Delmarva

As you've probably already guessed, I grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, in a part of the country known as the Delmarva Peninsula. The reason it's called the "Delmarva Peninsula" is that it is made up of the entire state of DELaware, part of MARyland, and an extraneous portion of VirginiA. Also, it's surrounded on three sides by water.

Sometimes, lazy cartographers will fuse Delmarva (or "this Delmarva-lous land," as local newscaster Scorchy Tawes is fond of saying) with the mainland, but if you spring for a real high quality map, you can see it kind of sitting there out of the way, between the Atlantic and the Chesapeake Bay.

Unless you're a crab enthusiast, or really into wildfowl art, chances are you've never been to Delmarva. That's really not too much of a shame. After all, at my high school (and I swear this is true) the first day of deer hunting season was an excused absence.

During the Civil War, Delmarva was so itching to secede from the union, Lincoln had to send in a large occupying force, declare martial law, arrest half of the state legislature, and suspend the writ of habeas corpus. I think a lot of people are still pretty pissed off about that. They express this rage by losing teeth, eating scrapple, and saying things like "coudt" and "mong y'all".  These are both real expressions, commonly used where I grew up.  Really.

Anyway, Delmarva is a weird place. This is where Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Scalia got together for a nice dinner and friendly chat while a case involving Cheney was pending before the Supreme Court. This is where 19-year-old eight-time Olympic medallist Michael Phelps was charged with driving his SUV around town drunk. This is also where my alma mater Salisbury University was forced to change it's name a few years after I graduated because they decided that Salisbury State University sounded too much like a frozen dinner entree. As you can see, Delmarva is a place where deals are made, dreams are broken, and university graduates go on to sound like idiots when they make small talk at parties.

There are some great Delmarva town names, though, such as Dagsboro, Smyrna, Hardscrabble, and Secretary. However, despite the names, these towns are real dumps.

Delmarva is flat, slightly below sea level, and kind of smells like chicken shit, thanks to the digestive tracks of all the chickens that live here, and there are many. There are no real cultural attractions here (now that my friends Bryan "Wrecking Ball" Martin and Louis T. "Tim Gordy" Gordy have moved away), there's not too much going on in the natural beauty department, and it's not on the way to anyplace you'd want to go.  Remember- it's a peninsula, so it's not on the way too anywhere at all.

Still, I really like the place. It's got a lot of quirky, regional charm.  Plus, my mom and dad live there, and two of my three brothers. It's also nice to know that chances are no matter where I go, I'll be the only one there who has been to Delaware.

Chris Messick is a co-founder of Supermasterpiece.com.  Check out more of his writing here.