Sunday, March 1, 2009

Praise They Ever Cherished Name, Dear Hapless Crapalope

Hey College Kids,

   Put down Wii Tetherball for a minute and pay attention. The Hard Taco song for March is called "Excelsior," and I'm not going to lie to you: It's pretty swell. But look, I'm not going to beat around the bush: good grades are pretty swell, too. You can listen to the song, but I'm not going to sugar-coat the truth: you really need to study harder, starting right now. You're never going to win a lifetime achievement award at this rate.

On the Subject of Imaginary States, Their Universities, and Their State Birds
Ohio State... Florida State... Michigan State....
Their names evoke images of storied university campuses nestled somewhere within the boundaries of a geographic territory that has attained political statehood. But what about the thousands of undergraduate students who attend imaginary state schools? Wayne State, Kent State, Ball State, Wright State, Appalachian State... the colleges are very real, of course, but they are all located in fictitious land masses.

Students at these institutions face a number of challenges. Foremost, it is rather impossible to visit an imaginary state, which means that the U.S. Postal service cannot deliver care packages to students. If your daughter is a freshman, you have to wait until she is home on break to give her microwave popcorn and Easy Mac. If you're truly intent on getting to campus for Parents Weekend, your only chance is to ride a plane (destination irrelevant), and turn on your cellphone just before landing.  Most of the time, the navigation system will go so haywire that the pilot will lose track of the ground and send the plane careening into the sun. Occasionally, though, the plane may wind up delivering you to your daughter's school in time for convocation.

   But let me answer the question you're really curious about... can an imaginary state have a real state animal? Unfortunately, the answer is no. By convention, most imaginary state schools retain the jackalope as their sports mascot. A handful of teams have taken exception to this precedent, but none have completely abandoned the tradition of mongrelizing antelopes. Examples follow:

The Morehead State Crabalopes
The Grambling State Imapalarangutans
The Ferris State Kangazelles
The Bowling Green State Springboxen (Oxen with the antlers of springboks)
The Empire State Boxsprings (Springboks that offer your mattress the comfort and support of oxen)
The Alcorn State Hapless Crapalopes*

With warmest regards,

*This is pronounced cra-PAH-loh-pees. However, their mascot is still a piece of crap with antlers.