There is an unusual map of the world that was once a popular poster. You still see it around in many places because it is a map that makes you see the world in new ways. This map reduces the world’s 7.3 billion people to a village of just 100 people. It keeps all the ratios the same so we can get a look at the world in miniature.
So on this map you will see that there are 60 Asians in the world – that’s counting China, Japan, India and Eastern Russia. More than half of the world lives in Asia.
Europe has 11 people. Africa has a few more: 16. Africa has a lot more room. If you add all of the Americas together, from the North Pole all the way down to Tierra del Fuego in Argentina, you get 14 people.
The United States is only five people. Texas is one whole person in that village. Imagine. Out of the entire population of this vast planet, only one gets the honor, the rare pleasure of being a Texan.
Reminds me of another map observation from Bob Wheeler, author of “Forged of a Hotter Fire.” I like to make sure I mention Wheeler’s book whenever I can because his work floats around the internet with his name divorced from it. He gets no credit.
Here is what Bob Wheeler has to say in his marvelous little Texas-centric book: “Look at Texas for me for just a second. That picture with the Panhandle and the Gulf Coast and the Red River and the Rio Grande is as much a part of you as anything ever will be. As soon as anyone anywhere in the world looks at it they know what it is. It’s Texas. Take any kid off the street in Japan and draw him a picture of Texas in the dirt and he’ll know what it is.”
Wheeler said that he thought “most everyone everywhere would like, just once, to be a real Texan – to ride a horse or drive a pickup,” perhaps they longed to drive off to the freedom of vast blue skies to horizons unknown. Wheeler believed that everyone, deep down, had a longing for something that might be called Texas. Might be so.
W.F Strong is a Fulbright Scholar and professor of Culture and Communication at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. At Public Radio 88 FM in Harlingen, Texas, he’s the resident expert on Texas literature, Texas legends, Blue Bell Ice Cream, Whataburger (with cheese) and mesquite smoked brisket.