Did I almost die for “Ypsitucky”?

There are two competing theories as to whom is ultimately responsible for my recent rib-breaking in Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park. One theory, as I understand it, is that the carbon gods were angry with me. According to this school of thought, the powers that be were furious at me for upsetting the order of things, and suggesting that we mere mortals make our own power in Riverside Park. Like Prometheus, I had the audacity to steal fire from the Gods, it seems, and I was punished for it – sent speeding headlong down the side of an ice-covered mountain, into the corner of a massive, solid steel electrical box. The other theory, however, is the one that really intrigues me. According to this theory, I nearly broke my neck because the Depot Town CDC had the audacity to use the word “Ypsitucky” in the name of an event that they were planning last summer. You see, according to these folks, had the CDC still had control of the park, there would have been a soft bale of hay there, at the foot of the electrical box that I snapped my ribs against. (I’ve yet to verify it, but I’m told that the CDC had taken this precaution the previous winter.) But, as we all know, control of the parks was taken away from the CDC over their decision to use that vile word – Ypsitucky. And, now, instead of having the CDC responsible for the upkeep of the parks, which would have cost the taxpayers nothing, the City has that responsibility, which, if I remember correctly, costs us taxpayers about $40,000 a year. So, to recap, had a few members of City Council not gotten irate because of a silly name, and sought retribution, not only would the City be in better financial shape today, but I wouldn’t be screaming like a wounded bear every time I try to get out of a damned chair.


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  1. Posted January 14, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Permalink


    Bales of hay are no longer soft after they freeze and thaw and freeze and thaw and get some good ice action going.

  2. Maple St. Styrrup
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Actually, the bails of hay were there last year to feed Peter Thomason’s free range goats. It was city council’s decision to prosecute Thomason that led to the hay removal. But, you’re right. Public policy does directly affect public health and safety. As such, I think we can all anticipate some cracked ribs in our future.

  3. Posted January 15, 2010 at 8:34 am | Permalink


  4. Kim
    Posted January 15, 2010 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Is it possible that City Council, like Hitler, consulted with fortune tellers and people claiming to be able to see the future? If so, perhaps they knew that you were going to joyfully run into a soft pile of hay, and then set about to remove it. That would explain why they were so anxious to get back control of the parks. They needed to remove that hay. This was a hit on your life, Mark. Make no mistake about it.

  5. Lacy
    Posted January 15, 2010 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    At first I was confused by the reference Mark made to himself “screaming like a bear.” It was tough to visualize until I figured out he must of meant like this:


  6. Big Mac-Attacker
    Posted January 15, 2010 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    i think you should sue the city…but not for money…well sue for money…but when they want to settle out of court, you can say, “fine, but the settlement must include the stipulation that the control of the parks goes back to the Depot Town Development Council or whatever their name is, iron clad for 3 years.”. Then the city can avoid a lawsuit payout, and save money on taking care of the parks, plus they will be required to keep their dumb ass noses out of things for a while…

  7. Another Option
    Posted January 15, 2010 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Or, we could just tell our elected officials to start acting like adults and not vindictive little children. How is it that we let these people stay in power when they’d rather bankrupt our city than accept a little bruised ego?

  8. Donald Washburn
    Posted January 15, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    You really think the same people that thought “Ypsitucky” made the city sound too backwater would allow random bales of hay to get put up all round town? This ain’t Hee-Haw, yah know.

  9. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted January 15, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Permalink


  10. Brackinald Achery
    Posted January 15, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    The important thing is that no one was hurt.

  11. Edwina
    Posted January 15, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Permalink


  12. Estaphan
    Posted January 15, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Suddenly the whole Ypsitucky kerfuffle makes sense. (I didn’t think anyone would be so stupid as to be offended by their city’s Kentucky heritage.) It was a political assassination attempt.

  13. dp in ypsi
    Posted January 15, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    thanks for the comic relief.

    would a reasonable and prudent person have been doing whatever you were doing before said collision between you and the (mostly) immovable object?

  14. Posted January 15, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Actually, I think your first theory has more going for it. Your injury happening just down the hill from a former DTE facility, one that still has hulking, humming equipment behind it. And the day you make this suggestion, the *very day*, we mysteriously have a DTE power line “accidentally” fall across a street. Obviously, they had heard that you were thinking of shambling down to City Hall to take the city for every last cent it has [1] and they wanted to “take care of you”.

    [1] 37, at last count. But there’s this dime just out of reach under a storm water grate on Emmet they haven’t counted until they can find someone with long enough arms to reach it….

  15. Posted January 16, 2010 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    There were no hay bales on 1/11, indeed.

    I think the important thing about this discussion – the thing that people should really take away from it – is that this incident, however it went down, wasn’t my fault. It had nothing to do with me being too fat and slow to jump out of my sled when it became obvious that I was going to hit the metal box.

    Speaking of the box, I haven’t been down there since the incident. Has anyone left flowers? Are there any people sitting there with candles, like they did outside the Dakota after Lennon was shot?

    And I love the idea that City Council was conferring with mystics, saw me hit the hay bale before it actually happened, and then set out to remove the CDC as guardian of the parks, in an attempt to see me killed. That’s brilliant.

  16. Posted January 16, 2010 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    And when I said “screaming like a bear,” I meant an overweight, hairy gay man.

  17. Mark H.
    Posted January 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    That hill in Riverside park is a thrill to sled on, but it has so many fixed obstacles – trees, park benches, metal utility boxes – I long ago decided against ever sledding there. Too, too risky by far. The hill behind the high school is safer, and also a thrill.

    Godspeed on your recovery, Mark…..

  18. YpsiPawz
    Posted January 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone else noticed how the city is handling graffiti in Riverside Park? Thankfully someone (I’m assuming it was the Depot Town CDC) painted the pavilion (which looked like a rusty nail for years) last year and actually made it look presentable.

    Thankfully the city is removing the graffiti on the pavilion in the park. Unfortunately the person who is doing this work is either colorblind or doesn’t seem to think it’s important to paint over the graffiti with a matching color. What’s the point in fixing up these structures when the city crews come in and don’t seem to care about anything? Seriously, you can see their handy work just driving past the park on Cross St. I suppose they think that a couple large blotches of bright yellow against a background of beige looks attractive. Problem solved, right?

    Good job city council! Glad to know that the city has the extra money to pay for this fine work!

  19. Andy French
    Posted January 19, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    YpsiPawz – I don’t understand why the city did such a poor job covering up the graffiti. I believe we gave them all of our left over paint and the number of the paint color for the pavillion when they took the parks back.

    They should have the information to do the job correctly.

    Andy French

  20. Posted January 20, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink


    If you aren’t accomplished at sledding enough to avoid running into a stationary object, don’t sled. In December I went sledding with my family at the four hills and my brother hit a tree. The proper response is to laugh at him for being stupid enough to hit a tree and not jumping off in time. The improper response would be to blame someone for not protecting him against himself.

    After my own injury while sledding that day (a jumping incident not a hitting something incident). I came up with some advice that everyone must follow.
    Sledding is allowed from 6-20yrs old.
    Drunken Sledding from 21-32 yrs old (Being drunk helps soften blows)
    After 32 you should not sled anymore, you are only asking to get hurt.

    I’m not so sure that that DTCDC were the ones to put hay bales up anyway since they did no winter maintenance in the park.

    Take care,

  21. Curt Waugh
    Posted January 20, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Hey pal (with the weird name), YOU stand in front of the cutest 3 1/2 year old in the world and tell her that she can’t ride on Daddy’s back down the hill because the big, mean man said he’s too old.

    (No, for real, please tell her. She won’t listen to me. I’m bruised, man. BRUISED!)

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