Will Durst: Florida, seven rows of seven stars
That's it. Over. Finished. Done with Florida. Consider our long-distance love affair officially at an end.
This is not just about the recent verdict by six Sunshine Staters sanctioning the death of a young man for possessing Skittles out of season, or for inventing the whole "stand your ground" law in the first place, allowing all this to go down. A tipping point has been reached. No more verticality to be had.
And why just six members on the jury? Because Florida can't count? No.
The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to an impartial jury of the State, but neglects to set a fixed number of jurors. 12 was pretty much the norm until 1970, when the Supreme Court ruled in Williams v. Florida that six is large enough for deliberation.
There you go. Florida. Again. Sense the pattern?
For years California was the go-to state for the freaky, bizarre and weird. "The granola state. Full of fruits and nuts. Anything loose rolls west and perches on the Pacific."
But in the 21st century, that roll has veered south like a migrating loon. Floriduh has locked up wacky tighter than a two-headed lizard on both ends at a roadside attraction.
Remember a little thing called hanging chads? Butterfly ballots? An entire community voting for Pat Buchanan by mistake.
For crum's sakes, who votes for Pat Buchanan by mistake?
Austrian ex-pats with postage stamp mustaches, maybe. Retired New Yorkers — not so much.
Oh, that's right, they were confused.
Of course they were confused. It's Florida. Confusion is their natural element.
Which becomes apparent as soon as you hit the freeway in your rental and get stuck behind 8,000 Chryslers doing 30 in the fast lane with their left blinkers on, going to the early-bird dinner.
Florida: whose major cultural contribution includes giant, lumbering cartoon characters in DayGlo fur terrorizing small children.
Florida: where you can see the melanomas floating in the air, right next to winged insects the size of footstools.
Florida: home to wayward gators, bewildered elders, hurricanes, banana spiders, flying cockroaches, serial killers, the tomahawk chop, city of Orlando and LeBron James.
Where sunstroke is a constant companion. Not so much a state as a swamp with sidewalks.
Cut Florida off right at the Georgia border, kick it into Caribbean and rename it North Cuba.
Or put out some feelers; see if anyone's interested in acquiring it.
Refloat that Fountain of Youth rumor. Drop hints about abandoned booty. Ix-nay on the osquitos-may.
Who knows, might even entice Spain into re-kicking the tires.
Sure, they're hurting, but 1,350 miles of coastline is nothing to sneeze at.
Already figured out the new flag redesign: Seven rows of seven stars.
And while we're busy revamping our nation's outline, perhaps this would be a good time for a serious conversation about Texas.
What say we make a few discreet inquiries to Mexico — see if they'd be interested in taking it back in a straight-up trade for Baja?
Will Durst can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.