Hold Your Fire! And What's With The Seeing-Eye Dog?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Welcome to Michigan...and if you happen to see Stevie Wonder, might be a good idea to be very VERY nice to him....

Submitted: September 17, 2006

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Submitted: September 17, 2006



It’s currently 10pm, Michigan time, according to my wristwatch, the car radio and my computer. I am somewhat perplexed though, that many establishments and citizens I have passed in Michigan seem to contest this fact.

The clock in the hotel lobby reads 9:45, and the time showing on the local news is 9:30. Even the kind, elderly lady I asked on the way down to the reception offered me a variation on the hour. (She also had a different idea about the day and the year, but she was extremely sweet nonetheless.)

This doesn’t perturb me in the least, as I don’t have any particular schedule to adhere to - although, one wonders how anyone else here keeps their preset appointments.
We have been exploring the beautiful countryside in the delightful state of Michigan, in particular, the curiously charming township of Kalamazoo. We stopped here for an overnighter, on our way through to Ann Arbor.

We were more than a little bewildered on our arrival.
As we pulled into the main street, we were met with hoots and cheers and balloons being released into the sky. Whilst we were enormously flattered, we couldn’t quite understand why our visitation would prompt such wild expressions of jubilation.

As it turns out, it wasn’t two weary and hungry tourists that were causing all of this hullabaloo, but a town coming together to celebrate a momentous event in Michigan’s history.

Intrigued, we alighted from the car and set off to find out more.

As it happens, on this day in 1909, the first mile of concrete highway was laid in this gracious state. I took out my journal and started scribbling furiously. What an amazing stroke of luck to wander into a town on such an important occasion.
Eager to know more details, I grabbed one of the local boys, who was busy releasing more streamers into the blue. Where is this mile of concrete? Who laid it? What is the significance of this?

The local lad, who was most obliging in his answer, told me that he didn’t have a clue where it was, who laid it, and really couldn’t care less about its significance. He was too fired up over the fact that the pubs were opening an hour earlier in its honor. (I had to ask whether they were opening an hour earlier according to Michigan time, or Land of Oz time.)

In all seriousness, Michigan is a gorgeous state. It’s green and leafy in many parts and sports exquisite peninsulas in its northern regions. Given the abundance of such lush woodland and forests, it came as no surprise to me to learn that Michigan is THE state to live in if you are a hunting enthusiast.

I looked at some of the local pamphlets and was quite amazed at the sheer number of hunting ranches and lodges available to those who would like nothing better than to knock off a couple of deer, or duck (or, as stated in one brochure, Kudu. I don’t know what ‘Kudu’ are, but they sound most ferocious.)

I, personally, have an aversion to guns, mainly because they have a habit of going off and causing all sorts of inconveniences, namely death. However, like all things foreign to me, I was curious to educate myself further.

Most of the laws here are pretty stock standard really. First of all, you need a license, and you can apply for one of these at your friendly neighborhood police station or sheriff’s office. It’s a relatively easy process after that. As long as you are not frothing at the mouth and singing “I Have a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” whilst signing the form, you’re home and hosed. (Well, if you are growling and drooling rabidly, expect to be “hosed” anyway.)

So, no great surprises there. I must admit, I was somewhat floored at discovering that Michigan is one of the few places in the world (with perhaps the exception of Fajullah) that a blind person can own and use a loaded weapon for the purpose of hunting.
Considering that we had been thinking of taking a leisurely stroll through some of the woodlands later that evening, this tidbit of information suddenly had me a trifle uncomfortable.

I guess that most Michigan folk get around this issue though, and I would submit that if one was in the business of regular woodland ‘frolicking’, the scenario would play out something like this:

“OK..I’m walking, walking, walking SOUTH now. Yes, taking a turn, slooowly turning, TURNING RIGHT HERE!! Yep, walking, walking, walking and I’M STOPPING NOW, JUST NEAR THIS BIG TREE ON YOUR LEFT, YOU HEAR?”

In all fairness, I think that blind hunters would possibly be a lot more cautious and capable (and one would hope brighter) than some of the less-than-cerebral gun owners in Michigan, as some local stories led me to conclude.

There was an article in a local Michigan newspaper a couple of years ago, about a pair of robbers who entered a record shop nervously waving revolvers. The first one shouted, "Nobody move!" When his partner moved, the startled first bandit shot him.

This was only slightly less fruity than an incident in Ann Arbor itself (our next destination), where a man walked into a Burger King in the early hours of the morning, flashed a gun and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn’t open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren’t available for breakfast. The frustrated (and may I add cretinous) felon turned around and walked away.

So, I have gone out and acquired a bright orange vest that hunters wear so that their fellow gun-toting companions don’t mistake them for deer, or ducks, or in some cases, ‘Kudu’. I have also taken the time to purchase a bright and shiny megaphone.
That being said, I’m completely prepared now to set off exploring, in the hope of finding this elusive one-mile stretch of concrete.

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