Another question has arisen from our fantastic but not-necessarily-accurate flag of beer cups: How many stars are there, exactly? OK, there are 23, not 50. Who are you, Betsy Ross? There weren't 15 original colonies either (the stripes); give us a break. We're making a beerpong game here, not writing a textbook.
But this does present an interesting argument, one which has actually come up in two other conversations in the past couple weeks: what if there were only 23 states? Which ones would we keep? Or better yet, what if there were only 10 states (it's really time-consuming to think of 23)? Like if there was a giant earthquake that sunk the other 40 states to the bottom of the ocean. Or if the US, like Major League Baseball, decided to have a contraction? Or we had some kind of bizarre high school sports team tryout, where only 10 could make the team, and the other 40 had to be cut... you get the idea.
In any case... which 10 would they be?
From the debates, which sometimes lasted the better part of an hour and considered such factors as population, location, natural splendor, inclusion of good cities, and just general state-awesomeness, we came up with the list of the following 10 states we would keep, and cut all the others.
Surprised? Here are the explanations:
The first few are pretty obvious. You have to keep the states that not only provide the U.S.'s two biggest cites, but also two of the most influential American institutions (Wall Street and Hollywood), not to mention like a sixth of our electoral votes. Texas you also have to keep, love it or hate it - it has three of the top ten biggest cities, and a lot of land. Besides, if we kick out Texas, it's just going to start conquering everything around it and we're going to have to go to war with it anyway, so we might as well just save the trouble. And Florida, though continually ravaged by hurricanes, is still pretty huge, pretty warm, and we need some way to channel our drugs into the rest of the country, and our old people out of it.
Keeping Alaska and Hawaii stems partly from the reasons we probably took these last two states in the first place (and no, not just to round up to an even 50). Alaska's frickin' huge, and full of oil, trees, and wildlife... plus we'll need someplace to move when global warming kicks in. Hawaii, well, let's just be honest. Hawaii's a trophy state. But we need one of those.
Colorado squeaks in there because it's just a good solid state all around - lots of people, lots of nature, and it has to mean something that Stephen King made Boulder his "good" city in his book The Stand. Washington gets the nod partly because it has Seattle, and partly because it's beautiful. Plus it was named "Best Overall State" during my roadtrip adventure. Thirdly, Washington makes computers, which at this point is probably more important than either Wall Street or Hollywood. Minnesota makes it in because I'm from there (problem with that? I'm making the goddamn list), and because it has enough lakes for everybody. Also, if we're cutting Wisconsin, we've gotta get our cheese from somewhere. And Illinois... is it enough to make the list just because it has Chicago, even though the rest of the state is kinda bland? In the end, yes - Chicago's pretty awesome, and we need another Midwestern state. Plus, what else are we going to put ahead of it?
And yes, they're mostly blue states. Interpret that as you will.
What will we do with the state we don't take? We never thought this far ahead - I dunno, sink them into the ocean, or sell them to Middle East in exchange for oil or something. Though I kind of like the idea of only these 10 states being there, and everything else being under water... especially because none of the ones on the current list touch each other. Like the Uniting Floating Awesome States of America.
Now, some explanations on states that didn't make the list:
Ohio - Sure, it's got some big cities and a lot of people, but what's interesting about Ohio? Maybe if one of their sports teams won a championship once in a while. And really, dropping the ball in the last election... that just didn't help you, Ohio.
Vermont - Somebody suggested Vermont as a state to keep in our last discussion. Honestly, I'm not sure why. Because they have nice forests and good syrup? Delicious pancake topping is not enough to justify keeping such a tiny state with no notable cities. Just to have another Northeastern representative? C'mon, New York IS the Northeast - that's all you need. Everything else is just a suburb.
Nevada - The only reason Nevada is cool is because everything is legal. I'm sure we could take one of the other 10 states and abolish all laws, and another Las Vegas would pop up in no time.
Washington D.C. - Not really a state. Plus who hasn't longed for the opportunity to sink Washington into the ocean? Zing.
Anybody disagree? Bring on the emails.