You might reckon you’re as Texan as a hat full of horny toads. A lone star among Yankees and wannabes.
You might drink Texas brews, eat Texas ‘cue, flex Texas tattoos, know every word McMurtry wrote and every note from all of Willie’s tunes.
But if you’re standing in line for pulled pork, whining about the heat and … sweet Sammy Baugh, what’s that on your feet? … you got a far piece to go.
Let me help you. Read this list. Hold it near to your heart. Repent and all y’all shall be as Texan as Tommy Lee Jones.
The Top 10 Texas Sins
10. Failure to safeguard against creeping Yankee-isms: You do not barbecue hamburgers and hot dogs. You grill them. That is not a pond, it is a tank. It is a lawnmower, not a tractor. Good Lord, you do not want a “pop.” And don’t you dare ask for a slice of pee-can pie.
9. Failure to at least fake some Texas toughness: It is a little weird that God’s country is hot as hell a good chunk of the year, but it is. No use getting worked up about it. All that hand-wringing and human drama over a little heat is downright unseemly.**
8. Failure to defend your barbecue: There ain’t nothin’ wrong with a little cultural experience. Try that North Carolina pork. Be a polite visitor to Kansas City. But don’t let some SOB come to Texas and try to tell you about “real” barbecue. A Texan ought not tolerate that. Tell ‘em that barbecue is spelled with a “c” because the “c” stands for “cow.”
7. Beans in chili: No. Just no. And don’t even start with that Cincinnati stuff.
6. Failure to remember cowboy hat etiquette: Unless you wrangle livestock for a living, wearing a cowboy hat is a nod to tradition — so follow the tradition. Don’t wear a felt hat in the summer. Don’t wear it at the table. Don’t put it on the bed! (That’s serious bad luck.) And don’t mess with another feller’s hat. (Could be worse luck, depending on the feller.)
5. Zip-up boots: Get a rope.
4. Failure to know a little Texas history: I’m not going to come to your house and look for a bookmark in a well-thumbed copy of James Michener’s “Texas” … but you should know when Texas declared independence (1836), at least 2 people who died at the Alamo (you can, right?), when Texas became a state (1845), the six flags of Texas (no, the actual flags, not the amusement park) and what happened in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963 (seriously).
3. Failure to maintain basic Texan inventory: You need a pair of boots, a pocketknife, a favorite barbecue place, a Mexican food place you’ve been going to for half your life, a favorite Willie Nelson song and a Texas football team you would sell (or have sold) your soul for.
2. Rude behavior: You can be quiet, reserved, somber, subdued, standoffish, suspicious, crusty, crabby, grumpy, irascible, crotchety, or downright ornery. But rude? No sir, that ain’t right at all. Hold that door. Let that other driver merge. Humor that feller who insists on trying to pronounce things right, instead of Texan.
1. Not spelling “y’all” correctly: Honestly, next time I see “ya’ll” I might cut someone. It’s a contraction of “you” and “all.” It’s a fine word. It’s our word. Let’s get it right.
** This applies to spicy food, too.