Thursday, March 17, 2011


Last week, when reading my latest issue of Time magazine, I came across an article concerning the State of Utah.  The article opened by stating, "The Beehive State is.....".  Unfortunately, I cannot even relay to you what the rest of the article was about, because I kept finding myself wondering why any state would want to be known as  the Beehive State.  As a Michigander, Michigan will always be, to me, best known as  the Great Lakes State.  We have other nicknames as well, such as the Winter Water Wonderland, along with the Mitten State, and while both of these nicknames are nice, of the three, I think the title of the Great Lakes State conjures up the most beautiful of all the images.  It has always been my assumption that a state nickname is used not really to identify the state, but rather to express the features about it that were most likely to draw in tourists.  For example, when I think of the Great Lakes State the image that comes to mind is of a warm, sandy beach, nestled against one of our many, vast and beautiful lakes. I can see the waves rolling gently towards the shore...with the reflection of our bright summer sunshine, creating a sea of sparkling diamonds mirrored on its surface.  I am reminded of the gentle breezes that flowed from off those waters; tousling my hair. I remember, too, the sounds of happy children as they played along the beach.  Those are the kinds of images that a nickname should bring to mind; not the ones created when I contemplated the name, the Beehive State.
What I thought of, with that particular nickname, was reading a pamphlet that I had received with my antibiotics this past November, which stated that one of its multiple uses happened to be the prevention and treatment of Malaria.  Since Malaria sounded far more exotic than the ordinary respiratory infection I believed I had I, of course, decided to switch conditions and contract Malaria instead.  I read the pamphlet further to garner any other useful information it might contain regarding this condition but, much to my dismay, it just had a colorless, boring warning that stated, "To prevent Malaria, one should avoid being bitten by mosquitoes."     Immediately I decided that I could do a much better job as a writer of warning labels, and the first one that I devised was one about bees. My warning would read, "To avoid being stung by a swarm of angry bees DO NOT, under any circumstances,  pick up a beehive in both hands and shake it vigorously, while, simultaneously, shouting insulting remarks about their queen!"   Although I still consider that to be a far more interesting warning than the one written about Malaria, (and apparently very useful to bear in mind should one happen to find themselves in Utah), I do not feel that it should be the first thing one thinks of, upon hearing Utah's nickname.
That made me wonder if other states had odd nicknames, so I took it upon myself to research the subject, and I discovered some interesting results.  While many states have more than one nickname, California, for example, is known as both the Sunshine State, as well as the Cereal Bowl of the Nation, I am only including the more unusual titles that my research uncovered. Consider if you will Delaware, which  is the Chemical State, and Florida, known also as the Alligator State.  Or how about North Carolina,  the Turpentine State, and Tennessee, which boasts the nickname, the Hog and Hominy State.  On the other hand a few that I found more charming were New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes and Washington, the Evergreen State.  Kansas had an unique nickname too; the Home of Beautiful Women.  That name didn't particularly make me want to vacation there, but it did make me resent the fact that Michigan hadn't thought of using the name first.
In any case, I like Michigan's nickname the best, and not just because I reside here.  I just feel very strongly that I do not want to live, or visit, in a state, which considers its best feature to be its abundance of angry bees, or high quality turpentine.
***Cautionary note to reader...Be very careful when contracting pretend Malaria from reading a pamphlet.  In my case if was very hard to cure, and eventually required a visit to the hospital emergency room. Since I was already acquainted with the emergency room doctor, having met him the year before when he treated my husband for non-pretend broken ribs sustained from falling off a ladder, I felt at ease explaining about my condition.  He listened with interest as I told him how my respiratory illness had led to my contracting Malaria, and then he asked me to describe my symptoms.   I stated that, upon every inhalation of breath, I felt as if the blade of a very sharp dagger, which had been heated in the burning coals of  Hell, was being thrust into my chest, through my lungs and then out my back.  He pondered this for a moment, and then decided that a chest ex-ray was in order.  When he returned with my results I was quite surprised when he informed me that my pretend Malaria was actually real pneumonia and pleurisy.  The lesson I learned from this was that one should exercise great caution when choosing an ailment from the multiple choices provided in their antibiotic pamphlet. Apparently, some pretend conditions are just more difficult to treat, than others. ***Additional note: I am pleased to say, that, following my description of my symptoms, the doctor asked me if I happened to be a writer. :D


  1. Ha Ha,sounds like my mom she would read an article and decide that was her illness~~I agree Michigan has one of the best logos for their state~~good read~~~ nancy abriel martin

    1. thanks, nancy...and i like your mother! i always feel that it is in ones own best interest to carefully choose the ailment that they are suffering from...and to make sure that it is the one that will result in them receiving the most get-well gifts!! :D