Geographical self image

Drop Down American SamoaI don’t love filling out online forms that require me to choose from drop-down boxes with options that go on forever. I can’t remember what form I was filling out recently that forced my mouse-hand in this way, but I do remember reading over long lists.

A list of countries from which everyone was required to choose, pledging their digital allegiance, got me thinking. I wondered what it would feel like to be unable to find the name of the place where you actually live, and to be forced, instead, to click

United States Minor Outlying Islands Drop Down US Minor Outlying Islands

It seems like it could be a bit hard on the old geographical self esteem. Not only are you minor, but you’re outlying. Still, it could be worse. Prior to 1986, it was at least different. These small land masses (five or six islands, about which there is some dispute, a reef and two atolls) used to be known as “United States Miscellaneous Pacific Islands.” Wikipedia says that there’s no permanent population on any of them, though there appear to be something like two or three hundred people temporarily stationed there.  Presumably they have access to the internet, and presumably they do things on that net that require declaring their location in a drop-down box. Also presumably, if they’re out in the middle of next-to-nowhere on an island with no permanent residents, they have more challenges to deal with than the psychological ramifications of living in a place once considered Miscellaneous and now declared both Minor and Outlying.

We can hope that the weather in those outlying islands is some sort of consolation.

Timo Newton-Syms, Wikimedia Commons

Timo Newton-Syms, Wikimedia Commons

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One thought on “Geographical self image

  1. Pingback: Long way from home | Lori Notes

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