Happy trails 

Texas gave us the boll weevil. Texas gave us the chainsaw massacre. Texas gave us cheerleader moms who murder their daughters' competitors. Texas gave us these nasty old coyotes that skulk up at night and eat our kitties. Texas gave us mechanical bull riding. Texas gave us John Hagee, who still wants that war against Iran and still wants it now. Texas gave us western swing and outlaw country. Texas gave us what it proudly claimed was the best little whorehouse anywhere. Texas gave us J.R. Ewing about a million times over. Texas gave us Dick Armey once, and wants to again.

With the introduction of Colt's revolver to the Texas Rangers in the late 1830s, Texas established the soon-popular tradition of people killing each other with handguns, and passed along to the rest of us the humorous formulation that it wasn't the guns killing people, it was some other yodda yodda. Texas gave us Kenneth Copeland and the prosperity gospel, which holds that God wants us all to be rich, only the reverend up there first. Texas gave us Ura Hogg and the rumor of a twin named Ima. Texas gave us the warm bucket of spit.

Texas gave us a cornucopia of armadillos, which came wearing their own cornucopias. Texas gave us fire ants. Texas gave us killer bees. Texas gave us Mel and Norma Gabler and big-time brain-dead textbook censorship. Texas gave us Lone Star beer. Texas gave us the corn dodger. Texas gave us Fritos, regular and dip. Texas gave us Paige Patterson and the big Southern Baptist turn toward meaner, dumber, and more self-righteous. Texas gave us the club sandwich. Texas gave us Harriet Miers. Texas gave us Doyle Brunson and hold 'em poker. Texas gave us just about all the long drinks of water named Slim.

Texas gave us cowboy poetry, cowboy diplomacy, the Cowboy Cheerleaders, Cowboy Copus, and the ghost riders in the sky. Texas gave us Melvin Belli, Texas gave us Charles Whitman. Texas gave us the 1,200 yammering Clear Channel outlets. Texas gave us old-time Del Rio radio that specialized in autographed pictures of Jesus. Texas gave us the King Ranch notion that it is both honorable and feasible to aspire to a homestead bigger than Rhode Island. Texas gave us Deaf Smith. Texas gave us artificial turf. Texas gave us the bull thistle. Texas gave slews of us mouth cancer by way of Walt Garrison hawking Skoal.

Texas gave us Enron, and it also gave us Exxon, which is sort of six of one and half dozen of the other. Texas gave us the annual Neiman-Marcus wretched excess. Texas gave us the Lu Ann Platter. Texas gave us shinless Cotton Hill. Texas gave us horned frogs. Texas gave us Clyde Barrow. Texas gave us Lou Dobbs. Texas gave us Dan Rather. Texas gave us the rattlesnake round-up, and the rattlesnake in the glovebox as a practical joke. Texas gave us the big bunny bop.

Texas gave us bottled mesquite smoke to splash on our Texas cattaloe burgers. Texas gave us Tex-Mex. Texas gave us James Streett. Texas gave us the pencil-neck geek.

Texas gave us the grotesque Murchisons and the porcine Hunts, the Roy Cullens and John Henry Kirbys and Glenn McCarthys and the other Big Oil blowhards with the big hats and no sense who financed every hateful major American conservative initiative of the last 80 years. Texas gave us, courtesy of Martin Dies, the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. Texas gave us the Columbia disaster. Texas gave us Tom Delay. Texas gave us Lee Harvey Oswald, the Book Depository, the Grassy Knoll, Jack Ruby, and that whole horrible unending schmear. Texas gave us rodeo. Texas gave us the tradition of bestowing on your boon companions crude and insulting nicknames such as Turdblossom or Butt-Head.

Texas gave us Austin City Limits. Texas gave us tick fever, aka Texas fever. Texas gave us “Walker Texas Ranger,” whose leading man now aspires to be the first president of the new Republic of Texas. Texas gave us Dr Pepper. Texas gave us vice presidential shotgunning of innocent-bystander hunting companions. Texas gave us Phil Gramm. Texas gave us Dr. Phil. Texas gave us the Mexican freetail bat. Texas gave us Texas toast.

Texas gave us the Six Flags Over Here and There. Texas gave us the Texas quickstep, aka the Texas trots. Texas gave us the string tie. Texas gave us chuckwagon races. Texas gave us the president-pretending-to-cut brush photo op. Texas gave us indoor baseball. Texas gave us the Dan Blocker Museum.

Texas gave us the Barbara Bush sentiment that poor people rather enjoy catastrophes because it lifts them out of the dreary routines. Texas gave us a glimpse deep in the heart of itself recently when one of its Death Row cutups thought to amuse himself by gouging out one of his eyes and eating it. There's your telltale Texas angst, desolation at the core as much as “Call it, Friendo” in “No Country for Old Men.”

And all of that considered, why is it again, when they are champing at the bit to secede, that we do not hasten to bid them adieu?



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