I’m sometimes attracted to things that are slightly quirky. For example, today I brought a lamp into work to brighten up a corner. Not just any lamp – the misshapen, crooked shade is splattered with green paint and fringed with beads, and the knobby iron base has a lovely green patina. I found it at a garage sale and, for some reason, decided I had to have it. It’s unusual, and that’s part of the appeal.
For those who also enjoy the unusual, I’ve come up with some ways to put the odd into everyday life – by focusing on some of the country’s wackier locations. If you are contemplating a move and don’t want just any-town, USA, consider Ding Dong, Texas. It is located in Bell County (but no, that doesn’t explain the name), eight miles south of Killeen. Or perhaps (if you are a big breakfast fan) you might consider Hot Coffee, Mississippi or Two Egg, Florida. You will have to enjoy a rural setting, however, if you choose any of the above locations – there are only a handful of residents in each.
Here’s a fun fact – there are two places in the United States called Monkey’s Eyebrow: one is located in Arizona and the other in Kentucky. The Monkey’s Eyebrow in Kentucky is above Bandana (no, I’m not making this up). And I can’t help but wonder what the folks in Toad Suck, Arkansas were thinking. Alaskans have a sense of humor – check out Chicken, Deadhorse, and Eek – home to Eek Airport.
If you just enjoy messing with out-of-town friends and relatives, move to Hell, Michigan – then wait for them to ask you for directions. In Webster, Massachusetts you’ll find the lake with the longest name of any place in the country — Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. (Go ahead; try to pronounce it.) Perhaps you’d prefer to go the opposite direction and move to No Name, Colorado. Find 96 reasons to live in Ninety-Six, South Carolina. Or find no reason at all to move to Why, Arizona.
The oddities don’t end with the names of places – some cities have come up with some festivals that range from the bizarre to the downright silly. East Dublin, Georgia is home to the Redneck Games, which involves hubcap throwing and bobbing for pig’s feet. Roswell, New Mexico has the annual Roswell UFO Festival, and the Burning Man Festival is held in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. If you’ve never raced an ostrich, then go watch some races at Chandler, Arizona’s Ostrich Festival. Maybe you prefer your critters a little smaller – but still cuddly. It’s just about time for the Woolly Worm Festival held every autumn in Banner Elk, North Carolina. And if you’ve never tossed a mullet, the Gautier Mullet Fest is held in October in Gautier, Mississippi.
And while I haven’t touched on peculiar tourist destinations (such as the Lunchbox Museum in Columbus, Georgia … the Longaberger Basket building in Newark, Ohio … or Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas), every state has a sense of the odd – whether it be the name of a place, a festival, or an exhibit — so have some fun, celebrate the strange, and find the ones near you.