I was recently on the world wide webs and came across a fairly funny vanity license plate. It had a star spangle bannered Upper Peninsula and a caption that read “American by birth. Yooper by the grace of God.”
Funny enough for a 1977 Ford Granada but I won’t be screwing that onto my bumper any time soon.
But that plate got me thinking: Yooper is the universal unofficial term for our fellow Michiganeers in the Upper Peninsula but what about us in the Lower Peninsula?
Why are we missing out on a peculiar peninsular pet name?
I mean, what are we called? What do Yoopers call us?
If you ask around, you might get a not-so-funny-but-trying-to-be-funny response that those living in the Lower Peninsula are referred to as trolls, because we’re below the Mackinac Bridge. Get it?
The thing is: Lower Peninsula people live south of the bridge, not under it. It doesn’t really fit and I’m willing to bet a Muskegon nickel that Yoopers never use the term.
So I asked native Yooper Stiig Emblad, “is ‘troll’ regularly used by Yoopers in reference to those in the Lower Peninsula?”
His answer: no. “People don’t actually really use it. Some will people use it, but it’s not a regular thing.”
So that got me thinking, what would be an appropriate term for people from the Lower Peninsula?
Low-pers. L-P-ers. Elpers. Flat-landers. Coney-eaters. Vowel-slicers. Tax-dollar wasters. Lions Fans. Fudgies?
I don’t know.
Well Yooper Stiig says, “we refer to the Lower Peninsula as Down-State.”
And thus that would mean Lower Peninsula People would be... Downers.
Which is kind of appropriate after you hear news stories and political bloviations emanating from Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
I mean, how could leaving the beautiful, nature-riffic Upper Peninsula be anything but a downer?