Monday, October 21, 2013

The "Post" Knows No Bounds

North Carolina and South Carolina became royal colonies in 1729. Six years later, under the direction of King George II, surveyors using compasses and rudimentary tools of the era set about to create a border between the two colonies. The boundary was to begin roughly 30 miles from the mouth of the Cape Fear River, run northwest to 35 degrees latitude and then extend westward, making adjustments around Catawba to keep the Catawba Indians in South Carolina. The on-again, off-again task lasted decades. Notched trees, stakes and stone markers separated North from South, and a border was officially set four years before America gained its independence.

Though straight for long stretches, the border, more than 330 miles long, zigs and zags near its midpoint. You can be driving in a Charlotte suburb in North Carolina, head north and wind up in South Carolina. No lie.

In the mid-1990s officials from both Carolinas created a joint commission and began a project to reestablish the state line, one aimed at marking a definitive, permanent border. Unable to rely on the notched trees and other markers, which had succumbed to the ravages of time long ago, the surveyors used old maps and new technology (GPS) to determine the boundary, down to the centimeter. The task crept forward, as bureaucratic projects tend to do, delayed by problems, financial and otherwise. The survey created a state line and stately headaches.

The new state line shifted a few hundred feet in spots, and in early 2012 households and businesses in those areas, whether they liked it or not, had a new address, state and all. Moves were more metaphysical than physical. A gas station/convenience store in Clover, South Carolina, for instance, now sat in Gastonia, North Carolina, where gas prices were 30 cents higher and fireworks, which the mini-mart sold, were illegal.

The small shift created big concerns for the unfortunate folks who went from North to South, or vice versa. Consider all the issues that arise when you change your address. Those issues are magnified when the move is to another state and is unexpected. Tax rates. Utilities. School districts. Area codes. The issues are myriad, the impact great.

I’ve shared this long and winding border tale to establish that North Carolina and South Carolina share a state line. You can’t see it, unless you’re looking at a map like the one above, but it’s there. It’s an imaginary line separating our nation’s 12th state (N.C.) from its eighth (S.C.). A Caro-line, if you will.

Allow me to state that in another way: North Carolina and South Carolina are separate states. One is known for the mountains on its western end. The other is popular because of the beaches on its east coast. One is conservative. The other is more conservative. One favors vinegar-based barbecue sauces. The other prefers yellow mustard BBQ sauces. One is the Tar Heel State. The other is the Palmetto State.

The New York Post didn’t get the memo, and that’s the (compass) point of today’s post.

The Gamecocks of South Carolina and North Carolina’s Tar Heels kicked off the 2013 college football season in Columbia, South Carolina. “So. Carolina” is New York Post deck shorthand for South Carolina, and in this case it refers to the football team at the University of South Carolina. UNC stands for the University of North Carolina.

To play this football game, the UNC team had to cross the aforementioned border and venture into a different state, albeit one with colonial ties. UNC faced an interstate rival, not an in-state one. UNC’s in-state rivals are North Carolina State (Raleigh), Wake Forest (Winston-Salem) and, atop the list, Duke (Durham).

The newspaper committed a Post-al error when it failed to recognize the fine line that exists between in-state and interstate — and the imaginary line that exists between North Carolina and South Carolina.

Now, about the Dakotas…

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