In Missouri, legislators didn't think it was a good idea to name a dead dog as the official state canine. On Thursday, the state House defeated a bill aimed at making "Seamen," the dog that accompanied Lewis and Clark on their trip West, the official canine in our state. As the Post-Dispatch reported, legislators had their reasons: not practical (did Seamen ever actually run in Missouri?; the dog is long-dead) to political (its breed, a Newfoundland, is Canadian.)
We'll let debate continue on that matter, but in all, Missouri has 27 official state symbols, from the official American folk dance (the Square Dance) to the Late Cretaceous (the Hypsibema missouriense dinosaur.)
Here are eighteen others that should be voted upon, declared official and expounded upon in classrooms across the Show-Me State. Compiled by the RFT staff.
Official state STD: Chlamydia This news report says it all: "St. Louis ranked second-highest in the number of reported cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia per 100,000 population [in 2008], compared to other US cities and counties, a new CDC report shows."
Official State Skin Irritant: Poison Ivy The Missouri Department of Conservation has already dubbed this plant the most irritating, so why not make it official? "The old saying 'Leaves of three, leave it be' is good advice."
Official State Microbe: the Treponema pallidum spirochete To continue the STD officialdom: "Treponema pallidum is a species of spirochaete bacterium with subspecies that cause treponemal diseases such as syphilis, bejel, pinta and yaws. It is not seen on a Gram stained smear because the organism is too thin."
Official State Aroma: a pungent mixture of Marlboro, stale bud and b.o. Attendance at any number of outdoor concerts in Missouri -- and fuck yeah, Schwagstock -- will provide enough evidence to sway lawmakers into making this the official aroma.
Official State Breast to Bare if You're at Soulard Mardi Gras or in Party Cove and Only Brave Enough to Bare One Breast: Left Just because.
Official State Vacation Destination: The Ozarks Now that beer bongs, Jell-O shots, kegs and Mardi Gras beads are banned, some wonder if the Lake of the Ozarks will remain the same. Our guess is yes. Which is why it should be the official State Vacation Destination.
Official State Inferiority Complex: The citizens of St. Louis We're not Chicago. And that's OK. Or New York. Repeat after us, it's OK. It's OK.
Official Most Important Year in State History: 1904 The World's Fair, the 100-year anniversary of the start of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, the Olympics! We were the fourth-largest city. We were also underdeveloped and subject to attacks by Native Americans, if you believe Wikipedia. They even made a musical about the year.
Official State Preferred Roll Serving Method: Throwed You mean to say you've never ventured to the original Lambert's Cafe in Sikeston, Missouri? For the unfamiliar, the roadside restaurant's gimmick is have the wait staff literally throw rolls at you. From the Web site: "The first roll was thrown in 1976 by Norman Lambert. At the original location, he would walk around and hand out the rolls.. One day it was really busy when Norman couldn't get through the crowd....one of the customers yelled to him " Throw the D*** thing!". And with that The ONLY HOME OF THROWED ROLLS was born."
Official State Billboard: Hectoring Unborn Fetus Pro-Life and adult entertainment billboards battle it out for prominence along Missouri's highways, but nowhere else is the contest as clear as along Interstate 70 from St. Louis to Kansas City.
Official State Rocker: Sammy Hagar Each October 13 (Hagar's birthday), working Missourians should take the afternoon off, slide in their cassette of Sammy Hagar's VOA and drink some sort of Tequilia-fused cocktail. St. Louisans love Sammy Hagar more than anyone else.
Official State Summer Stupidity: Drunk float trips Missouri has many rivers, and many people enjoy them with a Busch each year.
Official State Rivalry: Cubs vs. Cards It's a great rivalry that brings out the best in each team -- although some argue the Cubs get pumped more about each series than the Cardinals -- and often the worst in fans.
Official State Cheese: Provel Who knew such a bland cheese could cause such vigorous debate? Still, it was reportedly created specifically for our own "St. Louis style" pizza and for this, we need it to be official. Even the first sentence of the Wikipedia entry about the cheese mentions Missouri.
Official State Dad Outfit: Shorts with high white socks and sandals Spotted at parents' weekends at colleges around Missouri each fall, and at Little League games and anywhere else fathers in recreational-mode gather. One part Hoosier, one part rec-league and all parts comfort, this is the most popular knee-down wear for Missouri dads, based on vigorous anecdotal research.
Official state sex toy: buttplug Brought to you by former Missouri Governor John Ashcroft, who always looked like he was using one.
Official State Polar Bear: Dead Remember this story about how the Saint Louis Zoo was planning on replacing its polar bears with electronic proxies? That's because all the Zoo's bears died of various causes.
Official State Animal STD: Elephant herpes The number of cases of elephant herpes that have beleaguered the Zoo has gone up, to the point where if we were to pick an official STD for animals in the Show-Me state, elephant herpes would be it.