Did you hear the one about the guy who thought he accepted a job in Iowa, only to find out Boise actually is in Idaho?
Or the one about a Wall Street Journal real estate ad listing a $450,000 log cabin in Sun Valley, Iowa?Or the one about a Boise woman talking to her attorney in California, who wanted the latest on the terrible shootings at City Hall in Mount Pleasant, Idaho?
Tim Woodward - a Boise native who's never been to Woodward, Iowa - has heard all of those and more. A columnist for The Idaho Statesman, Woodward for a decade has written periodically about the confusion over two states 1,500 miles apart - and about as much alike as a potato and an ear of corn.
He can also tell you Sun Valley, Idaho, is the renowned ski resort that's home to many who make money in their sleep, and that Idaho doesn't list a city called Mount Pleasant.
Woodward says he kept hearing knee slappers about the mix-ups between Idaho and Iowa.
"I heard enough of them that I decided it would be good for one column," Woodward said. "And it's been good for columns ever since."
Woodward keeps writing what he intends to be the last column on the subject, only to be deluged with newspaper clippings, magazine articles and testimonials from readers with more tales of what he calls the "Idaho-Iowa connection."
"I have a file - it probably weighs about five pounds - of stuff that I still have to use," Woodward says.
Woodward theorizes much of the confusion stems from the fact that the words "Iowa" and "Idaho" sound a little bit alike.
"I think part of it is the `I' factor," he says. "People think all four of the `I' states should be in a neat line in the Midwest."
But the "I" factor wouldn't account for the mix-ups Woodward has run across of Iowa and Idaho with such states as Ohio, Indiana, New Mexico, Utah and even a mysterious place called "Boys, Idawa."
Woodward said one of his favorite mix-ups is the pilot who though he was moving to Iowa.
"Someone told him the Boise assignment was a good one - that it was good working hours, easy flying conditions, not much air traffic," Woodward said.
"Not until he actually got ready to move and had been given the Boise assignment did he realize he was 1,500 miles off," Woodward said. "He had Boise and Des Moines mixed up."
"But he came anyway, he liked it, and he's still here."