This Michigan City People are Born With Maps Built in Hands
If you were born in Michigan or moved here from somewhere else, you’ve probably done this. When someone asks you where you live, you raise your hand and show them…the mitten. The Lower Peninsula is another name for it. I point to the middle of my hands because I live in Lansing. This is where I live.
It might be a little rough. In this case, though, the hand is a good enough guide. And the Strange Maps blog tells you how to use this hand map and what each finger stands for. Just like how the thumb shows the east side of Saginaw Bay and the pinkie the Leelanau Peninsula.
Don’t worry—the Upper Peninsula is also talked about. A real mashup? Not certain. But at least you can take this map with you everywhere (ha!).
Michigan, the Hands-On State
Mitte means middle or in the middle in German. The Midwest is the name of 12 US states, including Michigan. The Lower (southern) Peninsula of the Great Lakes State is often called the Mitten. This isn’t because it looks like a German glove style with no fingers, but because it does. Picture a glove on your right hand that is facing you. Saginaw Bay is where the fingers separate from the thumb.
After that, the Mitten can be used as a rough GPS for anywhere in the Lower Peninsula (LP). For example, if you live in Detroit, you could point to the spot below the thumb to show where you are. Touch a spot just inside the Mitten’s middle on the left side for Grand Rapids… On the other hand, it would be more accurate in terms of geography to drop the “mitten” metaphor and go two steps further.
When you compare the LP to a real hand that isn’t covered, you can see a lot more of the terrain. When you use the other hand (3), you can also add the Upper Peninsula (UP). So far, the whole state has been shown to us. It’s annoying that there isn’t a third hand to show all the places that this unplanned double mains map opens up. This picture could be useful.
Thoughts on “The Michigan Hand Map”
Cali’s Right Arm Does the Same Thing. As a Californian who was briefly living in Ohio in the mid-1960s, I quickly got tired of hearing Michiganders talk about the back of their left hand all the time.
It hit me one day while I was laughing at yet another hand reference to “The Thumb.” I could use my right arm to show my home state once the Michigander was done showing off Detroit, Bad Axe, or Mackinac Island.
It was possible for me to say that I was born halfway between the “funny bone” and the “inside elbow” [antecubital space] [Sacramento]. My parents soon moved to where my outer wrist was [Los Angeles], and when I was a teenager, our family would sometimes take vacations at the tip of the elbow [San Francisco] and at the antecubital space [Lake Tahoe]. You get the point!
It’s always fun to do this to people from Nebraska we meet at meetings out of state. When they ask me where I live in Michigan, I show them with my hand. At first, they look at me like I need to give them a better explanation or that I’m crazy, but then they realize, “Oh yeah, Michigan mitten.” This, of course, leads to a talk about where they have family or something. As a native Michigander who was born and raised on the “Sunrise Side” between the second and third knuckles, I love it.