Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Geography Lesson

Last week I was having my weekly phone call with my best friend up in Philadelphia, and in the middle of the conversation he said something along the lines of where I lived in "Virginia"...

Now this guy is no dummy, as I don't suffer fools lightly and we've been friends over twenty years now. I told him I lived in West Virginia, and Worked in Virginia.

"So you live in western Virginia?"

D'oh!

No.

I live in WEST VIRGINIA and work in VIRGINIA!!!

"Same thing, isn't it?"

No, it is not the same thing.

Not since before the Reconstruction. They're two separate states! But traveling around the country as much as I have it still never stops amazing me how many people don't know the basic geography of their own country, let alone the world.

I can understand not knowing much about the rest of the world. Once I was talking to someone about going to Austria, and he asked if I saw any kangaroos...

But here's what I'm talking about. I had a friend once from Santa Fe, New Mexico. When the olympics were coming to Atlanta, he phoned the US Olympic committee to inquire about tickets. Paraphrased, the conversation went something like this:

"Hello. I'd like to get some tickets for the upcoming Olympics."

"Certainly sir, may I have your address?"

"Yes ma'am, it's 123 Main St., Santa Fe, New Mexico"

"New Mexico sir?"

"Why yes."

If that's the case sir, I won't be able to help you"

"Why not?"

"You'll have to call your embassy or consulate to get tickets."

"But I'm in the United Sates!"

"You live in another country sir, so you'll have to call your embassy or consulate."

This went on for twenty minutes until in frustration, after getting the same line from the woman's supervisor he finally hung up.

Hey, you dimwit up in the Olympic committee, New Mexico IS part of the US. We "acquired" it at the end of the Spanish~American War, and it was a territory until January 6th, 1912, when it became the 47th state in the union. Although I lived in the southwest for several years and every time I'd look around I'd say to myself;

"We went to war with Mexico for this? There's nothing here! Give it back!

I think we should just give it all back, including California. The only thing wrong with that state is there's too many Californians there.

Or here's a better idea.

Why don't we just do a trade with Canada? They can have California, Nevada, Arizona & New Mexico and we'll get Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia & Yukon Territory. I think It's a fair trade, and then we wouldn't have to drive though Canada to get to Alaska anymore. Hell, we built the goddamn ALCAN highway anyway.

But I do understand one little thing now that I'm older that I didn't get before. Next time you go to the post office, look up at the front of the building. It will say: "United Sates Post Office" with the name of the town and zip code. I always wondered about that. Why tell us it's the US post office? It's not the Canadian post office!

Of course!

It's to let the last few Americans here in the US know we're still in the US! Unless you're in New Jersey, which is really another country(The only place in the world where you have to make a right-hand turn to make a left turn). Ever notice when you drive over into New Jersey, the bridges are free, and then on your way back it's a $2 toll?

Well that's fair. It's worth it. I'd pay $2 to get out of Jersey anyday.

By the way,

Would the last American out of Florida please take the flag?

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

2 comments:

DivineMsN said...

Jersey is a pain in the ass. It took me months to get the hang of the damn jug handles. My friend Eliza has a great story of how many times she got lost trying to get to Mr K's house to deliver me a birthday cake I was babysittng for her. I say Mexico can have Texas back. Do you know that initially Texas was to be be divided into 6 states? Its the geography nerd in me!

Ranger Tom said...

Ah Yes, the imfamous "jughandles"... That's what I was referring to. Also, who really does have the right-of-way in a traffice circle in Jersey? In talking once to a NJ state trooper on this subject, I was told, and I quote:

"Whoever has the biggest, oldest car has the right-of-way."

As for Texas, yeah, Mexico can have that back too...