PLUNK GENEALOGY -- see "Family" label on this blog and/or write Mike at

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Geographically Challenged

Geography seems to be a problem.

Mike and I were in the UPS store one day in Southern California with a package I wanted to mail to my Mother in Trumann, Arkansas. The clerk assisting us was clearly either a new high school graduate or perhaps a senior in one of the local high schools.

I had provided the recipient’s name, street address, city and state. The young woman appeared to be struggling with the form on her computer, probably scrolling through a drop-down menu, so I spelled the name of Mother’s town noting that it ended with a double N. I presumed that was the hang-up.

With brow furrowed, the clerk replied that she had that. It was the state that was proving difficult. I wasn’t sure how to react, but added that it should be up there around Arizona and Alaska.

She shook her head. “No,” she said. “I’ve found Ar-KAN-sas, but there’s no Arkansaw.”

‘Nuff said.

Poor Arkansas. Here’s another totally true Arkie story.

When Bill Clinton was in his early years as Governor, he established economic development as one of his priorities. With an excellent labor force, ample natural resources and good transportation infrastructure, Arkansas should be an ideal location for new business.

A national survey was conducted to ascertain the reasons that prevented a larger number of companies from relocating to the state. The surprising and overwhelming answer was that a majority of corporate decision-makers across the nation didn’t know where Arkansas was.

Knowing what obstacle there was to overcome, the state hired a big New York advertising agency to design an ad campaign targeted for business publications that would stress the heart-of-America, geographic location of Arkansas.

The ad was beautiful. The graphic was a U.S. map with Arkansas virtually glowing at its center. There might also have been a sparkling star. But there was one problem. The artist had put Arkansas in the wrong place.

Can’t a state get any respect?

Arkansas doesn’t stand alone in the map madness issue, however. I was once driving an out-of-state visitor down California’s scenic coast highway on the way to a beachfront lunch when she asked, “Just where is it that California touches the Gulf of Mexico?”

Where is it that I can order a U.S. states’ jigsaw puzzle?

1 comment:

Lacy said...

Haha. I'm an Arkie. Trumann's about an hour and a half from me. Poor girl.