Friday, November 22, 2013

where'd Colorado go? what happens when high schoolers don't have a map.

You might remember that link I shared last Monday about average people's attempts to draw a map of the United States from memory.  I personally have had a soft spot for US geography ever since freshman year of college, when my roommates and I sunk so low in our procrastination attempts as to spend an evening having "who can remember the most state capitals" contests.

(We did this multiple times.  Why we never had very many visitors that year, I still don't know.)

But apparently I wasn't the only one who got a kick out of seeing people completely screw up the Midwest; the next day, my ex-Foodie Pen Pal and semi-legitimate best friend I've never met, Esther, texted me with her version of the task.

To say I was impressed is an understatement; other than two missing states and an rather unruly New England (and the fact that evidently, Maryland doesn't exist)... she did a pretty solid job.  Better than I could have done at least.

Which got me wondering: is everyone in the real world that much better at geography than me?

Well, no.  No in fact, they're not.

And I have evidence to prove it.  After texting a few people asking them to draw the US from memory, my suspicions were confirmed: the Midwest only exists if you live here.  And also that US geography teachers don't deserve summer vacation.

Exhibit A: This map comes from a friend who was recently accepted into the Occupational Therapy grad program at the Medical University of South Carolina.

She somehow managed a stunning display of simultaneous dedication to detail and unashamed laziness. I'm not sure whether she didn't know "all the other states" or just didn't care to try; either way, I'm sure the counting thing won't be a big deal once she's in the medical field.

Unfortunately, however, I had to admit that what the map lacked in, you know, substance... her outlining skills were pretty impressive.  I was not too worried though because I had the next pictures to make up for it.

To give you some background, one of my friends from college coaches high school cross country.  After Wednesday's practice, she led them in a little game of "Give Nicole Something to Write About on Friday" featuring US geography.

Some of my favorites included:

The girl who is under the impression that Mexico is really just a giant hand to the south.  And also that Rhode Island borders one of the Great Lakes.

And then there was the girl who decided that the Great Lakes just don't exist at all.  I mean, does Michigan really need its own lake anyway?

Then there's this kid who is going to be in for quite a shock when he hears that we have, in fact, colonized the West.  I guess they haven't gotten to the Lewis and Clark lecture yet.

But my absolute favorite was this kid who has learned that when in doubt, put an American flag on it. Because everyone likes America.

He evidently still needs to work out a few details of that strategy (for example, the color of the stripes). But once he's got that down, he'll be gold.

But as is life, just when you're patting yourself on the back for having the geography skills of the average high school student, you get knocked back to reality by the future astronaut working to get her PhD in aerospace science

She couldn't just leave it at a perfectly proportioned and flawlessly labeled map... she had to add a touch of chemistry to make us feel that much more inadequate.

Whats's the point in all this? Well, not much besides giving me something to laugh about as I'm squished up against some guy's back on the crowded bus home from work.

And also just to thank God for the GPS; otherwise, we'd definitely never get to Rhode Island.

Happy Friday!  Put your hands up; they're playin your song.

Linking up with Sarah because who isn't a fan of the good ol' USA?  Also linking up with Whitney.

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