Hey non-native Minnesotans, what were some of your most profound “Whoa, I’m really in Minnesota” moments after you arrived? Let me guess:
• When you bought a parka
• When someone offered you lutefisk
• When you were gravely advised on which shovel to buy
• When you very quickly realized that vaguely attentive driving habits were the norm
• When you met someone named ‘Leif’
These things simply don’t happen anywhere else – except occasionally in Norway – and are in fact all part of Minnesota’s rich cultural identity.
For decades I thought there were only a couple Leifs in Minnesota. And to make matters worse, those other Leifs all sacrilegiously pronounced their names like the word ‘leaf’. (Indisputable fact: it’s pronounced like the word ‘life’.) I felt as if I was almost singlehandedly carrying the burden of one of Minnesota’s dying cultural traditions.
But then, thanks to Facebook, oh magical Facebook, an idle search one day revealed that there are TONS of Leifs in Minnesota! Walking around, oozing state heritage, smelling of stoic manliness and pine trees…
And many of these Leifs are much younger than I, meaning, that’s right, a Leif Renaissance!! Our path to Leif extinction has been narrowly averted. But for how long? Will other brave parents name their children ‘Leif’, continuing the state’s solemn tradition and dooming their sons to at least 16 years of cruel and unimaginative taunts by their mouth-breathing, zero-contributing peers? We can only hope so.
As part of the effort to preserve our state’s prized heritage, I would like to formally propose that Governor Dayton declare December 16th “Leif Day” in Minnesota. Government offices will shut down, parking meters won’t be enforced, a parade, naturally, will be held – say, on Hennepin Avenue, between 12th Street and Washington.
Furthermore, unofficially, December 16th, will also be declared “International Hug a Leif Day,” just in case I’m out of town.
Please show your support for “Leif Day” and “International Hug a Leif Day” by signing in the comments area below. I will present the signatures to Governor Dayton and Buddha and we should be good to go for at least an informal 2011 celebration at Grumpy’s on Washington this Friday.
Thank you for generously supporting our cherished state heritage and well-deserved recognition of our hard working, heroic Leifs.