I’ve fixated on flags more than a few times over the years, and I’ve honed in on the Maryland flag a disproportionate amount—perhaps more than it deserves. No offense intended to Marylanders, but the fact is it’s easy to spot the Maryland flag because 1) it’s a good flag and 2) people wear or display it considerably more than many other state flags. And though one of these two justifications is a mere opinion and the other a compelling, empirically supported fact, they fit like a yin to a yang. Regardless, though, it’s not as easy for me to come up with an explanation for what I encountered on a beach in Delaware:
Hopefully the remaining beachfront provocations don’t distract too much from our gentleman’s t-shirt: yup, the Maryland flag again. But it’s obviously not a conventional rectangular flag-shape. Why is it carved in the shape of Texas? I’ll never know for certain, but, judging from the text below, which says “One Family”, I’d guess that it’s a Texas-Maryland marriage or partnership. At any rate, it’s a symbolic hybrid: one of the best-known state flags paired with one of the best-known state boundaries. Let’s face it: the outline of Texas isn’t just famous because its natives foist it around a lot—of course they they do—but it offers the right combination of simplicity and distinctiveness to make it far easier to recall than, say, the shape of Georgia or Illinois. It may actually make a stronger case for Texas-ness than the flag of Texas, which, though also a good flag by vexillological metrics, can get confused with the national flag of Chile, or—to a lesser extent—the flags of Puerto Rico or Cuba. But nobody mistakes the shape of Texas for anything.
Truth be told, this man’s t-shirt may have been almost as effective if it had featured the Texas starred flag carved into the shape of Maryland, an equally distinctive—or downright strange—boundary outline. But Maryland is so bizarre, with its Chesapeake schism and the western panhandle that’s so narrow that it looks almost non-contiguous, it may have been difficult to convey the Texas flag clearly under such constraints. But, based on this t-shirt’s logic, if we had simply seen the Maryland in its conventional rectangular shape, the message might have been that he’s from Maryland while is wife is from Colorado. Or Wyoming.