The best thing to ever trend on Twitter came courtesy of NBC Sports writer Craig Calcaterra on Wednesday, Feb. 12.
I happened to be on the site that evening when I saw the headline, “Craig's daughter made a map and now Ohio 2 and Long Chile exist” was trending.
I had no idea what that meant and clicked on it immediately.
And I was very glad I did.
The initial tweet:
Calcaterra’s 16-year-old daughter, Anna, had drawn a bizarre, yet darkly whimsical alternate version of the countries in the Western hemisphere. (Don’t worry, he got her permission first before he posted the photo of her work).
She included notes to one side explaining the key (yet fictitious) events that led to her map being the way it was.
The first few involved simply renaming or combining states in the United States:
- “New Hampshire and Vermont have been combined into New Hampsmont"
- “North Dakota and South Dakota have been combined into West Dakota"
- “Minnesota renamed East Dakota”
- “Virginia renamed East Virginia”
- “West Virginia renamed Virginia”
Then the history of her map took a somewhat bloodier turn, with events such as:
- “Florida lengthened, removing the coastline from several southern states, leading to a second civil war and Florida’s eventual secession” (Bye, Florida!)
- “Chile becomes Long Chile, removing the entire west coast and causing Chilean-American War” (Yikes)
- “Chilean-American War is the catalyst for WWIII” (Oof)
But my favorite changes she made were the most wonderfully absurd:
- “Texas and Idaho also lengthened as decided by unanimous vote” (By lengthened, she means extended north, as in all-the-way-up-through-Canada north)
- “Four corners replaced with Ohio 2” (It’s literally just an area of land the exact same size and shape of Ohio set in the middle of where the corners of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet)
- “Capital moved to Ohio 2” (Seems reasonable to me. Why drain the swamp of the United States’ capital when you can just move the capital to the desert?)
- “Wyoming deemed unnecessary and removed” (As you can see in the image below, she is passionately anti-Wyoming in real life, which makes this move fitting)
When Calcaterra eventually informed his daughter that his Twitter followers had many questions about her map, her profound response quickly wiped the smile that had been on my face the whole time I was studying her cartographic work:
The responses Calcaterra received from people on Twitter about Anna’s map — and his occasional replies to them — were almost as fun to read as the fictional history his daughter created:
Anna's responses to her father's question about Ohio 2 — and the fact his Twitter account had quickly been inundated with people reacting to his tweet — were also perfect:
Needless to say, I followed Craig Calcaterra on Twitter that evening
A couple days after his tweet about Anna’s map, Calcaterra wrote a blog post where he reflected on the virality of that post as well as a viral Instagram post his son, Carlo, had published the week before.
Calcaterra also shared his thoughts — quite eloquently and insightfully, I might add — about what it’s like raising two teenagers in 2020 and how Gen-Z kids tend to look at the world.
As Calcaterra’s children show, Gen-Z kids may have a tendency to be different than us Millennials-and-older-crowd, but their hearts are in the right place.