A Couple Of “Characters” Created On My Michigan Travels…

I’ve done quite a lot of traveling throughout the state of Michigan. I grew up in the Mid-Michigan area (where I lived until about 1994), went to college at Central Michigan University and am now living in Southeast MI.  I’ve taken numerous road trips to the U.P. (Michigan’s “Upper Peninsula”), been all over Northern MI, toured Michigan’s Lake Huron coast, and have drooled with too many slack jaws to count at Lake Michigan sunsets.

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This sunset at Mears State Park in Pentwater, MI was so lovely that spectators applauded when it was over!

In other words? I’ve been around the Michigan “block,” if you will!

My traveling partner, aka my husband, is a person whom is, fortunately,  a fun road trip partner. We love to meld our creative minds on our travels, which helps greatly in passing the time! For example, when we were traversing the “Seney Stretch,” we came up with a back story for the comic book character the Joker. We theorized that the Joker lost his sanity when he held a delivery job for an office supply store in Seney, MI and his job was to make numerous regular trips between Seney and Shingleton, which necessitated him driving the Seney stretch several times a day. The monotony of driving the razor-straight road through unstimulating surroundings drove him insane and caused him to become a supervillain.

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You always want to be caffeinated when driving this route! The “Seney Stretch” connects Seney and Shingleton. Once you get to Munising, things get a LOT more interesting!

Before you hit the town of Seney, for which the main “claim to fame” is a wildlife refuge, you drive through the town of… Germfask. It looks like it might have had some distinction as a touristy town a few decades ago, but now looks like…this:

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Germfask, MI

After taking enough trips through Germfask, we decided it needed a backstory too! My husband decreed that Germfask was named for the no-good half brother of Gandalf, whom you should know as the bad-ass good aligned wizard in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Among Germfask’s misdeeds include betting against Shadowfax and then switching him out for other horses in horse races, charging tourists tolls to come into Germfask and then embezzling the funds, and getting his half-brother Gandalf into a lot of hot water from his shenanigans. Gandalf is ALWAYS having to bail him out. Think about Jimmy Carter and Billy Carter. Too “old” of a reference for you? Then how about…sorry, I don’t have any other suggestions!

Further south in Michigan, located toward the tip of Michigan’s “mitten,”  you will find Mullett Lake and Burt Lake. You will also find Mullett-Burt Road.

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If you drive along I-75 in Northern MI enough, you will cross Mullett-Burt Road!

So…we decided that “Mullet Burt” was a REAL person with a mullet haircut! And he became far more developed than any other character we created based on Michigan locations! He has really begun to take on a…life of his own.

A Few Facts About “Mullet Burt”

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  • He has sported a mullet hairdo since high school
  • The Tubes song She’s a Beauty reminds him of that girl named Tonya who dumped him in high school, though he still loves the song and will crank it up if it comes on the radio (he also really loves .38 Special, the Little River Band,  Journey, Asia, and Survivor). Styx is his favorite band of all time (more about that in a bit)!
  • He drives a gold 1978 Pontiac Trans Am and keeps the car in good condition. He has fuzzy dice hanging from the rear-view mirror, even though the local cops hassle him about it.
  • He waxes sentimental about wrap-around Ray-Bans from the ’80s because they “looked cool.”
  • “Fuckin’ A” is one of his favorite expressions.
  • He is on a bowling league in the cold months, and a softball team in the summer. He is a much better bowler than softball player – his team tends to stick him in the outfield – and he always get way too drunk at the softball games.
  • He enjoys carpentry but isn’t very good at it (he tends to cut corners when he builds things, and they ultimately fall apart from his shoddy workmanship).
  • Despite his multiple failings in life, he is still in decent physical shape – and still wears the same jean size he did in high school.
  • He gave up chewing tobacco about 10 years ago. Now he is a compulsive gum chewer.
  • Do not dis the band Styx in his presence. To do so is like blaspheming God himself.
  • He has been known to say things such as, “I don’t know why she didn’t want to date me anymore, I told her she had nice tits.”
  • When trivia nights happen in his local bar, he loudly blurts out answers, which are wrong 90 percent of the time.
  • If he does get a trivia question correct, it will be about the Super Bowl (he is a virtual savant with Super Bowl trivia).
  • His favorite TV show of all time is MacGyver.
  • His favorite jeans are Levi’s 501 (button fly). Size 32/34.
  • Muscle shirts are his favorite shirts in warmer weather. If it’s a bit more chilly, he will wear a denim jacket with the sleeves cut off. He will throw on a plaid flannel shirt underneath the denim vest when it gets even more chilly.
  • He has a small collection of novelty belt buckles.
  • Top Gun is his favorite movie of all time. A second all-time favorite is Road House.
  • The only jobs he has ever held with any regularity are in automotive repair shops. He specializes in the older engines, so he has a lot of clients with the older “muscle” cars who are referred to him.
  • His beer of choice is Michelob Ultra, though he’ll drink Bud Light as a second choice. When he wants to get drunk a bit more quickly, Jagermeister is his favorite drink. If Jager isn’t available, Jack Daniels will do.
  • One of his favorite hobbies (and also a part-time profession) is outboard motor repair. This keeps him well employed in summer months. He also enjoys riding around on his personal watercraft when he’s not too busy trying to score with a woman with an ’80s perm, repairing an outboard motor, or trying for that perfect bowling game. The last time he had a perfect bowling game was in September, 2017.

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