I am headed to Houston, Texas by way of Germany, Austria, and Italy.
This is quite sensible, because everywhere I go people have opinions, strong and loud opinions, about Texas. The United States is complicated, but of Texas there is no doubt. Europe, in cabs, operas, and coffee shops, has spoken: I am doomed. California, the France of the US, is safe enough since in the European mind Arnold Schwarzenegger is still governor and always will be.
First, Texas is hot. How hot? No European knows, but even a Frenchman would be forced to deodorant.
Second, Texas is armed. Partly, the armory is explained by the numerous wild animals that fill the Texas wilderness. Texans love animals by killing and eating them, except for dogs and horses which they teach to kill and eat other animals.
Third, Texas is loud. Texans don’t whisper, they boom. A quiet Texan is cold in the ground, but even then Europeans worry. In a Zombie apocalypse Belgian zombies would be polite, but Texas zombies would be loud and mean.
Fourth, Texas is brash. Texans believe they are the best, which Europeans know to be false since they are the best. Texans think the EU is a silly idea, kind of like the USA, and most regular Europeans agree with Texas.
The difference is that a European writs a poem about it in a cafe while a Texan gets more guns. Europeans believe Texas is a nuclear power, though Texans cannot pronounce “nuclear.”
Fifth, Texas is full of giant cowboy hats and boots. In the European mind, when I meet a Texas grandmother she will be wearing a bonnet or have giant lacquered hair that is a fire hazard. In the mind of Europe, Texans are firmly trapped in a Dallas episode or a Roy Rogers movie.
Sixth, Texas is rich, fabulously rich. Many Texans of course are very poor and not in the attractive Austrian peasant way. Poor Texans are dangerous, being armed, and often incapable of reading, writing, or indoor plumbing. Rich Texans may not be as rich as J.K. Rowling, but even a mere Texas millionaire acts richer than Rowling. Rowling ends up wearing expensive little gold glasses, but a Texan would have big diamond covered high tech eye wear.
Seventh, Texas buys stuff that should in Europe, but at least saves these things from Russians. Texans when not killing things sometimes appear and mop up wars Englishmen have already won. They are, therefore, sometimes useful in a good hearted Goofus way.
Texans are rich from oil and are cowboys, Russians are rich from oil and are mafia. Texas buy European art for “culture,” Russians buy art because Texans do.
Russian are the Texans of Europe, big, loud, rich, and feared. Europeans only worry about themselves when they think of this fact.
Eighth, Texans are very Christian and not in a good European way. Europeans are sometimes Christians, but not in a discernible way. Showing up for mass on Christmas or Easter alerts the police to worry about fundamentalist traits in many German towns.
Texans not only read the Bible, they carry them with their guns. Texan Bibles are rarely decorative and contain few pressed flowers.
Ninth, Texans lack “history” and “culture.” Europeans are proud of centuries of death and destruction. Texans simply cannot compete. The Alamo happened several times in most European towns.
If Europeans are to be believed, the humblest European speaks several languages and appreciates opera that is really grand and very old.
Finally, Texans do not speak English. Every European can “do” a Texas dialectic, often sounded as convincing as Dick Van Dyke as a Cockney. Europeans are convinced that Texans are inherently funny when speaking. Texas men know amusing rural anecdotes, women stories of the farm days.
Texans should not shoot the messenger, though European friends say you will I am only reporting what Europeans say, not arguing the truth o it.
If only these things are true, I will love being a Texan if Texans will have me. Europeans warned me that Texans are clannish and may not accept me, but I have hope. Europeans also do not know that soon all academic roads will lead to Houston, Texas.
As they say I should say: “Ye Haw.”