in the throat of Wisconsin, I am thankful that so far only words and images have been hurled about, But I’m worried; the only thing keeping Michigan’s mitten from grabbing Wisconsin by the throat is Lake Michigan.