Sunday, September 13, 2009

and how did you celebrate statehood day?

for those of you living under a rock and/or in another state, oregon this year celebrated its sequi- sesci- somegodaweful thing -centennial. in other words, oregon turned 150 on february 14th, 2009.

i wouldn't even necessarily know that oregon's statehood day is february 14th except that, while growing up, our class had a couple of jehovah's witnesses in it, which meant we could not celebrate any holidays. so our teacher in the 6th grade had a 'statehood day' party, instead of a valentine's day party. i guess it did firmly fix 'statehood day' in my mind.

turns out this is how i celebrated oregon's sesquicentennial this past 2/14/2009 with my friend holly (that's the correct spelling, i looked it up). the tree tattoo i got years ago while i was in forestry school. adding the state - and lincoln county, where my heart is and always will be - along with other things i think of as truly oregon (salmon and trillium) seemed a good fit.

damn, i love oregon. what is it about this state that inspires such weird loyalty among people? there are others like it in terms of loyalty - i've seen texas tattoos, and california. but those states are icons, if you will - giants both geographically and culturally in the overall american landscape. oregon is a bit player, really, when it comes right down to it. a professor once said, talking of economics, that oregon was about 1% of the nation as a rule of thumb. my jaw dropped, but he's totally right: we're 1% of the population (3 million out of 300 million), and our state economy is about 1% of whatever comparable national measures. 1%? that's nothing!

there are a few other places that are completely unimportant in the national scheme of things that, nevertheless, have a unique pull on the people living there - montana springs most readily to mind. people there are very attached to being Montanans, and always will be. but there's lots of other states that struggle away in relative obscurity and unimportance, and fail to inspire the allegiance of residents. maybe i'm wrong but - can you imagine a delaware tattoo?

note: it's entirely possible that, in fact, oregon does not inspire great loyalty. since i am speaking only from my personal experience (n=1), it's possible that, in fact, i'm just a kind of overly-attached freak, and if i had grown up in deleware, would have in fact a delaware tattoo.

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