Thursday, August 09, 2012

Isn't It Grand?

Were I in charge of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, I would be irate and demanding change in the way the name of my city is routinely butchered by the Michigan Department of Transportation. MDOT consistently replaces Grand with Gd.

Yes, they could sneak "ran" in
Grand Rapids deserves a full ID.  It is known for several, admittedly not overly important, things.  Grand Rapids is Michigan’s second largest city.  Grand Rapids is the birthplace of former President Gerald Ford. Grand Rapids is a leading producer of office furniture.  More important to me, the city has two really good Mexican restaurants. 

How demeaning is a contrived Grand abbreviation? Can you imagine a sign saying: Gd Canyon--27 miles? 

Could MDOT put the “ran” back in Grand as a practical matter? Of course it could.  Possibilities include compressing the type, enlarging signs a bit, moving arrows, and changing the shape of arrows.

Because I am not the head honcho at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, the strange signage is of no personal concern. Anyway, it is starting to pop up all over, so Gd may be making a move toward supplanting Grand in common usage. A recent Google travel search yielded this instruction: Turn right to merge onto US-131 N toward Gd Rapids.”

Gd provides me with a moment of amusement every time I see it.

Years ago when I started working for the U.S. Forest Service at the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin, Gordon D. Logan was the Assistant Director in charge of Administration. 

Logan was a good man with a lot of responsibilities.  His subordinates had to say no to questionable personnel practices, budget manipulation, publication of poorly conceived manuscripts, and a host of other attempts to circumvent quality controls built into the system.

Researchers are notorious for considering administrative rules dastardly plots serving only to hinder their important work. Some viewed Logan as the Laboratory’s chief traffic cop. Cops aren’t popular when they’re writing you a ticket.

One day, contemplating his status in the organization, Gordon D. Logan was heard to say: “Well, I’ve got the right initials for it, but I don’t enjoy being known as God Damn Logan.”

I think about that every time the signs point us toward "God damn Rapids."                              


Big John said...

Perhaps it's not so 'Grand' when you get there and the locals don't want visitors to be disappointed.

schmidleysscribblins, said...

Another reason it is famous is because half of my ancestors are buried there. Dianne

Kay Dennison said...

Having grown up mere miles from the Ohio-Michigan border, I'm very familiar with much of the great State of Michigan and have a great respect for its residents. And yeah, that sign annoys me greatly. It's an insult to the citizens of GRAND Rapids!

joared said...

Enjoyed your Logan story. Yeah, why can't they put the "ran" back in Grand. Frankly, I don't like the Gd abbreviation 'cause what immediately comes to my mind is "God" -- God Rapids? Residents should start a movement -- Who took the ran out of our Grand city? ecuis

Tom Sightings said...

Would it be Musk, Mad Heights, and Sag, Mich.?

I bet they don't abbreviate Grosse Pointe Farms!

Dick Klade said...

Folks, love these comments. They are in the true spirit of the post.

PiedType said...

That's pretty sad. I can understand abbreviating Fort to Ft. but Gd for Grand? It's not a real, standard abbreviation. It's a none-too-attractive made-up thing. Cost of larger signs is no excuse, They can compress the letters (see it done all the time) and the arrow. I'd protest this unacceptable trashing of the city's proud name.

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