A Texan’s Manifesto

Tomorrow is April 21 and I’m going to keep my promise and write about what day means tomorrow, but to lead up to that let’s talk about being a Texan – at least from my perspective. Granted, my view is a bit skewed since my family comes from Dallas. If you’re familiar with the area, my mother comes from Highland Park and my father from South Oak Cliff, which goes a long way to explain my many issues and probably my sense of humor. Let’s just say that I feel more at home at a Jack In the Box with 4” thick bullet proof glass and a contraption that spins and whirls so you can never make physical contact with the drive-thru staff than I do at Neiman Marcus. Also, one fits my current budget more than the other.

In Texas it’s easy to not leave the state. The place is huge. I know, I know we have a reputation for saying “everything is bigger in Texas”, but boasting aside you can’t deny the size of the state. From where I live now, it would take me approximately 13 hours to get to El Paso; that’s half a day and I still wouldn’t have left the state. If I go any other direction, I’m looking at an 8 hour drive before I hit a border. In other words, this ain’t Rhode Island.

Now I know how we as Texans are viewed, see we have theaters here – the kind with the moving pictures and they’re even talkies! I’ve seen the tumbleweed, the desert, the ranches filled with horses and cattle, and there’s always some tall gent with a well-lined face. I’ve never seen weeds tumble, I’ve seen the desert area on the way to New Mexico, and I’ve only been to a ranch once where I went on my first horse ride and screamed like an idiot when the horse started to trot. See, Texas is “a whole other country”. Sure, there’s desert, but that’s just one part – the landscape changes as you head east across the state and you begin to see rolling hills and end up in the piney woods. We even have a coastline that I highly recommend if you’re into brown water, man-o-wars and you’re not shy of wiping tar from your feet and legs.

I’ve got to move onto the accent. Whenever a Texan is depicted they invariably have the most outrageous drawl. I know very few people who speak that way and I’d dare say it’s not the majority of the state. However, any true Texan will make use of the word “y’all”.

Two important things to note about “y’all” – 1) “yous guys” sounds just as stupid to us and 2) it’s spelled y’all – it’s a contraction of the words “you” and “all” – it’s NOT a contraction of “ya” and “will” which is the only thing I think you can be thinking when you write “ya’ll”

I think the most irksome thing about being from Texas is the stereotypes. The first time I left I went to visit my boyfriend’s family in Missouri. Hey! I was 18 and I already told you Texas is big; ain’t no good reason to leave. Don’t you judge me.

I get there and am surrounded by his friends who immediately hit me with their own nauseating mid-western accent and said “you’re from Texas, speak for us” – like I’m some hillbilly, redneck show pony there to balance a ball on my nose while twirling a lasso.

Another annoying misconception is that we might be the missing link. One of my former co-workers once explained why he chose to come to Texas from Ohio. It seems that he was a salesman and the company he worked for gave him a choice between two states – Texas and then some non-descript state that’s never been featured in a musical. He told me he chose Texas because the people who live here are stupid. I went slack-jawed and then I let him have it. He felt embarrassed by what he said when I was finished so he qualified the statement with, “not you, you’re the most educated person I know in Texas.” WHAT? That’s a sorry state of affairs when I’m the most educated person anybody knows anywhere. Why was I the smartest and most educated according to him? I knew why we were getting April 21st off from work.

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