Sunday, August 7, 2011

A State of Civility, Idiocy and Mind...A Texan Rant

On Facebook, the picture was a shot of the back of a car seen in Rhode Island. 

"Misplaced Texan" in the colors and style of the Lone Star flag had been slapped on the back.  The caption in the picture. "Somewhere in Texas, some village is missing..." and we all know the last word is idiot. 

Now I am a Texan, and I am on many subjects, an idiot.  But if it is wrong to cloak a whole people by a stereotype born of negative traits that harken to past and present close mindedness, then it is wrong to cloak a whole people by a stereotype based on geography and politics. I tried to ignore it.

Maybe because I'd spent a bit of the morning thinking fondly of my father (the Gospel's readings today remind me of several boating stories about him and fellow Texans), I couldn't ignore what I'd seen.  Reading another friend's descriptions of the sounds and smells and tastes of New Orleans put me in a decidedly nostalgic Southern frame of mind.  The insult of it kept gnawing at me.

I thought of how the air smells in my hometown Beaumont.  (Mine growing up was salt and peppered with mosquitoes).  Before we set foot on the driveway of our old home, we feel home.  Our bones know it when we are there, that this smells like home, because this part of home (if we left it to live somewhere else), we can only  experience by returning.  Breathing it in allows us to visit memories and experiences that otherwise very likely remain dormant and invisible even to ourselves. 

But for whatever the reason, the Texan in me wouldn't let go of the image and his words.  The Texan in me?She got mad.  It very likely proves the poster's point by responding but in all honesty, I'd prefer he allow each person from the Lone Star State to step forward and remove all doubt of their idiocy, rather than paint with a broad brush. So I'm stepping into it and forward by speaking back, by speaking up. 

If he didn't presume, if he got to meet even the person sporting the bumper sticker, he might find Texans, even misplaced ones, are friendly to a fault, laugh louder than most, love a good story, good food and a fair shake. 

Perhaps he'd tell me that's stereotypical too.

Most misplaced Texans (self included) put that sort of bumper sticker on their car as sort of a lament for the air of home.  Texans put those stickers on their car possibly because they'd prefer not to be surrounded by people that write them off as stupid because of how they talk and where they are from. Maybe they'd prefer to be with people who enjoy a good story, good food, a fair shake and laugh louder than most.  Maybe we miss something of that air, of that culture that did not presume we as individuals were idiots until we stepped forward and somehow proved it. 

I know there are plenty of smart Texans across this land.  I also know I may have just proved conclusively and permanently, (seeing as it's my blog and it's now on the Internet forever), I am not one of the smart ones.

So because it is Face book and just a bumper sticker that someone found amusing for different reasons than I would, I'd just like to invite the good professor to consider allowing himself to meet a few more of us.  We'll probably say some things you wouldn't, but we'll also probably surprise you.  I find that all humans do surprise each other if they take the time to break bread and  tell their stories; we are all poorer, dumber, weaker and more injured than we ever wish to let on, but we also are brighter, kinder and hold more wisdom than we ourselves imagine.  And we all sometimes show greater charity than previously presumed and also allow ourselves to snark more than we ought.

All of that comes out in conversation over beer or coffee or pie or barbecue much better than bumper stickers or even blogs.   I also know humor is subjective and sensibilities can be overly nursed to the point of being absurd which this probably has.

But I'm better now. I've said my piece in response to his and if I ever see a bumper sticker in the Lone Star State, "Misplaced Rhode Islander," I promise not to jump to negative or derogatory conclusions about the smallest state in the union missing a person.  I'll guess that person is missing something of the air of home that can't be found anywhere else but the place with the state motto "Hope" and ask to hear about what that person misses so much.

Then I went and reread the post that had provoked so much.  I saw it was a joke on the phrase, because it said, "Somewhere in Texas, a villiage is missing....the person who owns this vehicle."   I must have reread that post four times, checking for a mispelling, for an incorrect rendering of the Texas flag, anything to give the benefit of the doubt before sounding off and still missed it.  I missed the mark. 

Guess Beaumont is minus one idiot...and for the record, with all humility and laughing at myself for my myopia, "I'm very sorry professor, mea culpa and the crow tastes delicious."


Gramma 2 Many said...

I have been a bit late in reading my blogs so I almost missed that you visited me and left such a kind message. I am so thankful for all of you who do not know us yet are willing to offer prayers for my beautiful daughter. It brings me to tears. (once again) Thank you so much.
I am also so excited to meet new people and get to know them through their blogs and hope you will return often as I will yours.

LarryD said...

Sherry - I gone up and tagged you in a meme.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!