Zombie Pirates In Cheesehead Land: Part 2: This Is Weird, Lets Roll

[I posted part 1 just so I could tell today’s story; which is actually true (though I’m leaving out some details).]

Y’all know I regularly go “off grid”, spend time talking to trees, and otherwise avoid the normal zeitgeist everyone takes for granted. I don’t watch TV and ignore most of what passes for “news”. I talk to my dog instead. I find a higher level of intellectual discourse that way. Sometimes I take this feeling of “distance” to extremes. One particular situation had me arriving in America after many months abroad. I was a fish out of water.

I barely had time to shake off jet lag and ponder the novelty of a place where money was dollars and everyone spoke English (obviously I returned to America and not California) when I wound up in a semi rolling down the highway. Good thing I wasn’t driving because I hadn’t seen a real interstate for a goodly time. I spent most of the time beaming with joy at the quality of our roads. American highways are huge!

After a couple of days delivering barrels of industrial lubricants (and making every kind of disgusting joke you can imagine) we wound up in Wisconsin. We’d swapped trailers and were laden with a payload of something like 15 tons of ketchup.

Yep, ketchup. If it goes on your fries, it came in a truck.

Finally, we pulled into a truck stop. I love truck stops! Nothing like a greasy burger and 100 gallons of diesel to shake off the residue of “expatriate” and ease back into my true “Merican” heart and soul. I tanked the truck while the driver went inside to eat. Then I joined him.

. . .

Something was terribly wrong. I mean super wrong. We sat down to get dinner but everyone was screaming with ecstatic joy. There was shouting. There were high fives. Things were being playfully tossed about. Everyone was drunk. It was like Denny’s at 2:00 am but if you served crystal meth on the pancakes.

People were running up and down the aisles; arms in the air, whooping and shouting. Only the driver and I were unaffected.

I collared one of the revelers. “What. The. Fuck. Are. You. Doing?”

“Whooooooo!!!! YEAAAAAAAHHHHH!” He explained. Then he pivoted away, crashed into the pie display, and charged out of the restaurant. Several equally incoherent peers followed. One fell into a snowdrift and his friends joyously dragged him out. Then they threw him back in. Or maybe fell in after him. It was hard to say. Someone in a Chevy was doing donuts in the parking lot. The waitress was bouncing around and could barely focus to take our order. It was New Years eve, a Bacchanalia, and last call… all at once. But less nattily attired.

My driver wasn’t the sort of fellow to get out much either. Nice guy but of the two of us I was supposedly the one who was worldly wise. For example I’d been the navigator the whole trip. I nodded at the mayhem. He shrugged his shoulders. We were clueless.

I noticed a few of the maniacs had tri-cornered hats. Something like the fashion of a colonial American in 1780, or the label of a Samuel Adams beer bottle. It wasn’t Independence day. Also the color was all wrong. Sort of a hybrid of Paul Revere and Spongebob Squarepants.

I cornered another one. “What’s with the hat?”


Uh huh.

I leaned over to the driver. “This is weird. Let’s roll.”

He agreed and five minutes later we were on the highway hoping to find a state where the water wasn’t laced with LSD.

That was my introduction to Green Bay Packers Fans. They proudly call themselves Cheeseheads; which should tell you what you’re getting into when you meet them.

It was the winter of ’97 and the Packers had won the Superbowl just hours before my arrival. I had no idea. As far as I could tell, everyone in Wisconsin inexplicably decided to drink a keg of beer, put a foam triangle in their head, and run around in the snow like lemurs on crack. I presumed it had something to do with cabin fever or maybe ice fishing. Lacking context, I was denied critical, need-to-know information.  I was unexpectedly thrust into Wisconsin just as the entire state had a synchronized sports related orgasm.

Packers fans are not “fans”. They are a highly evolved species of beer and cheese consuming super-beings. I love ’em for that!

Since that strange (and mildly terrifying) introduction, I cannot help but hold up Packers fans as the ultimate distillation of sweet and harmless American football fandom. They are just as crazy as the most devoted soccer hooligans or rugby fans or any other cult-like team supporters but they’re nice. And drunk. But they’re nice drunks. And there’s cheese. For some reason the cheese matters. I don’t know, you’ll have to ask them.

I salute Cheeseheads because they’re sweet, loud, and planet level loopy. My only caveat is they should put up a warning sign on the Wisconsin line. Folks who haven’t yet met one need to be warned.

About AdaptiveCurmudgeon

Adaptive Curmudgeon is handsome, brave, and wise.
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19 Responses to Zombie Pirates In Cheesehead Land: Part 2: This Is Weird, Lets Roll

  1. Mark Matis says:

    So what you’re saying is that Packer fans are life’s Gremlins???

  2. Nate says:

    The term cheesehead was originally meant as a retaliation from our neighbors to the south for calling them FIBs (F-ing Illinois Bastards). We took their lame attempt of nanny nanny boo boo and owned it. Yes, we can get nutty about the Packers, but befriend a Sconnie and you have a friend for life.

  3. As a transplant to behind the Cheddar Curtain, I agree…the first thing I was struck by when my wife and I relocated here from Northern California (less foreign than Southern California, but more liberal, at least in the college towns. Outside of those, rednecks delightfully ruled the day. Logging, milling, and commercial fishing were the main employers when we left in ’98) was how nice everyone was. Even the cashiers at the -Marts (K, Wal, etc.) were pleasant and seemed to genuinely care how our day was going.

    Oh, and the cheese thing…Wisconsin, up until recently, was the cheese and dairy production capitol of the US. California now produces more dairy than us, but we, and the rest of the world, apparently think our quality is still unparalleled.

    • AdaptiveCurmudgeon says:

      I’m aware that Wisconsin makes lots of cheese. It’s still a bit weird to put it on your head. I never met a Lobsterhead in Maine.

      Also I have noticed that most folks in WI are pretty nice. Only time I was treated rudely was in Madison and that wasn’t too bad.

      Since you’re behind the cheese curtain, have you encountered a place that allegedly sells “food” called the Meat-a-roo?

      • Nate says:

        Madison is known as the People’s Republic of Madison. That may explain your treatment there.

      • There is a chain call Beefaroo in Northern Illinois…scattered around Rockford. Pretty much a generic burger chain with architecturally distinct stores (each store has a different theme, train station, office building, warehouse, etc. I think orginally it was because they bought cheap buildings.)

        And yes, Madison is a bunch of wannabe Berkleyites transplanted into the middle of thousands of acres of farmland. Mostly we just ignore them. It is however a good place to go if you want authentic foreign cuisine…everything from asado to pho, done pretty well.

      • AdaptiveCurmudgeon says:

        I don’t think that’s it. I’m guessing “Beefaroo” is way upscale compared to the “Meat-A-Roo” I recall. Or maybe I ate at one that was an outlier. My meal was so memorably bad that I remember taking a photo of the place just to document just how amazingly bad food can get. It was somewhere in northern WI. It was a long time ago so I can’t find the photo. It might be on a 35 mm slide somewhere. (Yes, I used to carry a 35mm with me. Apparently I’m old.)

      • Northern Wisconsin abounds with odd little dining experiences…some surprising for their quality, others, not so much. Tiny towns without a lot of dining options make for some astoundingly bad decisions on the part of operators. It sounds like your Meat-a-Roo was one of the places that is in business because no one else in the area wants to bother.

      • AdaptiveCurmudgeon says:

        It was comically bad.

      • AdaptiveCurmudgeon says:

        I’ve written about food in Wisconsin before; about three years ago. The key phrase is this:

        “Nothing good comes from Chinese food cooked to the sounds of Lynyrd Skynyrd.”

        The link is here.

    • Paul Joat says:

      Cheese from Wisconsin is worth more than cheese from other states for some reason, dairies in Minnesota ship their milk to WI for processing.
      WI is at the top of the list for alcohol consumption per capital, every store sells beer, I don’t think you are allowed to sell gasoline in WI if you don’t also sell beer.
      If you make a trip across WI it’s a toss up if you will see more billboards for cheese or adult entertainment. It seems if every small town has at least one cheese shop and strip club, some have more than one of each.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I find it interesting that Packers Fans OWN the team…..not some random Billionaire. 112,000 + stockholders own the team. In a state that has a population of only several Million. I think that’s pretty cool. So yeah….most of the state takes a strong interest in the team. I like it that you mentioned in passing….unlike soccer hooligans who have been known to actually KILL someone over a game at worst a Packers Fan might shower you with beer . ( Though….they hardly ever actually waste beer). ( Note: My wife is a fan….I can take em or leave em. I will also mention that for reasons that aren’t totally clear to me…..although we live in the Houston metro area…..a local wings place has HUGE crowds for every Packers game. Go figure. I also note that a different wings place ( BW3) they have a hamburger that comes with cheese curds on top. Cheese curds are like training food for Packer fans. ( Are Packer Fans trying to slowly take over wing places??? Will they become winged cheeseheads?? Hmmm )

  5. Robert says:

    My live-in landlord has a cheesehead foam hat on top of the living room projection tv. With a half-full oil lamp perched on top of the hat. He avidly watches games in his room in the basement while swearing in a way that sounds like a drunken pissed-off fan with tourretes syndrome. I shudder to think what will happen if he ever actually dons the hat. And on behalf of all Wisconsinites, I apologize for your rude Madison experience; I hope it wasn’t me. I moved out of Madtown 4 years ago and now just work there- which makes me cranky. Dammit.

  6. Zendo Deb says:

    Being originally from the People’s Republic of Illinois, “Cheese head” began life as a pejorative word for any Wisconsin sports fan. But like a lot of despised minorities, they decided to embrace the term. Hence the foam triangles.

    No one in Illinois understands it either.

    • AdaptiveCurmudgeon says:

      I can see that. After all, I happily call myself “redneck” and “deplorable”. The latter is my favorite. When Hillary called half of the country “deplorable” is when I started thinking “wow, she might snatch defeat from the hands of victory”. It works on so many levels.

      I presume nobody in Wisconsin wants the approval of Illinois anyway. (Possible exception for residents of the People’s Republic of Madison.) I sense a statement something like this; “Hi, I’m from Chicago-land, you rubes are deplorable cheeseheads and I’m going back to my tax and murder capital to bitch about it.” 🙂

    • AdaptiveCurmudgeon says:

      I just clicked over to 357 Magnum. Excellent video link for the screaming event.

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