July 16, 2003

RANT #194: Misc.
The Dude
Summary: quelling the stereotypes
Full Text:

Its okay, I forgive you. I know how easy it is for many of the Canadians and other strange-smelling characters lurking in the depths of this dark, primate-shaped web portal to develop certain misconceptions about Texas. Our friends in the Ministry of News, Entertainment, and Folklore (MiniNEF) have done a bang-up job creating a larger-than-life caricature of that equally large and funny lookin state in the Union. Not to worry, though, because a lifetime of living here has brainwaer, taught me everything I could possibly care to tell in order to set the record straight.

Being thousands of miles away, I presume that many of my Northern neighbors have not visited my humble stomping grounds, and understandably so. That is a pretty long way to have to travel by your main form of transportation, the sled. Did I say miles? For those confused, just remember that a mile is sort of like your kilometer, only better. If you do decide to make the journey down, I suggest shipping all of your hockey equipment; the dogs will appreciate a lightened load.

But dont swing those saloon doors open just yet! It is important to prepare for a few harmless idiosyncrasies that may surface in your day-to-day activities. First and most obviously, all Texans are aggressive, closed-minded, small-town honkies. Now, there are a few uninformed individuals out theresissy liberals, no doubtthat insist on propagating rumors to the contrary. Keep whispering something about how 32 percent of the population is Hispanic and rising, or that the state has six of the nations 30 most populous cities, which alone account for 1/3 of the state population. Some even go so far as to suggest that the capital, Austin, has more hippies, musicians, and minorities of all kinds than most places this side of San Francisco. But again, this is Bush Country, so thats crazy talk.

Infuriated as we may be at the sight of all things Democrat, we Texans are actually polite folk at heart. Dont be shy to greet any and all strangers that you meet, but first you must learn to speak the language. Assuming you have purchased the obligatory ten-gallon hat, practice cordially tipping it as you say Howdy (pronounced hah-daee) pardner/Tex/missy/seorita with the customary southern drawl. However, even though all Canadians say eh at the end of every sentence, this is not common in Texas, so be wary; misuse of the word might reveal the fact that you are from Europe, which is not advisable in these war-torn times. Also, it is considered good manners not to let your horse defecate on other peoples property when you leave it unattended at the waterin hole, but sometimes that cannot be helped. The latter can usually be amended with the aid of a little calf ropin. If that makes no sense, I cannot explain further; no one is allowed to question the calf ropin. If at any time you should become frightened because practices such as these fail to take place, do not panic. Simply retrace your steps BACK in the direction of the nearest tourist trap, and all should be well.

Lets talk barbecue. The number one rule here is to keep your eyes open  for those of you who only speak Canadian, bear in mind that sometimes we Texans use peculiar spellings. Barbecue, Bar-B-cue, Bar-B-Q, BBQ, Bar-Bar-Bar-Bar-Barbara Ann, it all means the same thing: heart-attack-sized hunks of nourishing meat! Naturally, the visitor will want to eat this every day, as is standard. Why dont we eat horsemeat, you ask? What are you, an anthropologist?

Sad as it may be, not everyone can stay forever, but with some smart shopping you can bring an authentic piece of Texas back with you, to serve as a constant reminder of what this place is all about. Suggestions include boots, spurs that go "jingle jangle jingle", a confederate flag, Dallas Cowboys underpants, armadillo roadkill, or a vanload of illegal immigrants. But most importantly, dont forget to bring some wonderful jokes! Texas didnt get to be the laughingstock of the nation (as one tangmonkeyite more or less put it) all by its lonesome. Never mind all of the other southern states with similar, perhaps even more extreme, cross-sections. Theyre smaller, so they dont count.

Happy trails.

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