Tom Clyde: The least liked states in every state
I’m fascinated by maps. I hate the electronic stuff that gives you the most efficient route from point A to B without really looking at the greater geography. If you let Google plot the route, you could be within 20 miles of the World’s Largest Ball of String and not even know it. The route matters, but it’s the detours that make the trip.
In addition to road maps, I like maps that show the differences in customs or practices. I recently discovered that there are two shapes of butter. In the West, we use the Western Stubby, a proper, almost-cube of butter. In the East, where they get so many things wrong, they use Elgin sticks that are long and skinny and deformed to the point that the butter can’t possibly be any good. Kroger (Smith’s) sells Elgins. Other food stores around here sell Western Stubby butter. I have no idea why there is a difference, but I can’t imagine living anyplace where they don’t use Western Stubbies. Elgins are just wrong.
There are similar maps showing where the same products are marketed under different names. Best Foods and Hellman’s mayonnaise are the same product, but they use a different name in different parts of the country for some reason. Others chart the use of “youse guys” and “y’all” or the Arkansas variant of “all y’all.” Another favorite is the map showing where a carbonated drink is a “soda” or a “pop” or, despite being a Fanta Orange, is generically “a Coke.”
Park City has enough of a mix of people from all over the country that you hear all kinds of regional terms used here interchangeably, to the point that I don’t really notice them anymore. But people on the west side of Summit County eat “dinner,” and on the east side, a lot of people eat “supper.” Even if the menu is the same.
It was a great delight when a friend sent a map showing which state is most disliked by the residents of every other state. North and South Dakota, which seem indistinguishable, don’t like each other. All of New England hates Massachusetts. North Carolina hates South Carolina, but for unknown reasons, South Carolina hates Ohio. It’s not even contiguous.
There were some real standouts. Florida hates Florida, and with good reason. Hawaii, with no contiguous neighbors, could be expected to be immune from all of this. In the spirit of Aloha, Hawaii should love everybody. But they hate Florida. New Jersey residents apparently hate everybody in every other state.
It appears that nobody hates Utah. My cousins in Idaho have said they were skeptical of Utah through the years, but they have been discovered by Silicon Valley people. Now Boise is a suburb of Palo Alto and not particularly happy about it. So Utah gets a pass from Idaho. Actually, nobody seems to hate any of the mountain states. The whole mountain time zone failed to make anybody’s list of disliked states. Everybody loves the mountain west. Frankly, that feels like a problem we should be working on.
On the other hand, while the mountain states are either loved or unknown by the rest of the country, there is no love lost for California. California was the most hated state in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and the entire Mountain Time zone with the exception of New Mexico. With that one exception, California is a cuss word from Great Falls to Tucson, and Seattle to the prairies of eastern Colorado. Though it’s not a lot of people, it’s a lot of geography that doesn’t much like California.
So who does California dislike? They don’t reciprocate with the mountain states. In fact Californians are moving here by the thousands, which might have something to do with how the mountain states feel about them. They are a highly invasive species. But when push comes to shove, California hates Texas.
Texas was top of the list in California, New Mexico, Oklahoma and for some reason Alaska. Nobody polled me for this survey, but if asked, Texas would have been at the top of my list, with California a close second. It’s hard to come up with a good reason. I’ve only changed planes in Texas once, so it’s not like I know the place or have any basis for putting it at the top of my list. Well, there is Congressman Louie Gohmert.
I expected Texas to dislike California, for some reason. But instead, big as it is, Texas has decided that Oklahoma is the worst state out there. Personally, I don’t see a lot of difference other than one has tornadoes and the other has hurricanes. I suspect there is a college football rivalry in the mix there. That could explain Michigan and Ohio disliking each other.
I’ve got no idea if there was any science behind the map. It could all be made up or completely off base. But it seems plausible. Especially the part about Florida.
Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.
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Tom Clyde was not impressed with Jeff Bezos’ recent trip to “space,” though it does make him wonder if space tourism should be in Park City’s future.