A Better Cleveland Flag! by Mike Polk Jr.

Mike Polk Jr. wearing a powder-blue suit, holding a cocktail, sitting in an armchair inside a decrepit shell of an industrial building with the Cleveland skyline visible behind him, outside a window hole, with Cleveland flag in foreground.

Wait, Cleveland has its own flag? Who knew? I did. I’ve actually owned two of these bad boys so far. And as a self-proclaimed Cleveland Ambassador, I have hung them with great pride outside each of the many West Side rental houses I have occupied over the years until I am inevitably evicted for varied and well-warranted reasons.

Unfortunately, my first Cleveland flag was stolen during the night in what can only be described as a heroic display of irony. So now I bring my flag in at dusk so that Cleveland can’t steal my symbol of Cleveland. During the day, it flies at half mast to commemorate the loss of the first flag. And it will remain thus until flag #1’s triumphant and safe return.

The Cleveland flag was designed in 1895 by high school student Susan Hepburn, which answers the question, “Why does our flag look like a teenage girl designed it?”

Let’s break down the Cleveland flag design so that I can point out the various features and what I have decided that they represent. Though in full disclosure, I’ll again admit that I have no research to support my assertions.

A. The three colors—red, white and blue—represent our city’s renowned inability to think outside the box and its outright refusal to take chances.

B. I’m sure that the slogan “Progress and Prosperity” seemed like a good idea at the time, but now it seems like a sarcastic taunt from the past.

C. The year we opened this bitch up for business.

D. Christmas wreath meant to alienate non-Christians and warn them that neither they nor their heathen gods are welcome in our fair city.

E. Unidentifiable symbols that are probably supposed to look like actual things but just resemble plastic pieces from the game Perfection because some dumb teen girl from olden times drew them.

I think we can all agree that the Cleveland flag needs a serious upgrade.

“The times, they are a-changin’,” as Bob Seger so famously sang. And our flag should reflect the exciting new city that Cleveland has become since 1895 when everything was terrible and people did their laundry in rivers.

I have taken the liberty of designing a new flag that I believe is a huge upgrade. Mr. Mayor, if you’re reading this, and I assume that you are, please consider making the following changes:

Damn Right I’m From Cleveland: Your Guide to Makin’ It in America’s 47th Biggest City, a book by Mike Polk from Gray & Company, Publishers – front cover

From the book Damn Right I'm from Cleveland, © Mike Polk Jr.. All rights reserved.

This excerpt may not be used in any form for commercial purposes without the written permission of Gray & Company, Publishers.