Wednesday, September 30, 2015

States Of Confusion

I was lucky. When I was a kid, and I had to draw a picture of my home state, I made a rectangle. Growing up in the center of these United States was a bit of a gift that way. Students in Wyoming may have felt the same way, but since they were growing up in Wyoming it would be difficult to make that kind of distinction. We were fortunate to have regular polygons for borders. Quadrilaterals. There are some parallelograms out there, like Kansas and South Dakota, but those guys have to contend with squiggly corners, brought on primarily by rivers and that sort of less linear boundary that make things less regular.
On the bright side, it does make doing those jigsaw puzzles much easier. Sure, you might initially confuse Idaho for Oklahoma, but once you differentiate panhandle from smokestack, you're good to go. Remembering Tennessee goes below Kentucky, and that East Virginia is just Virginia and the rest of it all goes together pretty quick. Except for that East Coast.
Go ahead, if you dare, and try to draw the contiguous states from Maine to Florida. It's a mess. That whole Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia mish-mosh. And Rhode Island? It's not even an island. Don't get me started on islands, either, since Hawaii isn't that hard to figure out, but all those little bits trailing off the back end of Alaska. Shouldn't that be extra credit? Wouldn't it be better to do everything we could to regulate our state sizes and shapes?
I understand this is coming from Mister Quadrolado, but I am also a current resident of California, the state some would like to chop into pieces to make things not must more sane geometrically, but more politically delineated. These plans aren't just a simple north/south division, but making the Golden State into six new ones: Jefferson, North California, Central California, Silicon Valley, West California, and South California. None of these are rectangles, and after "Jefferson," the creative naming drops off to just about nothing.
So maybe that should be our new focus. Instead of making rhombuses and squares or even pentagons out of what we have, let's start making everything more loopy. Go ahead and dismantle that whole neat stack of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. Turn a second grader loose with a crayon and let him scribble some new borders. We've had it far too easy for far too long. And while we're at it, let that same second grader take a shot at renaming our new territories. I hope I end up living in West Brontosaurus.

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