The Best- And Worst-Shaped States

Illustration for article titled The Best- And Worst-Shaped States
Illustration: Elena Scotti (GMG)

Your letters:


Which state has the best shape? I was thinking Texas as the shoo-in, but upon further reflection maybe Idaho? Definitely none of the square ones, though.


You’ve been brainwashed by Texas’ obnoxious fetish of slapping the outline of Texas onto every last possible thing. Texas sees a dog crossing the street and it goes DURRRR THAT DOGGIE THERE IS PURE TIXAS! and then it brands that poor dog with a Texas-shaped cattle brand. Meanwhile, the state is shaped like an ocean liner that ran directly into a retaining wall. Don’t buy into Texas’ penchant for glorifying itself. Here are the best-shaped states, ranked in order specifically to anger you:

1. Michigan. I like states and countries that are shaped like things. Not only is Michigan shaped like a mitten, but if you include the Upper Peninsula, it looks like a mitten that is desperately trying to cling to an overhead branch before plummeting down the face of Mount Arvon. Pretty much sums up how that state is doing in general.

2. Nevada. Nevada doesn’t get enough credit for being our pointiest state. Look at that thing. It’s like someone, presumably a Vegas mafia don, broke off a piece of glass and is poised to drive it straight into your throat. Now that’s a shape that fits the personality of its state. Nevada: We’re Always Ready To Kill.

3. Oklahoma. Oklahoma is a backward wasteland of a state, but the panhandle rules and the entire state looks like it was made out of cast iron. Really makes me want to cook some sort of hearty, beefy stew, preferably over an open campfire.

4. Florida. So long and girthy. For the record, I live in perhaps the most oddly shaped state (Maryland, which is tiny but somehow boasts a border that is 97,000,000 miles long), and so I appreciate states that are geometrically abnormal but don’t get TOO nuts about it. Florida looks like a penis. Maryland looks like a piece of a puzzle no one wants to solve. The penis wins.

5. Alaska. I like the little nub where Nome is located. Reminds me of when I yank a little hunk off a particularly knobby piece of Popeyes Chicken. I want to eat Nome, is what I’m saying. I bet it tastes like fresh seal meat.


6. New Hampshire/Vermont. They’re 69ing! NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE.

That’s it. Those are the best. Here now are all the worst shaped states:

· California. Looks like if someone cut a pie ALL WRONG.

· South Carolina. A failed spinny top.

· Mississippi. Toddler’s drawing of Bart Simpson’s head.

· Nebraska. An ugly train car with no wheels.

· Hawaii. Freshly blown snot rocket.

· West Virginia. LOL that shit looks like a balloon that ran out of helium.

· Wisconsin. Big and blobby up top, just like its people.

· Virginia. My EKG after a trip to P.F. Changs

· New York. What a mess. Someone give Long Island to New Jersey so that New Jersey can look like a duckling with a porn star-sized bill.


· Kansas. Who cares.


Can you please give this guy the Gregggggg treatment? I know it’s not football season, but come on? It’s golf, dude! Relax. It’s shitheads like Ian here that make golf a snobby sport. Who cares?! So Mickelson hit the ball while it’s moving. Guy talks about it like he punched Jack Nicklaus in face and pissed on Arnold Palmer’s grave.


I’m so upset Jim Nantz wasn’t covering the Phil Mickelson incident. He would have swallowed his own testicles. It would have been RIVETING to hear a man who literally believes no golfer cheats to see one of his favorite golfers doing precisely that (and while a dude built like a fucking Turkish deadlift champ wins the tourney outright). I bet he won’t jerk off for a week, he’s so upset.

Anyway, I love this story because everyone involved in it is a complete shithead. Mickelson is a shithead for hitting a moving ball and then, bizarrely, going on a FUCK YOUR FEELINGS tangent while defending himself. (“If somebody’s offended by that, I apologize to them. But toughen up because this is not meant that way.”) He absolutely should have been disqualified for pulling that stunt, if only because he’s always been the kind of arrogant prick who thinks he can charm his way out of any jam. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that if it had been some random pud who did that instead of Mickelson, he not only would have gotten booted from the tournament, but that shit would have hounded him for the rest of his career. This is because golfers love to brand cheaters forever, both as a way of pumping up the sport and for buffing their own moral credentials.


That said, it’s also been highly enjoyable to watch the Ian O’Connors and Rick Reillys of the world gasp out loud and cry out “SIR!” because some dude hit a golf ball before it stopped moving. Why, it makes a mockery of EVERYTHING golf stands for: money, bad shirts, wasted land, racism, humorlessness, lazy Presidents, more money, and such and such. We simply can’t have that sullied. I have greatly enjoyed watching people lose their shit over this, so I hope Mickelson makes it a weekly occurrence. I hope he shows up at Carnoustie and tries to secretly sweep the ball out of the rough using one of his droopy tits.

Golf exists mainly so that bored rich people can get extremely upset over the pettiest possible things, so this was an ideal U.S. Open weekend for me personally. I disagree with my colleague Chris Thompson who doesn’t like the U.S. Open and its annual clown mouth setup. I love it. It exposes golfers as the entitled bitches they’ve always been, and I support their public degradation. I was utterly disheartened to see the USGA cave on Sunday and make the course actually playable. They should have responded to player complaints by greasing every green in 100 percent pure canola oil.



Yo I’m eating a bag of tortilla chips. How small do you let them get before you decide they’re crumbs and throw away the rest? When they can no longer support salsa? I think maybe around size of a fingernail and then the rest is trash.


How dare you throw all that sodium-laced goodness away, SIR. I know doing the mouth dump with the end of a bag of plain tortilla chips isn’t as fun as doing it with Doritos or with BBQ potato chips (in both instances, I actually smash the crumbs a little more before hoisting the bag over my face), but not finishing that bag is an insult to the corn that died to make it. You can also dump the rest of the shards into a bowl of chili if you happen to have chili around, and you always should.

The real question is: how small can a chip be before it’s no longer dippable? Because that’s a horrible moment, when you’ve fished around for a full-sized chip only to realize that there are no more to be had in the bag. Then you grab a chip the size of a postage stamp and try to dip it, only the salsa gets all over your fingers! THAT IS THE WORST. LITERAL HUMAN TRAGEDY. I think once a chip is smaller than half a full-size chip, it’s no longer functional. Ergo, I propose that we institute some sort of Nationwide Action Chip Haggling Offer (or NACHO), in which you can go to any public building and trade in your bag of end crumbs for, like, four full-sized chips. The traded crumbs could then be used to feed livestock, or for insulation in housing, or even as fertilizer for eggplant crops. WHO SAYS NO?



If someone had little to no athletic ability, but they were 20 feet tall, how many sports could they have a Hall Of Fame career in? I’m thinking at least three (basketball, volleyball, football).


I’m not sure an unathletic 20-foot human would do very well in football. What would you do, put him at wideout and them chuck the ball to him in the end zone? I guess that would work until Roquan Smith shatters that guy’s tibia on the first tackle.

Ages ago, I read an SI article about all the retired seven-footers from the NBA, most of whom have health issues stemming from the fact that they are a height that the human framework was not really designed to support. And so a 20-foot man would have even more pronounced and crippling health issues. You would marvel at XXXXL Lawrence Welk in the NBA dunking the ball with his dick for a few games, before he accidentally decapitated himself walking through the arena loading dock. There’s a reason humans are the size that they are. To accommodate a 20-foot man, you would to redesign the entire anatomy and physiology of humans. It would be Silicon Valley’s greatest disruption of the lifespace yet.


If our man were magically invincible, I can only think of three sports besides the ones you listed for him where he would excel: badminton, swimming, and the long jump. Swimming would be a little dicey because he’d split his head open on any flip turn, but I would very much like to see Skyscraper Breckin Meyer gold medal in the long jump. All the other athletes would be FURIOUS with him.


Is cologne still a thing?

It is. In fact, worldwide sales of men’s fragrances nearly TRIPLED from 2007 to 2017. I assume Italian men account for the bulk of that growth. DIS FUCKIN’ GUY!!!!


I don’t wear cologne* and I don’t know anyone who wears cologne because most of my friends are dads, and because I don’t hang out in nightclubs with Pitbull. But I think one of the reasons you may not anecdotally smell cologne on guys, at least as much as you used to, is because a lot of colognes don’t smell like cologne anymore. You know what I mean? Like, they figured out that women don’t want to hang around a guy who smells like pure ethanol, and so colognes are more diverse and subtle than they used to be.

Don’t get me wrong, you’ll occasionally get trapped in an elevator with some horny boat club guy who stood under a fire hose of Drakkar before heading to the fifth floor. But when Tom Brady sits down with his marketing team to test out fragrances for Fancy: Brady For Men, he’s rejecting all the shit that smells like 1982 in favor of fresh cedar scents and what not.


By the way, not to be the company man, but one of the most interesting things I’ve ever read was this GQ profile of a British scent guru.

Dove described being at the gallery on opening day as both proper old ladies and mod hipsters arrived. “I sprayed the scent on each person,” he said, then let it linger. After a while, he said to those he sprayed, “Do you mind if I say something a little candid? In a minute, that scent will smell like a crotch. And everyone, I swear on my mother’s grave, went—’Oh yes.’ And then, a moment later, they said, ’Well I quite like it!’ Whether the person was a man or woman, gay or straight, everybody smelled this smell as the smell of crotch. It was everybody’s experience of going toward the hidden land.”


So there you have it: the future of cologne is cologne that smells like sweaty pubes.

*Back when I was single I got a free sample of Kiehl’s cucumber lotion and a girl told me it smelled good on me, so that became my de facto “cologne” for YEARS. I was just walking around New York all day smelling like a Greek salad. SEXY.




Weird Al’s first hit song was in 1982... He won a Grammy in 2015. I realize it’s parody... but is he the greatest musician over the past 35 years? It’s weird to me that’s NOT a weird thought.


He’s not the greatest musician of the past 35 years. I say that as someone who grew up singing “Eat It” in his grandma’s living room during cocktail parties, to polite applause from old drunk people. Weird Al is an institution and I’ll always love him for UHF, and for Al TV, and for the Naked Gun cameo, and for “One More Minute,” and for his narration of Peter and The Wolf. He’s had a remarkably durable career.

But I don’t think you’re picking any of his shit to be your desert island album, you know what I mean? If you actually did prefer that over serious, actual music, I would have a lot of questions for you. Sometimes Weird Al can be extremely surreal and funny, and other times his parodies play out like an old Frank Rich op-ed column, where two current cultural things are glommed together for no good reason. Like this song. That kind of jam doesn’t exactly have a long shelf life.


I think Weird Al deserves recognition of some sort for being Weird Al. There’s a petition to put him in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but that Hall of Fame sucks. Instead, he should build a Hall of Al, and put it in Lynwood, and half the museum can be a pointed sanitization of the actual Rock Hall, and the other half can be dedicated to disposable jokes about, like, Gilligan’s Island or some shit. And then they can pipe in ironic polka that’s actually just bad polka.


What do you do with the friend who won’t tell you why he wants to talk to you? I have a friend who will call, but won’t leave a message. He also will not send a text to say “I called because…” Sometimes, I might be at work the next day and I’ll get an email that just says “Call me”. When I explain the reasons why I’m not doing that, I’ll get a reply that says “Okay, well call me tonight then.” Is this person a moron, or am I the one with the problem because I find this highly annoying?


No, you’re in the right here. I do not like it when people are cagey about that kind of shit. Someone better be fucking dead if you can’t tell me what you need to talk to me about. If you are teasing out a phone call like it’s the prelude to a breakup, you need to learn some goddamn manners. This is especially true in 2018, when there’s never any reason to talk on the phone UNLESS someone is dead. Like if someone at work goes, “Hey, can you hop on the phone for a second?” I assume that I’m about to be fired and that the office burned to the ground. Usually it’s only the latter, but still.

That’s why I always ask people “why?” when they want to talk on the phone but are cryptic about it. Is everything okay? What exactly is this about? Did someone find out about me stalking Tom Hulce? I don’t wanna take this call if it’s gonna make me personally uncomfortable. I have spent my entire life avoiding Serious Talks with people, and I plan on keeping it that way.


Sometimes my dad will call and he’ll be like, “Do you have a second?” And that’s when I freak the hell out. Oh God, Dad just lost his arm cleaning the fucking gutters. But no, no it turns out he wants to coordinate calendars. It’s a very stressful way to begin a phone call. If you’re calling me on the phone, I want a pre-memo outlining the topics to be discussed, and I want it notarized. I also want assurances that no one is dead. Because whenever someone dies, what’s the first thing their loved ones say? “We knew it the second the phone rang.” The phone is the goddamn reaper, man! Keep me out of it.


I am a 28-year-old male who only weighs 145 lbs. For the past three weeks, in an effort to actually gain muscle and put my workouts to use, I have been eating a whole rotisserie chicken at work throughout the day. It was going smoothly until some coworker came to ask me a question whilst savagely eating a chicken leg. Which got me thinking, was it ever socially acceptable to bring a whole chicken into work in the first place?


Probably not. But you know what? Fuck everyone else. The average work kitchen is a goddamn fiasco, anyway. The sink is rancid. The coffeepot is dirty. The fridge is always overstuffed with Styrofoam leftover containers, Ted’s carton of upscale half and half, open cans of soup, giant containers with half an ounce of salad in them, half jugs of kombucha, and crusted-over bottles of ranch. Everything is covered in testy Post-its and nothing is free for you to take. I don’t think your co-workers have much of a right to sneer at a whole chicken, particularly if it’s a prescription chicken.

They’re probably just BUTTHURTING that you get to house a whole chicken every day. I know I would be. I’m exceedingly jealous of you right now, Kevin. I have never, in my life, been in a position where I desperately need to gain weight. I can’t even imagine that kind of freedom. I read about athletes bulking up by drinking pancake milkshakes nine times a day and my brain can’t comprehend it. I’d bring THREE chickens to work if that were ever the case. I’ve said it before, but grocery store rotisserie chickens are a miracle. You pay $5 and BOOM! You got a succulent, whole chicken ready to pick at. Nothing brings me more joy than breaking down one of those fuckers for a chicken salad. I take nibbles from the legs and the back and neck and the butt. It’s a miracle from God, I tell you!


Anyway, eat your chicken and live your truth.


Could any current WC team beat any Champions League teams? It seems to me that the synergy/experience of playing together built up by the top CL teams, e.g. Man City, Real, Liverpool, would be able to overcome any stacked WC team, e.g. Brazil.


I checked with one of our resident Soccer Knowers, Billy Haisley, and he says no World Cup team could beat a Champions League Team because of the quality of depth and the inherent advantages of playing together week-to-week. And that all makes sense, only the World Cup is now RUINED for me. Thanks a lot, you two. The only goddamn sporting event on TV this month and you’ve reduced it to a round robin of MAC teams. God dammit. As an American, I only want to see THE BEST.

(I will actively watch all of a Browns/Bills Thursday Night game.)


Why is buying a car the most soul-sucking charade in normal life, and why hasn’t the process been fixed? I stopped by a big professional car lot (knowing full well it was a mistake) just to talk with a guy about a cheap or used car. They took my keys to appraise my trade in and the guy insisted on trying to sell me a $35,000 car that I didn’t want and couldn’t afford. I can’t believe that the car industry is still rockin’ this sales process. It even happens with the new no-haggle pricing places are rolling out.


You’re not gonna believe this, but it turns out that the entire car purchasing process is dictated by arcane franchising rules that were established long before the advent of the internet and essentially forbid you from buying any new car (apart from Tesla and a few others) online. You MUST go through a dealer to finish off the purchase, and you must bear the exorbitant markup of doing so. This allows the dealer to keep a death grip on their respective sales regions, and it means that car manufacturers can continually pump out shitty cars on the assembly line—even painting them colors you probably don’t want!—without much care as to whether or not people are interested in buying them. You can do all the legwork you want online, but chances are the prices for each model are gonna be fairly close, and you’re not gonna drive three states over to pay $200 less for a Honda Civic, or to get a car that’s blue instead of white. Everything is designed to make you compromise with what you originally wanted for yourself.

Personally, I can tell you that when I step into a car dealership, I wanna fucking die. All I want to do is leave, and that factors into the compromise. I could go to 100 dealers to get the exact car I want at the absolute lowest price, but that’s a fate worse than death. The process is designed to exhaust you and sap all your free time, to break down your defenses so that you’re a little less picky about committing to a $30,000 piece of shit. You wanted a red Hyundai Santa Fe, and suddenly you’re deliberating over whether or not to buy a black Toyota RAV4 because this is the last one left on the lot!


Obviously, the way to fix this is to destroy the dealer model and just sell cars direct to the consumer, offering them hassle-free test drives locally and then allowing them to custom order whatever model they like online. You know what? I’ll do it. Give me $50 billion in seed money and I will DISRUPT the car buying industry and sell you quality cars at a quality price. Then I’ll become a billionaire, get my feelings hurt online, and become a fascist. YOU PEOPLE DON’T APPRECIATE JUST HOW MUCH I CHANGED THE WORLD.

Email of the week!


Back in the summer of 2010, I was working at a Panera in my Minnesota college town to help pay for school. The job sucked and one of my bosses was a total dickhead (mid 30's guy who was pissed about his marriage and had a DUI from clipping a cyclist with his side-view mirror)

I was working one night, and had just finished my break. I clocked back in and went to take a shit on the clock, because that’s what you do when you work in a menial job where no one gives a shit. I go to take what I think is a large poop, but turns out to just be nothing but a fart; I go back to resuming my duties washing the dishes that evening

After about 5 minutes of dish washing, I feel a fart coming up. I let it fly, and immediately feel liquid shit filling up my underwear. I realize that I need to get to the bathroom posthaste. It was about 7pm, so thankfully no one in the place sees me power-waddle out of the bathroom with liquid shit running down the inside of my right leg. I make it to the bathroom just before the stream of shit hits my sock, and begin wiping. It took about 5 minutes to clean up the mess, but I had to throw away my underwear as it was soiled through and through

Not knowing what to do, I go to my aforementioned boss and said “Dan, I don’t know how to say this any other way, but I just shit myself.” He understandably stared at me with a dumbfounded look for about 5 seconds, and declares “Well, you just won the go-home lottery. Go home”

I’m still cautious when I fart to this day.

As anyone would be.

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.