Crayola Nation

By Ben Birnbaum

"Thinking of the 2004 election as a matter of the old red states and blue states is a big mistake, and so is looking at our country that way."—E. J. Dionne Jr., The Washington Post, August 20, 2004

Apricot: Area code that does not contain a tow zone

Bark: Site of a hair salon called Gay Blades

Birch: Site of a hair salon called Dotty's Wash and Cut

Blush: State in which the phrase "kasha varnishkes" has never been spoken except by accident

Burnt sienna: Future site of Sonny Bono Museum

Buttery: Dick Cheney hideout

Camouflage: Waitress named Lurleen

Cerulean: Computer disk that belongs to Los Alamos

Cheddar: Place where Washington slept

Cinnamon: Place where Wilt Chamberlain slept

Claret: Suburban garage in which no rock band has rehearsed

Cornflower: High school named for Jefferson Davis

Dill: High school named for Angela Davis

Espresso: Street corner on which Prada handbags can be purchased for cash

French blue: Okra-eaters cluster

Granite: Roadside crate of zucchini for the taking

Grasshopper: Library named for George W. Bush

Gunbolt: High school named for Geena Davis

Lake: Zip code in which the words "Harold Bloom" have never been spoken except by accident

Lemon-lime: Significant private collection of Star Trek memorabilia

Melon: Cellar with Pilates equipment in original carton on floor behind furnace

Midnight: Cellar with Thighmaster in original carton on floor behind furnace

Moss: Place that could be mistaken for Canada

Peach: Brooklyn

Periwinkle: Site of final closeout Oriental-rug sale due to loss of lease

Pesto: Year-round family-yard-sale cluster

Pineforest: Courthouse with spittoons

Pumice: School district with elected commissioner who has seen Elvis recently

Raisin: School district with elected commissioner who has seen The Seventh Seal recently

Rust: Prairie with no Granta subscribers

Salmon: Jimmy Hoffa

Seafoam: Man who does great impersonation of Ed Sullivan

Shale: Kosher Chinese restaurant

Sherbet: Michael Jackson

Smoke: Annual Muskie Fishing and Arts Festival

Stonewash: Block on upper Broadway that has not appeared in Law & Order episode

Taupe: Stand of marijuana in woods behind high school named for Geena Davis

Teal: Lutheran parish hall in which the word "booty-licious" has never been spoken even by accident

Thistle: Rod McKuen Heritage Center

Walnut: Neighborhood with Starbucks that can be seen from sidewalk in front of another Starbucks

Watermelon: Front-yard-with-tireless-and-hoodless-cars cluster

Wedgwood: Convenience store currently being robbed

Whiskey: Berkeley, California

Wisteria: On-schedule Amtrak train

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2004/11/crayola-nation/303538/