It’s pronounced “MY-lynn,” you dingdong.

22 Jul

People in DC often ask where I’m from.

“You have a nasal, midwestern, Fargo twang,” they say, just before guessing, “Are you from Minnesota?”

No. Where I’m from is infinitely more interesting.

I’m from a small town in Michigan called Milan, just south of Ann Arbor. It is  known primarily for two things: its prisons and its dragway.

Do you doubt me? The Milan prison was just in headlines this week, because former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick got transferred there. Oh, and Milan hosted Lollapalooza in 1993. At the aforementioned Milan Dragway. See?

Are you starting to appreciate the cultural mecca that is Milan?

If you need more persuading, then you might want to pick up a newspaper, because Milan has definitely made the headlines for some interesting stuff. Such as:

Police Chases: Read this article and you will be surprised by a few facts, not least of which is:

  • ATVs apparently can go 100 mph
  • It is possible to outrun a cop with an ATV
  • In Michigan, it is apparently adequate to describe a perp simply as “white”

Jello Wrestling: Check out this article to see how we celebrate the SuperBowl in my hometown. I would like to give anyone – intoxicated or not – props for braving Michigan’s winter in a bikini. (And as a side note, I grew up going to the restaurant/bar referenced in the story and the family that owns it is very nice and didn’t deserve this bad publicity. They may, however, want to rethink the wrestling portion of next year’s party…)

Killer Babysitters: OK. I’m not supplying a link for this one because it’s not funny. A Milan woman who claims she was molested by her father took justice into her own hands and shot him. (If allegations were true, then I say good for her.) As it turns out, she was once my babysitter.

As a second point of clarification: a shocking number of people raised here have turned out ABSOLUTELY normal. In fact, the majority of my classmates have gone on to lead good and productive lives, and are NOT fleeing police on ATVs or spending every waking moment at the dragway. I know, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

So the next time someone talks with a nasal twang and you imagine their idea of excitement is cow tipping, think about Milan, factor in a bikini, an ATV and few hundred convicts. Then tell me if you find the midwest boring.

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2 Responses to “It’s pronounced “MY-lynn,” you dingdong.”

  1. Julie frontera January 8, 2015 at 10:33 pm #

    Nice article! My Dad grew up there, and loves that little town more than anyplace else on earth. He and my mom live in Florida now but still own real estate there. Ok, it’s their prepaid plots in the cemetary. Did I mention my Dad was on the 1948 MHS State Champ Basketball team? If not, he will, because he’s so very proud. My Dad and grandparents lived on County Street, he used to bring the guys in the fire station ‘jail’ cigarettes and pass them through the windows. My grandfather was a Milan Penitentiary prison guard, and the basketball team used to play against some of the federal prisoners for practice. I’ve walked the tracks, I’ve sat by the lake, I’ve roamed the town. You’re both right, it is a special place.

    • pithypants January 25, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

      Aww – very cool that your dad is a Milanite – and was part of the winning basketball team! Very cool – thanks for stumbling over here to share your stories!

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