Who Stepped On Tennessee?

I was staring at a big map of the United States hanging on an office wall at work  the other day, because I like to gaze at brightly colored, inanimate objects when it’s late in the day and my other tasks have been completed. And I noticed a few things that really got me thinking.

Tennessee, for example. It looks as if it’s been squashed beneath somebody’s foot. It certainly doesn’t have the vivacious, full-bodied look of an Ohio, for example. States, like people, come in all shapes and sizes. Tennessee is far from the only one to have drawn the short end of the geographical straw.

Pity poor Rhode Island. It’s almost like an afterthought, stuck onto the end of Connecticut. Makes you wonder if one of our forefathers back in Hartford lost a bet once and had to forfeit a small section of his state, thus giving birth to Rhode Island (which isn’t even an island!!).   Delaware, with size issues of its own, is a giant in comparison.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, why is Texas so big? You could probably fit, I don’t know, approximately two hundred Rhode Islands within its borders, and still have room for a Delaware or two. Do you think Oklahoma ever looks at its neighbor to the south with anything short of derision? Texas already took over a good portion of the Sooner State, leaving it with a thin little panhandle (which could still fit a few Rhode Islands, but that’s neither here nor there).

At least Texas has an interesting shape. Colorado and Wyoming are nothing more than boxes, nearly perfect squares lacking in creativity. New Mexico is spared their fate by that little hanging piece in the southwest corner, which by all rights should be a part of (Old?) Mexico. Wouldn’t a perfectly round state be fun?

Do you think Florida ever gets lonely, dangling out there all by itself in the bottom corner of the country? You know how they always say California is in danger of breaking apart and floating away? I think the real trouble spot is Florida, especially with five or six hurricanes pounding at their door every year. If any state is in danger of breaking off, it’s gotta be that one.

What’s the deal with Michigan, anyway? It’s like two states in one. You’ve got the upper peninsula, which really should belong to Wisconsin, and then the lower peninsula. Are they even connected? Hawaii, for that matter, consists of seven islands, yet it’s a single state. I never was very good with math, so I’m still trying to figure that one out.

Finally, answer me this. We’ve got a North and South Dakota. There’s a North and South Carolina. Why, then, is there a West Virginia, but no East Virginia? It’s just plain old Virginia. If I were West Virginia, I’d take that as an insult and rechristen myself. Maybe strike a deal with Ohio and name yourself Oloo. You know, Oh-low-oh, because it’s right under Oh-high-oh. Makes perfect sense to me.

And you thought geography was no fun.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

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