Sunday, August 10, 2014

The "Middie" Project

This being an election year, people may be more than usually touchy about some things, and you want to be extra careful not to offend. I’m not running for office or anything, but you never know when you might want to persuade someone of the error of his voting ways, and you can’t start down that road if you have a history of profiling him with some derogatory-sounding label, like “Midwesterner.” (Just kidding! Just kidding!)

I think I mentioned some posts back that we at one time developed a counter-Yuppie theme campaign (back when that seemed to matter), called the “Middie” project. That’s not to be confused with Middie as used at the Naval Academy at Annapolis where it’s an abbreviation for Midshipman (although I suppose some of their Middies could have qualified to be our Middies as well). Our Middie was an abbreviation for Midwesterner.

You may wonder, if you’re one of the small but not unconfused group following this blog, how this writer comes to this area of thought, being born a New Yorker.  

Again, the answer was telegraphed in an earlier posting, in which I owned up to having friends who were Midwesterners and to, in fact, being married to one. Instructed by my wife and these friends, I became a crypto-Middie.

The whole thing arose as part of the ill-fated mail-order venture we began when we relocated to Yosemite National Park. The community we lived in, a few miles outside the park itself, was the real-life manifestation of the proverbial “wide spot in the road.” We were a grocery store, a gas pump, a log-cabin gift shop, a mailbox, and a printing press. (Other vestiges of those times have shown up elsewhere in this blog, and undoubtedly will again.)

If you were a Yuppie of those times you are probably a Geezer today (as are we), but you will remember one of the insigniae Yuppies marched under: the Lacoste alligator.

We of course maintained that it was a croc, and went on to glorify the favorable qualities that identified one as a Middie, preparatory to introducing our competing line of lifestyle products. Admittedly, some of the criteria we applied could have been seen as less than profound:“You’re a Middie if …your highschool nickname was ‘Moose’ or ‘Dot’ …if you drank Seven and Seven all through the Perrier years; …if the words ‘Nehi Grape’ make your mouth water...”

OK, but then what was so hot about being a Yuppie?

We needed a logo, and tried repeatedly to gerrymander the map of the states that constitute the Midwest into something useful. At the time the region was defined by eight  states, but I see now that definitions on the web run to 12-1/2 (part of Colorado). The best we could do at the time resembled a truncated rhinoceros. Maybe we could have done better had we known to use the expanded definition.  At any rate, we eventually gave it up. Eventually we gave up the whole project. “Yuppie” became irrelevant. We became irrelevant before that.