The Legend of Mike Mannion

22 Apr

While I was to college, once a year, a frat would take out chalk and write fun sayings all over the quad like: “And when I had no legs and could not walk, Mike Mannion carried me.” Who was Mike Mannion? And why were so many good deeds attributed to him?

I can’t find any references to this still happening at my alma mater, Illinois State University (or “I Screwed Up”), which I find sad. This was a great tradition. However, for a place that started out (and is still has a strong concentration in) as a teacher’s college, times change, and traditions get forgotten. The quad where I attended is unrecognizable from the quad today. They rebuilt the buildings, added some statues, and generally made it a much better place. We’ve never had a decent athletics program. Both dorms I lived in are demolished, so apart from my memories, I have little connection with the place any more.

On the ISU quad, facing Schroeder Hall (pronounce it “Shray-der”) and the library.

Everything about the ISU administration in the late 90’s implied “Shut up and give me your money.” This changed in the next decade dramatically to a student-service focus. So for those of us who attended then, those moments of quirkiness were great. The Disco Revolution party, the Armchair Anarchists, Support Your Local Beholder Week… and of course, the legend of Mike Mannion.

Who was Mike Mannion? Well, as you might guess, he was a member of that particular frat. Somewhere along the way, someone thought this would be funny to write “The plane was going down, there was only one parachute, and Mike Mannion said, ‘Take it, my son.'” However, by the time I got to ISU, Mike had already graduated. However, his younger brother was attending… I knew this, because his younger brother had been part of the “frat” party that won the student elections.

What has he done since? It’s not certain–it’s a relatively common name. He either became a lawyer in Chicago, or a military officer, or… whatever. Doesn’t matter. Making a legendary figure that could be remembered even after you left means attributing stuff to them that doesn’t necessarily make sense. In the early 1800’s, when a man decided to write a book about the American Founding Fathers, he made up larger than life stories to make them seem legendary. George Washington throwing a silver dollar across the Potomac… never happened. He also never cut down a cherry tree and said, “Father, I cannot tell a lie.”

Sometimes we need legends to inspire us, or to boost up a particular belief, or whatever bias the creator has. Davy Crockett did not go down shooting at the Alamo; he was sick in bed. In Mike Mannion’s case, it’s fun, it lets students who walk back and forth to classes laugh a little at the ridiculousness. Because at a time when you were just a cog in the college machine, we needed a patron saint, and Mike Mannion was there.

We didn’t have a Touchdown Jesus (Notre Dame) or an Alma Mater (U of Illinois), we had Mike Mannion. But what do you think? Do we need to bring down legends or do they still have purpose? Let me know in the comments below! Then check out one of my books, where you can read about future legends. However, if $1.99 is too much for a simple story, go ahead and download one of my stories for free.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Tales from a broken doll

Short stories, poetry, musings and rambling.

Poteci de dor

"Adevărul, pur şi simplu, e rareori pur şi aproape niciodată simplu" - Oscar Wilde

O Miau do Leão

Uma pequena voz da Flandres

A Life's Journey

Little things matter 🌼


A dreamer, who loves to muse her world and penned it down✍️ Each words in this blog lay close to my soul🧡

Talkin' to Myself

I'm listening

Nature Whispering

From Sunset to Dawn

Riverside Peace

Discover how God works through his creation and Scripture to show us his love.

I didn't have my glasses on....

A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.

Looking to God

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)


We may see things that we don't even imagine.

Decaf White

No Sugar


Mere khayal aap tak..

The Haute Mommy Handbook

Motherhood Misadventures + Creative Living

Hangaku Gozen

For we cannot tarry here, We must march my darlings

A Cornered Gurl

I am more than breath & bones.

%d bloggers like this: