by John Gosselink
my presumptuous hat on this week. It's a really good looking hat,
with a big ostrich feather sticking out the top and beer bottle caps
bent around the rim, and it even makes my head look smaller, which
is hard to do. I still can't figure out why this hat didn't make me
popular in high school.
And it's a good thing I look sharp because this presumptuousness might
get me in trouble. I'm walking on what some people consider sacrosanct
ground, the mottos, clichés, and pledges of our fair state. Not to
say that they're bad, in questionable taste, of undesirable repute,
or served us poorly in the past, it's just the great state of Texas
can do better.
start with our official state motto, "The Lone Star State." Do we
really want the defining aspect of our state to be a design feature
of our flag? That's kind of trivial, isn't it? It's like having your
life philosophy being "My favorite color is yellow." Other states
have figured this out, thus California's motto isn't "We have a bear
on our flag. Oooh, he's scary! RRRR-RRRR." ?
So what would Mr. Presumptuous Hat suggest for a state motto? First
of all, what not to do. If you're state suffers from massive self-esteem
issues, don't use this as a basis for your motto. Take Oklahoma for
example. It's right there on every state license plate, "Oklahoma
is O.K." Wow, you must be proud. I'd have loved to have sat in on
the chamber of commerce meeting.
"Well, if we have to have a motto, let's try to find something positive
in this good for nothing state. As a state, I would say we are pretty
mediocre in most areas, fair in some, middling in others. Yep, not
much to brag about. I guess were pretty okay if everything works out
all right. (sigh) I'm so depressed I just want to go home and suck
on an exhaust pipe. Geesh, I've really got to move across the river."
Thus, Oklahoma is O.K.
You also want a motto to make at least a little sense, something Missouri
didn't take in to consideration, the "Show Me State." What does that
mean? It sounds like the punch line of a bad farmer's daughter / traveling
salesman joke. For some reason, when I see their plates, it seems
like an accusation. "Yo, Missouri boy, what do I have to prove to
you? Hunh? You want me to show you something? Oh, I'll show you alright,
show you a lone star fist!"
See how that last threat just doesn't work as well as it could?
So I say we go with what makes us great, "Texas, the Cool Dude and
Hot Chick state." I mean, that's what we are, isn't it? 22 million
really cool dudes and incredibly hot chicks living large in the big
T-X. Except for maybe this one couple I saw at the Wal-mart, but we'll
say they're our nerdy friends we let hang out with us for laughs.
Instantly, our new state motto gives me the credibility I so longed
for in high school. That's the beauty; we're all in the cool crowd
now! Except, of course, those losers I saw at the Wal-mart.
on, we really need to nix this "everything is bigger in Texas" thing.
It's killing my diet. Sometimes I just want a regular sized sandwich,
but if you walk into a restaurant and don't get a "Texas sized" sandwich
consisting of a side of cow, wheel of cheese, and loaf of bread, the
lady looks at you like you're pathetic, or even worse, Oklahoman.
So can we be "Texas, the state of moderate portions with the occasional
splurge, though bigger in the important things, if you know what we
mean, snicker-snicker."? We can actually lose that last part. I don't
think I could say it without getting the giggles.
Then there is our State of Texas Pledge of Allegiance. Our elected
officials down the road in Austin have decreed that Texas school children
must start their day with not only the U.S. Pledge, but the Texas
one also. Seeing that I voluntarily signed on for this teaching gig
and the folks making this decision are my ultimate bosses, I faithfully
follow their directive. Just not sure why.
I can't figure out when my US pledge doesn't cover all situations.
If, say, Belize, decides to try and invade us, I'm so on the US side
it's not even funny. I'd be all, "look out Belizeans, here comes some
cool guy / hot chick American fists all over your faces."
So exactly in what situation does the Texas pledge supersede the US
If North Dakota starts looking at as funny, am I supposed to kick
some "Flickertail State" butt (there's another horrible state motto)?
If we have a water rights dispute with Louisiana, do I get to legally
shoot some Pelican Staters? (Does anyone have a cool state motto?)
Some how, I'm thinking the feds would get involved.
On the other hand, if we're going to insist on all of this lower level
pledge thing, I'm going to run with it. After we pledge to the U.S.
and Texas, I'm going to write pledges for Central Texas, Bastrop County,
Bastrop and Smithville, the street my school is on, our building,
our hall, my room, and then possibly my desk, "I pledge to honor Mr.
G's desk above all other desks and not put gum under it." Each with
accompanying and unique hand gestures.
By the time we get through all the pledges, it'll be time for me to
go to lunch. Plus, after securing all of the pledges to my desk from
the children, I'll go power mad, join the Belizeans, and try to take
over the Republic.
That'll show those mean cool kids in high school who made fun of my
© John Gosselink