Sunday, November 09, 2014

Congratulations, Spencer! You Learned Your States

I basically don't know anything about anything. History, nope. Science, uh-uh. Physics, mechanics, home repair, interior decorating, small engine combustion, politics, current events, foreign wars--none of it. Really all I have to offer is a decent knowledge of the Nirvana discography, the Bring it On franchise, and Simpsons quotes. That's it.

Recently, I was reminded of just how little I know about geography. Looking a blank U.S. map, I could only name about 20 of the 50 states. Sure, I could point out my neighbors in the West--and I knew the easy ones like Alaska, Hawaii, Texas, and Florida--but once I got over to the Midwest and those tiny East Coast states I was completely lost.

I was telling my work friends about my lack of state-naming skills and one of them took pity on me and bought me a laminated map and erasable crayons (the kind you'd buy for a kindergartner, which is not all embarrassing).

I started practicing.

Every morning when I got to work, I'd spend a few minutes working on my map skills. After a few days, I had it locked down pretty well. I could totally pass a fourth grade geography test now. Not bad for a 34-year-old!


Last night, I dreamed a dream. LeBron James and the Cavs were destroying the Denver Nuggets (I was watching basketball before I went to bed). It was so bad, in fact, that the Cavs not only brought in their bench players, but some guys from what the announcer called the "subsidy" league. These were such ragtag dudes that they didn't even have real uniforms, just store-bought John Stockton and Michael Jordan jerseys.

The game ended and the dreamed morphed--as dreams do--into something else. Suddenly, these guys were all on the practice squad, trying to make the team. For some reason, I was the assistant coach or something.

And I only had one job.

After a tough tryout, the coach was ready to make cuts. He handed me a list of all the players and then pointed to the court (which had transformed into the carpeted floor of the gym at my parents' church). Taped on the carpet was an outline of the United States.

The coach looked me straight in the eye and shouted, "Line these up boys by home state." I looked down at the player list, which was of course filled with all of my toughest states. I started to panic. Is Illinois on the right of Indiana or the left? Which one of these crazy shapes in Michigan? Where did Mississippi disappear to?

"NOW!" yelled the coach.

I took a deep breath and pointed to what I could only pray was the right state.

And then my alarm rang.

I had never been so happy to wake up.

1 comment:

Karin said...

You're so weird