A few months before the start of the Super Bowl game a few years back I returned to the part of the country I am from and made the irritating discovery that everyone there had gone nuts.
Normally Wisconsinites are the most normal people you can get, excepting of course people from Madison who many suspect escaped from the space ship that crashed at Roswell. Wisconsinites are so normal that Norman Rockwell could have painted a whole series of works on them alone.
They were normal, that is, until THEIR team, the Green Bay Packers, won the Super Bowl the year before and they mutated into half-crazed, rabid badgers (actually, that is a bad metaphor- that is another famous Wisconsin team. Let’s say ‘rabid aardvark’ instead).
This victory transformed an ordinary God rearing farmer folk back into the Viking raiders (another bad metaphor, these being two rival teams, but I don’t have my thesaurus with me so I’ll just let it stand) and Goth barbarians that their ancestors were.
Ordinarily the rest of the country doesn’t pay much attention to we Wisconsinites. As long as they are getting their regular shipments of cheese and sausage they are happy and leave us in peace. We are no more to them than a faint blur on the ground as they are flying over to more exciting places like London or Quebec or even Toledo.
No problem, we like it that way. We don’t mind being forgotten or thought of as being boring (Wisconsinites are not really boring as legend has it, we are quite frisky actually. We have to have something to keep us warm in those long frigid winter months. We aren’t quite as randy as the Eskimos with their wife-sharing, but we come as close to that as is legal.)
If being considered boring is the price it takes to have all those cross country travelers continue to journey through Illinois and by pass us then it is all right with us.
People in the Cheese State had gone bonkers with wearing green and gold, the official Packer colors. So many of them are wearing it that if you were to lay everyone side by side they would all look like a field of marigolds the size of Lake Michigan from outer space. In many small towns to walk out of the house on a football Sunday without wearing a Packers insignia or sweat shirt would be to invite a lynching or stoning.
Packer emblems were everywhere. There were Packer hats (someone explain to me why they are made baseball style). Packer check books, Packer salami, even Packer toilet paper (makes you wonder if the manufacturer is a fan or an enemy) I’m sure if you wanted to you could get a coffin emblazoned with a Packers emblem. Speaking of which there are supposedly people who have had the Packer symbol etched upon their gravestones.
Tickets to advance games are sold out up to thirty years from now (true!) Season tickets are actually handed down like heirlooms in families. People are so driven out of their minds by the mania that they actually putting down good money for Packer stocks that offer no dividends.
Perhaps the ultimate sign that many citizens of our fair state are ready for institutionalizing is when they tore all the old sod out of the stadium before the playoffs one year and sold it to people lined up to buy it for $10 apiece.
There were even security guards present to ensure that none were stolen (that would have made for a great ‘Help Wanted’ ad- “Security guards needed to watch over cut up pieces of dirt. Extra hazard pay offered.”) This capitalistic action went so well that they tore up the sod again and sold it the next year. American Capitalism at its purest.
Yes, Wisconsinites love their Packers. They can be compared to having a large, loving, loyal dog that keeps you company and keeps you warm throughout a long, cold winter. It’s almost as good as living in a neighborhood full of Eskimo wives.