Recently someone from Mississippi had an item for sale on the internet. He said he was from northern ms, and could deliver in the area (to eliminate shipping costs). Everyone replied, "Where are you located?"
Of course they did!! What the heck does ms mean? Is that Missouri? It has two S's. Is that Massachusetts? It has four S's.
The think tank at the Post Office sat down in the 1980's to handle these tough questions. Here's how it went down at one of the meetings:
"Is it Minne-sota?", asks the sensical woman. "That's like two words, first word 'mini', as in 'small', second word 'sota' as in 'soda pop'. They even pronounce it that way up there. They say 'Minuh Soda."
The think tank looks slightly amused. The sensical woman quickly adds, "Also, South Dakota and North Dakota are next to Minnesota. They all sound like double words, and they all rhyme, and could be easily be ND, SD, and MS."
Boss man says, "No, that makes too much sense."
Sensical woman says, "How about Maryland? That's a state named after Mary, the favorite mistress of British governor Alfred the 2nd of Canterbury. I'm just kidding, totally made that up. But, Maryland really IS a state named after a Mary. Probably Queen Mary, like the big ship. Duh. It's her Land. It's Mary's Land! Let's abbreviate it ML."
The secretary at the meeting, who spends her life taking notes and using letters, replies, "Uh, let's use the D at the end of Maryland, since it's a unique letter not found in ANY other state that starts with M. MD is for Mary's Land."
Observant guy says, "Oh, so we are using unique letters now? So, let's abbreviate Mississippi with MP, since the P is unique to that state,"
"No", says the guy originally from Mississippi, "We can't." "Why?" they ask. "Because our famous college is 'Ol' Miss', and Miss is abbreviated MS, like a southern belle. We can't discourage the honor of our glorious southern college or our magnificent southern ladies. Besides, how would the American public feel if we switched from Miss, which has been the abbreviation for over 100 years, to MP, which stands for Military Police? We can't use MP, makes no sense.'
"Get 'er done", says the NASCAR fan.
"Dang it", says everyone else. Observant guy says, "So where does that leave Missouri and Massachusetts?"
Impatient guy says, "Heck, let's give Missouri an MO and Massachusetts an MA. "Wait", says the observant guy, "we should go in alphabetical order."
"Explain" says the boss. Observant guy replies, "C'mon, this is a no brainer. Montana comes first, it should be MO."
The boss replies, "But the 3 MI states come before Montana. And since Michigan comes first, then Mississippi, then Missouri, it's clear that Michigan has dibs on MI, and Mississippi has dibs on MS and Missouri has dibs on MO. That is, if you want it all alphabetical, smarty pants."
Observant guy says, "Then why isn't Maine abbreviated MA? It comes before Maryland and Massachusetts."
Boss man replies, "Are you kidding? We can't take MA away from my alma mater in Boston Mass. Everyone who's anyone is quite familiar with my distinguished college from New England. Besides, Mass has been the abbreviation for 200 years, we can't change it now. What on Earth would it be?"
The secretary says, "How about a unique letter not found in any other M state? Like MC?"
Impatient guy says, "Makes sense,"
"Absolutely NOT! We New Englanders are descended from noble men, and will never be referred to as MC's. Those are lowly hosts and disc jockeys. We are not named after the help."
"Neither am I", adds the NASCAR fan. "That's why Momma named me Delvis. Rock-n-roll, baby."
Observant guy says, "So, where does that leave Maine?" Boss man replies, "Maine wasn't really a state, it was leftovers from Vermont and New Hampshire. Let's give it an ME since E is at the end. And Maryland gets an MD, sicne D is at the end."
Scientific guy proclaims, "But the E is a silent letter in Maine. In fact, there are only 3 sounds in Maine and would be spelled MAN phonetically. We should abbreviate Maine with an MN, since that's pretty much how it would be spelled by a linguist using the International Phonetic Alphabet. Ask any linguistics professor in college."
"YOU are the smarty pants now", replies the impatient guy. "Vermont is VT, so anyone who knows geography knows that Maine is next to Vermont, and so both abbreviations use the LAST letter,"
Boss man replies, "Really? Vermont is next to Maine? You're this close to being fired."
Observant guy quickly realizes something. "Hey, New Hampshire is next to Maine, it's abbreviated NH, so why not use that same logic to abbreviate Maryland ML, as in Mary's Land?"
Boss man says, "Because I said so. Err, I mean, because I said 'Not so'. Whatever, MD uses the last letter, like Maine does."
Observant guy says, "Why can't Vermont be abbreviated VM, since Vermont is basically the French phrase Vert Mont, or green mountain?"
"Because nobody speaks French here, it would be too much to ask the American public,", proclaims the boss.
"Yeah, just ask the folks in St, Louis", says the secretary.
"My Mom is from Des Moines, Iowa, and Pierre is the capital of South Dakota", adds the impatient guy.
"I grew up between Eau Claire and La Crosse Wisconsin", adds the sensical woman.
"Lots of southern belles in Charlotte and Fayetteville, North Carolina", adds the NASCAR fan.
Boss man says, "All right everyone shut it!!!!" He turns to the secretary taking notes. "So, what have we got so far."
"Well, in alphabetical order we have...
Maine, abbreviated ME
Minnesota, nothing yet
Montana, nothing yet."
Boss man says, "So, now it's down to Minnesota and Montana? That's just f'ing great! Both states have an N and a T. Minnesota has an S, but that's used up by Mississippi and 2 other states if we had it smarty pants' way."
Observant guy says, "I'm going to lunch, Bye."
Scientific guys says, "Hey, I thought I was the smarty pants. I'm outta here, too. See ya."
The sensical woman says, "I'm the smart one. I quit. Send me 2 weeks pay, boss."
The secretary hands her papers to the boss and says, "I'm on break now."
The NASCAR guy vrooms out of the room, "Hey, Lisa, got a smoke?"
Impatient guy scurries out of the room, "Hey, wait for me!"
The guy from Mississippi and the boss from Massachusetts now sit alone.
The guy from Ol' Miss says, "How about MT for Montana, since it sounds like two words, 'Mon' and 'Tana'? After all, it's right next to North Dakota and South Dakota and Mini Soda."
Boss man says, "Perfect. That leaves Minnesota with N. Yeaaaaah, that's it! MN stands for min, short for minimum, like a Mini Soda Pop."
"You are brilliant, boss, I'm glad I work for you."
"Thanks, looks like you're the only one left. Let's get lunch."
Ol' Miss guy says, "Hey, after lunch can we discuss all the states that start with A? I have a couple of ideas."
"No, we're using a coin toss for those."
And that's how decisions are made in the government.