What Non-Texans Don't Know...

Don't Mess With Texas started out as an eco-preservation campaign

Some folks have written columns about Texas and bashed the "Don't Mess with Texas" slogan for being part of an anti-litter prevention campaign instead of something developed by Sam Houston or Colonel Travis. So we've got a cool slogan that started in the trash. Big deal. It still sounds cooler than...um...uh...say, what is your state slogan? Don't hate. It causes wrinkles.

Everyone does not wear cowboy outfits all of the time

I don't care what you thought you saw in Urban Cowboy. There are more than a few truths to be learned from that movie, three of which are:
  1. Debra Winger is not hot
  2. Deer Park is really scenic
  3. No one dresses like that anymore. Except at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, but then, I have already mentioned that before (see Houston: A Really Big Small Town).
Everyone does have a gun

Or has shot one at some point. Some friends of mine from the Mid West and I were telling stories of 410 shotgun gifts for 10 year-olds and grandma's squirrel spaghetti. Then, it dawned on me that those occurrences are not just par for the course in the majority of the population centers around the nation, particularly when three of the five people chorused, "You got a shotgun for Christmas in the 3rd grade?" Quit your belly aching. Guns don't kill people. Stupid people kill people.

Pick-up trucks are the official state vehicle, but they will not fit in all parking garages

Do you doubt it? There's got to be at least 20 "Texas Edition" models in production at one time. Once Toyota comes out with the Texas Tundra all bets are off. What's so great about driving a pick-up you ask? I'll defer to P.J. O'Rourke, who wrote: "A pickup truck is basically a back porch with an engine attached. Both a pickup and a back porch are good places to drink beer..." Don't worry, your neighbors will love your new dualie when you pull it up in the yard with a truck bed full of squirrels. Oh yeah, the Highway Patrol drives 'em too.

Tex-Mex and Mexican food are not the same thing

If you don't believe me, you should venture across the border to Presidio (just across the Rio Grande from Big Bend National Park) and order enchiladas or anything else you may have gotten at a Chi-Chi's in Hoboken, NJ or wherever you come from. It's not even close to the same. For that matter, the "Tex-Mex" you have been eating is suspect as well. It should have some pep. It should make Emeril's "Bam!" look like just a dab of salt on some freedom fries. Come to Houston; go to Irma's and you'll know what I'm talking about. But go to Presidio first.

Road Construction is a way of life

It has been said by many folks across the plains that the orange construction barrel is the State Bird. In fact, I believe I remember seeing O.C. Barrel on the ballot for State Senate the at polls last year. The prevalence of the barrels around the state is not without consequence. Short term equals bad traffic. Long term equals better roads and bad traffic. But the piece de resistance is the fact that road construction projects have no regard for other projects already in progress in your area. Loop 610 and Highway 59 under construction at the same time, there's no problem. Mix in a bunch of downtown construction and the easiest part of your drive may just be getting a ticket from that pickup truck driving cop.

Reality be damned, Big 12 is the toughest football conference

According to people in Texas. Sure Oklahoma is good most of the time, but the transitive property does not hold true here. It's a classic case of ranking inflation based on past prowess. Just look at Notre Dame or Penn State. They still get televised due to name recognition. Sure, they're famous. But that does not mean they are good. If you are moving here for a reason other than to attend Texas A&M or University of Texas, you will be forced to choose at some point. It's the lesser of two weevils: choose a team steeped in tradition but whose fans say, "Gig 'em" or a team whose coach can't make a choice between quarterbacks resulting in sub par performances from his team. Wake up and taste the Sugar Bowl. Go Tigers! (Spelling Go like Geaux is dumb too).

You will develop regional pride

I moved here a few years ago from the greatest football town on the planet. No, not New Orleans. Baton Rouge. I hated it, but I did not really know why. The reality was that I didn't hate it. I had just been programmed that way by folks who lived elsewhere and had an ex in Texas. Now don't think I'll be emulating my friends whose houses are decorated like a Texas Museum of History, complete with antique flags, Alamo remnants and vials of Sam Houston's blood on the mantel (actually it's in the sock drawer). You get the picture. Over the years, a reluctant sense of Texas pride has developed within me. Houston pride is well represented to, as much out of love as it is to spite Houston Haters ignorant bunch that they are. By the way, just because I like Texas does not mean I quit thinking Dallas sucks. Go Texans!

This was originally posted on TheBackWord.com, a Texas-centric eZine that has gone the way of the jackalope.