Have you ever heard that famous saying “Don’t start none, won’t be none”? I can’t remember who first said it. Probably Confuscius or Kim Kardashian or some other wise soul. The point is, that saying is very much the motto of a little French hobgoblin called Nain Rouge. He’s a petite gentleman about 2 or 3 feet tall with sin red skin and cold black eyes who likes to kick it in what is now Detroit. I had no idea that Detroit was founded by the French but now that I think about it deep dish pizza, classic cars and Motown are all very French really.
Nainey, as his friends call him, was neither a ruffian nor a scuttlebutt. He just wanted to be left alone to do his little Nainey things without being bothered. I’m not sure what his main hobbies were but given the time I assume whittling and maybe cribbage. Full disclosure-I have no idea what cribbage is except that it seems like a very complicated,old timey game that both demons and the French would enjoy. So yeah, one day right after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded the city Nainey was out running errands. Probably picking up snacks for his all goblin/demon cribbage club when he ran into Cadillac and Cadillac, being a founding father who was ferociously full of himself, did not politely say “Oh merde, ma faute”. He took his walking stick and started whacking at Nainey whilst hollering “Get out of my way, you red imp!”.
This despite the fact that Cadillac was previously warned by a mystic that if he didn’t want to gunk his gig up he should be nice to Nainey. Always listen to your mystic folks, they aren’t talking to just to hear themselves prophesize. Because, here’s the thing, Nainey does not take well to being slighted. He can hold a grudge for eternity and he loves himself a good fit of righteous revenging. So, he wrecked Cadillac’s life. Or really Cadillac wrecked Cadillac’s life by being an immoral douchebag politician with no manners. Nainey simply made sure that fact came to light. When it did Cadillac was exiled to Louisiana where he couldn’t enjoy their delicious etouffee because of a shellfish allergy and he was constantly beset by bird sized mosquitos. Serves him right. Anyway, Nainey’s thirst for vengeance was quenched and he went back home to enjoy a nice shrimp cocktail.
That would be the end of the story except the people of Detroit keep blaming Nainey for all the bad things that happen in the city even though he had nothing to do with any of it. There was a massive fire in the city in 1805 and people swore that they saw Nainey’s face “leering” at them through the smoke. People said he was lurking around giving them the stink eye right before the riots in 1967 and in 1977 a lineman swore that he saw Nainey “shimmying up a utility pole and leering at him” the day before a massive electricity outage. It’s a real unhealthy thing to project blame onto people for things that are entirely out of their control and Detroit as a city should really do some personal work to get over that habit.
I also don’t understand the weird sexual/romantic undertones that witnesses keep dropping into these sightings. Like Nainey is looking them right in the eye while clambering around on a pole all sexy-like just thinking “Damn you! Why must you be so alluring? I am sensually drawn to you but also must destroy you”. He’s not. He’s not doing or thinking any of that crap because he’s at home whittling realistic figurines of the birds of North America.
There’s even this whole parade that Detroit does every year called March du Nain Rouge where they dress up in costumes and symbolically kick him out of the city. That’s a bridge too dang far. It’s egregious, is what it is, and it went on for years before some enlightened souls came to Nainey’s defense. They call themselves The Friends of Nain Rouge and although they aren’t very creative their hearts are in the right place. They post up at the parade every year and hold signs that say things like “The Real Nain is Nice” and “Masks Can Not Cover Your Lies”. That last one is a little over dramatic but the sentiment is nice.
I guess the man take away from Nainey’s story is that when bad stuff happens you can’t just go around inventing pyschosexual morality plays based on hapless hobgoblins to blame it on. You just gotta pick yourself up and do the work to move on. Also, manners are so important. Don’t just go running around whacking at folks with sticks because you’re a grump. Sure, some people deserve a good solid thunking with a heavy stick but mostly it’s mean and it’ll get you booted right down to Louisiana. It’s real humid there guys. Your hair is gonna frizz up like crazy and nobody wants that.