Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fudge, "Happy Feet" and Mets fans far from home

Fudge is the main export of Mackinac Island. Sadly, employees here did not let me buy one of their hats!

You never know where you will run into another displaced Mets fan.

I’ve spent part of each of the last two weeks at Mackinac Island, which is one of Michigan’s prime tourist spots.

It’s a beautiful little island located between the state’s upper and lower peninsulas, which means it’s about three hours from civilization. It’s accessible only by ferry, and is famous for banning motorized vehicles -- which means it is overrun with bicycles and horses.

I’m allergic to horses so I try to keep my distance. But I’m a quick learner. If you see a puddle and it hasn’t rained, you don't do splashing around.

But I digress. The main exports seem to be fudge – there are 17 places to buy it – and t-shirts. Luckily, I like both.

Last week I went north as a chaperone with my daughter’s fourth-grade trip. It’s a four-hour bus ride, and I think the kids were freaked out after being forced to watch “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” on the coach’s DVD player. It’s been years since I’ve seen it. I think if Truly Scrumptious had sang one more song the kids would have started throwing their Crocs at the screens.

After surviving the horse-drawn carriage tour – barely – and touring Fort Mackinac and the Butterfly House, we had some time to shop for fudge and souvenirs.

I entered one store and heard a ball game on the radio, then heard the “Let’s go Mets...FAN” jingle. There are few sounds nicer to these ears, especially if it dislodges “Toot Sweets” from my head.

“Hey, is that the Mets?” I asked to the guy behind the counter. “Awesome!”

Turned out the owner is a New Jersey native. He said he ordered XM Satellite radio just to be able to hear Mets games while he works in the store.

“People come in all the time, hear a game and ask if the Tigers are winning,” he said. “I tell them ‘I have no idea, I’m listening to the Mets.’”

Naturally, we had a nice conversation about the struggles of being Mets fans located to the Midwest, and how well the season was going on.

I couldn’t stay too long because my daughter still was looking for a store selling a little stuffed puppy with magnetic paws and one of those machines that squish pennies for her collection before we had to catch the ferry back to the mainland.

On the bus ride back the kids watched “Happy Feet,” which was as traumatizing to the adults as “Chitty” was to the kids.

Why do the penguins run around singing Queen songs? Where do they hear these songs so they can learn them in the first place? Why do the little penguins run around talking like a Latino street gang? How come Mumble can speak right after being hatched? Why did they name him “Mumble?” If I saw dancing penguins, I would not take that as a sign they were telling me we were eating too much fish. Why are they trying to make me feel guilty for eating fish? I like fish!

We stopped at McDonalds on the way home, and I almost ordered a McFish just to show the penguins who is atop the food chain.

I returned back to Mackinac Island this week with my family and parents. By the way, it’s pronounced “MACK-in-aw” despite how is spelled. The reason might have been explained on the horse carriage tour the previous week, but I probably missed it while sneezing. Damn horses.

And even more strange, the city on the mainland across from the island is Mackinaw City, spelled the way it is pronounced. I do my best trying to figure the state out. It's a struggle.

We naturally shopped for more fudge and t-shirts and squished pennies and of course made it back to the shop owned by the Mets fan.

I heard a game playing again, though I knew the Mets wouldn’t be playing until that night.

“You’re the guy from last week!” the shop owner said. I asked what game was on the radio.

“Yankees,” the guy said.

“Dude, I thought you were one of us?” I said, fearing he was one of those people who claims to root for both teams. That would expose him as a fraud, since we know no one can root for both Mets and Yankees.

“When the Mets aren’t on, I listen to the Yankees. I like to hear them lose.”

Relieved, I approved when I son picked out a sweatshirt to buy. Mets fans stick together.


Anonymous said...

After last night's game if you're not a Met fan and you come from NY, you are crazy. I could watch the game in HD on ESPN. I'm not sure you saw it but it's worth a recap. First off, HD in and of itself, is a man's dream come true (except for the facial close up of Benitez, which is just way too much detail). After we got to the bottom of the 12th and the lowly steroid praising Giants had only Armando left you could feel the excitement at Shea. Reyes walks, steals second, and gets balked to third then balked to home. Have you every seen that? Jose was jumping out of his skin, not to mention Benitez. The fans smelled blood, and the stadium erupted! How many times did you cringe when Benitez would come out to relieve for the Mets, I can't believe he's still playing. Then the best part, mighty Delgado smashes his second HR of the day…. and in the immortal words of Vince Scully "the Mets win it!!" What is there not to love?
P.S. I like to watch the Yankee's lose too. Anyone says they like both teams; either is a convict, deviant or in need of serious mental counseling!!
P.S.S. Mailed the program out yesterday, should be there in three days.
TW, Granite bay

Burrill said...

I hated Happy Feet. I wasn't just ambivalent about it, or just like a couple parts of it; I genuinely hated it. I hated being led to believe that I was going to see a fun kids movie when I was actually going to see one of the most politically pushy movies I've ever seen outside productions involving Michael Moore or Al Gore.

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Tim, that was a glorious game! I was listening to MLB radio on my laptop -- not realizing it was on ESPN! DOOH. I had to think we would do well against Armando, if only because we've seen so many other teams do it to us! And you have to think that next time Delgado digs in against him, Benitez will deliver one right between the numbers, like he did to Tino Martinez when Armando was with the O's. Not that drilling Yankees is a bad thing by any means.

And Mr. Burrill, you are so right! That movie should have been subtitled "An Inconvient Truth About Fishing." I'm STUNNED there wasn't any outrage about the portrayals of the Latino penguins. And that thing actually got an Ocsar.

Mike V said...

Dave, you going to Detroit this weekend? I'll be at Friday night's game!

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Mike, Welcome to Michigan! sadly, I'll only be at Sunday's game! Would have been awesome to catch up with you.