A few weeks ago as St. Pauli Girl was driving us somewhere, something finally dawned on me:
“I just realized that I've now lived in Texas longer than any other state,” I marveled.
St. Pauli Girl slammed on the brakes (luckily we were at a traffic light). “Oh my God! You're a Texan!”
In most states and maybe even some countries, fifteen years residence would earn at least honorary citizenship. Not so in Texas. Later that night, St. Pauli Girl came out for happy hour armed with a clipboard and a copy of the Texas Constitution encased in glass.
“I've been authorized by the county Constable and a guy who claims he knew someone related to Sam Houston to give you the official Texan Citizenship Exam,” she said. “Now put your left hand on the Constitution and raise your right hand: Do you hereby swear on this here holy piece of paper and to the Republic for which all else are jealous and on every concealed handgun in the room that you will do your God's honest best to answer some hard falutin' questions about the motherland so help you God and Willie Nelson and Rick Perry?”
“I do,” I said then held out my hand. “Do you need to draw blood?”
“Not yet. Let's begin, shall we? First, tell me something about barbecue.”
“The only real barbeque is beef ribs and brisket. Pulled-pork is okay as a minor offering, but serving a vinegar-based sauce is a felony.” I sat back with a smile knowing this would be a breeze.
“Good,” she said with a smile. “In at least 10,000 words, tell me how great Texas is.”
“Hold on a second. No, that's just for native-born Texans. There is no word-count minimum for foreigners.”
“Okay, let's see, Texas is really big. And great.”
There was a moment of silence.
“Can you expand on that?”
I thought for a minute then remembered the song by the Austin Lounge Lizards
“Our guitars are the twangiest, our guns are the ka-blangiest
Our cattle the long-horniest, our yodels the forlorniest
Our cookoffs are the chiliest, our Waylon is the Williest
Our sausage is the smokiest, our neighbors are the Okiest.”
St. Pauli Girl grimaced. “That question may come back to haunt you. Okay, now use 'y’all' in a sentence.”
I frowned. Having grown up primarily in Tennessee, I had managed to banish that awful contraction from my vocabulary. “Okay, let's see... I was feeling very sleepy and then I y’allned.”
“Not acceptable. Repeat after me: dinner is ready, y’all.”
I started to sweat. “Dinner is ready...... folks.” I tried but I couldn't do it. “No wait: vittles is ready, folks.”
St. Pauli Girl shook her head and made notes on the clipboard. “Who was the leading rusher on the 1973 University of Texas Longhorns football team?”
I wanted to say Earl Campbell but I thought it might be a trick question and didn't want to press my luck so I just gave her the hook'em horns sign.
“The correct answer is Roosevelt Leaks, but we will accept the hook'em sign.”
I wiped my brow. This is really getting hard, I thought.
“Next: if we're in the grocery store and I ask you what kind of coke you want, what is your response?”
“That's easy, classic Coke. They don't even make new Coke anymore.”
St. Pauli Girl dropped her head into her hands. “The best response would be Dr Pepper.”
I shut my mouth. I knew the situation was too tense to argue Coke versus pop or even soda.
“Look. You're really borderline here,” she said with a sigh. “Lucky for you that your fifteen years of residence goes a long way with Willie and Rick, so it all comes down to this last question.”
“I'm ready,” I said as I leaned forward.
“Do you accept Ted Cruz as your personal and Texan senator?”
I guess I will never truly be a Texan.
And as a final insult, apparently I can't even write like a Texan:
Editor’s note: The correct punctuation of the contraction is y’all, not ya’ll, and Dr Pepper, a Texas-born elixir, has no period.