Texas Part I: “Shrimporee”, Satan-Killing Sticks, and Throwing Beer Bottles at Stop Signs

So you’re going to Texas, eh? That’s fine by me. I know while I was there, I was all a hankerin’ for a swell time, sweller even than the buffalos get when they get a big ol’ lick of that there salt lick, ya follow me pardner? Y’see, goin’ down to the coast, likes them thar in Corpus Christi, gives ya a long, long time ta relax, to take yer mind off of yer problems. Just gets ya a big ol’ American pickup truck, drive out to the beach and relax. Then ya can partake of an ol’ time shrimp roastin’ before you get back on the trail to drive them cattle up down near ta’ ol’ Johnson’s barn and get back to cursing at furriner’s and people drivin’ Japanese cars before sundown. Yee-Haw!

All right, sorry. It’s just that, having been in a state like Texas, with humidity so high that you can see the individual droplets of water in the air, I have taken to speaking in Traditional Southern Drawl, and thinking Traditional Redneck Thoughts. You know the drawl I’m talking about. It’s the kind of drawl you get after having a stroke that paralyzes the entire left side of your body. It’s the kind of drawl you get because it’s so damn hot that you would rather die than use the requisite energy to reach for the suntan lotion. It’s the kind of drawl Texans use for obvious reasons.

So anyway, sorry if I sound a little odd in this post, because I’ve spent an entire week in Texas, where it is hot and humid rather than hot and bone-achingly dry. As a New Mexican, being in Texas this long was also difficult because I kept on wanting to refer to the state as Dumbfuckistan. This is not necessarily because I think all Texans are dumbfucks, but because whenever Texas does something really cool and fun, like adding rest stops on their highways so my bladder doesn’t explode, I, as a New Mexican, must insult and belittle them to make up the difference. For example, here’s a sample conversation I once had with my mother:

My Mother: Wow, it’s real nice that they have rest stops every few miles here, huh?

Me: Yeah, but that’s only because all Texans are full of shit and they have to shit every few hours to stop from exploding from all the shit that is pent up in their bodies.

You can only imagine our stories about San Antonio.

So anyway, on my trip to Texas I saw many things of beauty, such as rest stops; places to eat, like a truckstop where I got sick off of an apparently nuclear radiation-emitting chicken-fried steak (the waitress felt the effects especially bad); and really hot places, like Ingleside, Texas, where I went to see my cousin Jamie escape from the penitentiary known as small town high-school.

I noticed some important differences between Ingleside, Texas and Albuquerque, New Mexico. For example:

  • In Albuquerque, they have a great many poisonous centipedes that make you wish they were dead, and a few cockroaches that people don’t really care about. In Ingleside, they have a few centipedes nobody cares about, and a great many cockroaches that make people react as if Satan created cockroaches to interfere with the mechanisms of the universe as we know it.
  • In Albuquerque, the dry air and hot sun makes your skin burn and peel during the summer. In Texas you are simply covered with a thin disgusting film of saltwater and God alone knows what else year round.
  • In Albuquerque, there are mountains and balloons: In Texas they have water and shrimp.
  • Did I mention they have shrimp?

As you might expect, I went to Shrimporee, one of the largest and most important shrimp celebrations in America. Let’s be honest, this is the most important thing that happened to me on the entire trip. Jamie’s graduation, for example, went fine, but it wasn’t particularly unique, except that Jamie chose to wear humongous white boots that made her instantly noticeable by anybody watching the graduation that day, including aliens in space. And I did in fact go fishing, and did not die in the attempt in spite of my companions having caught fish that were large enough to be used as weapons. But shrimp, well, they’re on a different level of concern for me. Shrimp gumbo, shrimp scampi, fried shrimp; it didn’t matter to me. I just wanted something, well, shrimply amazing.

And so we traveled to Shrimporee. Shrimporee is exemplary of everything that is Texan. It is filled with many important Texan themes. Among the many I noticed:

Of course, these were not the prevailing themes. The prevailing theme was quite clearly shrimp, oftentimes tied to the other important themes. For example, they had a massive papier-mache shrimp attached to the back of a Ford F-250 Super-Duper-Duty 2500 SuperCrewMax Doublecab Deluxe.

More commonly, however, they simply had fried shrimp to eat, priced a dollar per piece, which I was told was overpriced.

I wound up getting lost at Shrimporee, in spite of the fact that the festival is only held on maybe a few dozen acres of land. I would make some kind of snide comment, such as that it was because all the fat Texan asses at the festival made it difficult to find my integral family units, but I will instead contribute it primarily to the fact that I was taking pictures of the rides so that I could make fun of them later in this post.

The people at this event purchased many items, but judging by the most common item on the shuttle we took to get home, I’d say the most popular item at Shrimporee was wooden sticks for $5 at Dick’s Stick Shoppe. Apparently, these were simply wooden rods, the proceeds of which went to a local church which said the sticks would help people walk with Jesus. I do in fact know that they would probably help kill Satan, but this is beside the point. Texans were a’purchasin’ sticks by the bushel and I couldn’t blame them. Hey, it’s Jesus, people. He’s awesome, and generally doesn’t make fun of small town festivals like I have throughout this post.

Don’t get me wrong, Shrimporee was cool, in the same way that the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is cool, and I thank the respective family members that took time out of their busy days roasting in seaside Texas’s sweltering heat to take me to the festival of shrimp. You go to the festival, eat the shrimp, check out the cars and such, ride the rides, and go home, which is very similar to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta except that at the balloon fiesta you go out at the crack of dawn without sleep and watch giant bags of hot gas rise into the air for entertainment purposes, whereas at Shrimporee you eat overpriced shrimp without tartar sauce. As one guy said:

“Really? No shrimp sauce?”

I think that summarizes Shrimporee. Go, check out the giant papier-mache shrimp, eat shrimp, ride rides, throw up, complain about the lack of tartar sauce, go home, set your house on fire, etcetera. It’s a great festival, that was the height of my trip to Texas, until I got to go to the beach to see sea-poo, jellyfish, pooping seagulls and sexy ladies with cute bellies. But that’s for another post, one that will probably be written by next week.