Monday, June 20, 2005


I saw a TV commercial last night for one of those Country & Western Greatest Hits CD collections, and one of the brief musical excerpts was of a song by David Frizzell and Shelly West titled "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma." The "You" in question is, of course, a woman, in this case one that a cowboy trapped in L.A. misses so much that he is moved to the extreme of lyricizing. The premise is that God made Oklahoma expressly to house this female.

My first reaction, naturally, was one of relief and gratitude. "Glad someone finally cleared that up," I thought. Because I once drove through Oklahoma, and although that was years ago, I've always wondered why in God's name God ever had made Oklahoma. I always more or less assumed that it had something to do with God's fondness for epic land rushes, or dust bowls, or college football.

But this enlightening musical experience moved me to undertake further research into the little-understood science of theogeogenesis, or the study of why God makes places, with the result that I have discovered a number of the Almighty's motivations, justifications, and rationales for making various of our other states. A lamentably incomplete list...

The Reason God Made:

New York -- Needed a place to put his Long Island estate.
North Dakota -- To keep South Dakota from getting too cozy with Canada.
Nevada -- Owed a favor to the Gambini family.
Florida -- Wanted a place where he'd fit right in when it came time to retire.
Minnesota -- As a game preserve for Lutherans.
Kansas -- Sheer boredom.
Massachusetts -- Needed someplace to put the Irish.
West Virginia -- After making Virginia, had spare parts left over.
New Jersey -- Needed someplace to put the Italians.
Mississippi -- God only knows.
Idaho -- Needed someplace to put the rightwing loonies.
Louisiana -- Wanted to help Arkansas feel better about itself.
California -- Lost a bar bet with Satan.
Utah -- Curious to see if anyone would be desperate enough to live there.
Texas -- The result of a monumental, crippling hangover.
Delaware -- Just for the hell of it.
Alabama -- Crude, early, clumsy attempt at South Carolina.
Indiana -- Thought it only wise to keep Illinois and Ohio separated.
New Mexico -- Had never really been satisfied with how the original Mexico worked out.

More to come, if my grant is renewed.


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