BuzzFeed posted a story this week, supposedly in honor of our turkey-eating holiday, wherein Brits were asked to fill in a blank US map, and they did not fare well, as you might expect, because they don’t live here, and it’s a big damn country, much of which never makes it into movies (although, thanks to Jeff Daniels, one of my former hometowns did).
After chuckling over the British attempts, I began to wonder how well I, citizen of this country for 42 years, would actually do. I honestly don’t think at any point in my schooling I had to learn all the states and capitals and their geography. Could be I don’t remember; could be that I moved around so much that I missed it by a grade every time I did. (That’s why I was never confirmed, actually; as it turns out, that was probably a good thing, because I would’ve eventually wanted an annulment.) Going into it, I figured any trouble I’d have would be in the Northeast, because I’ve spent very little time up there; the furthest northeast I’ve been is Philly, and only for one full night. And then perhaps in the Southeast, because it’s the South, and I don’t really care about the South. Now that the slavery issue is settled, if they’d like to secede, they’re welcome to, as far as I’m concerned. Even Stephen Colbert, for all his professed love of his home state of South Carolina, lives in New York.
My predictions of my particular geographic weakness turned out to be accurate. I confused Georgia and Alabama, which barely counts, because they’re pretty much the same to anyone but Georgians and Alabamans. Sadly, I spaced Connecticut completely, putting Rhode Island in its place, and I should’ve known better about Delaware, seeing as on the aforementioned trip to Philly, I walked from my downtown hotel all the way down South Street to the Delaware River. Still, 90% with nothing grossly out of place ain’t so bad, in my estimation. I’d hoped for better, but I feared worse; I’ll take it.
I did pretty well with western Europe, and I think I deserve bonus points for Andorra, (though I forgot about Luxembourg entirely until I started typing this, so that may be a wash.) However, it all kind of went to hell in southeastern Europe. I have a general sense of where these countries are, but the specifics, as you can see above, obviously eluded me. In my defense, a lot of these countries didn’t exist when I was learning world geography: Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and the USSR were all this Cold War kid needed to know. In any case, I can’t blame Europeans from doing poorly on our map, because I botched theirs myself, though I didn’t do much worse than other of my countrymen. (And my ancestors might be delighted to know that Americans think one Poland isn’t enough; we need adjunct Polands, too! We’ll see your Polish jokes and have the last laugh!) If I went further east into south Asia, I think I’d probably do even worse.
To cap off this holiday, I thought I’d share my obligatory list of things I am thankful for, because that’s what we do at Thanksgiving. In no particular order, and certainly with no claim to comprehensiveness, then…
- I am thankful that I married the only person I know who’s as funny as I am. And he’s cute, too.
- I am thankful for MFR, a new therapy I started the day after I posted this. It has been a huge help. Not a perfect, permanent miracle cure, but since I started it I have not spent one day wishing I were dead, which is pretty huge for me.
- I am thankful for guitars and guitar strings and the ability to make music. It never ceases to feel like magic to me, how I can create something I love so much with my own two hands and my voice.
- I am thankful boot season is back.
- I am thankful Agent Coulson is not dead after all.
- I am thankful for my bandmate, Jerry, and that we make beautiful music together in a literal and totally platonic way.
- I am thankful that my Christmas shopping is done, minus some gift certificates I have to pick up.
- Regarding the item previous, I am thankful for online shopping and free shipping. Because you couldn’t get me out in Retailia for the next month for love or money.
- I am thankful that Robert Downey, Jr. finally got his life sorted out and is able to share his smartass charm with us again.
- I am thankful for the awesome new technology I can hold in the palm of my hand that allows me to, among other things, waste hours of my life playing a video game that came out in 1985.
- I’m thankful to every pair of eyes that reads this, some of whom have been coming back for over a decade now. Thanks for reading.