Definition of the Day: Shrimporee

Shrimporee \shrim-puh-ree\ (n.): Term describing a festival where almost everything involves shrimp. Named for a very specific festival in Southeast Texas where they wheel out a humongo shrimp made out of papier-mache and use it as an excuse to hold a big carnival with rides and Christians and shit.

Example:

“Did you get the shrimp cocktail, Fred? Our shrimporee requires lots of shrimp. And possibly hookers.”

“Goddammit, Denise! You know at Shrimporee they offer nothing but fried shrimp! We’re in Texas! It’s not like in New Orleans where they know how to cook seafood!

shrimp

Update from Ingleside, Texas

I am reporting live, on location, in Ingleside, Texas, to report that nothing is going on. Seriously, nothing of importance is going on here at this moment. Apparently, a few miles away there is a gay pride festival, where they’ve got a massive bonfire going on to light the way towards acceptance of gays, but other than that, nothing.

Next week Shrimporee is coming to town. For those of you who have nothing to do with south Texas because of the jellyfish and Texans, this means that even less will be going on. I, personally, will make sure to be in Albuquerque when they wheel out the big papier-mache shrimp and start the festivities. For those that will be here, you can of course enjoy throwing beer bottles at stop signs and eating fried shrimp, which is the only type of shrimp they ever have at Shrimporee.

Yesterday Ingleside put all its high school graduates in a holding pen, where they were given all sorts of prizes, such as a camcorder for those whose parents did not bring camcorders to videotape the graduation; or an alarm clock for students who don’t wake up until noon. I’m guessing they gave out a lot of alarm clocks and very few camcorders, judging by all the testimonials I’ve heard from alumni. (Hint: They are high school students. Let’s be honest, no high school student who is not an utter freak of nature wakes up until noon.)

I will post further updates when I figure out whether the massive insects we saw scurrying about a Motel 6 we stayed at in Kerrville (about a hundred miles out of San Antonio) were in fact adorable sweet palmetto bugs or gross disgusting cockroaches. I think the difference is that palmetto bugs are capable of aerial-bombing their victims.

The (Long, Long, Long, Long) Voyage Home: My Trip to Texas Part IV or III or Something

Last time I wrote about my trip to Texas I wound up on a long tirade about Albuquerque’s gay pride parade, which apparently caused many problems in spite of the fact that I wasn’t there and am not gay. Period. I am absolutely completely not gay at all in any way. My friend Dessabrina the Pagan Lesbian Skunkette Transformers Slash Fanfiction Author is but I am not.

Glad to clear that up. Now, first I mention this only because Shrimporee, the large and incredibly obnoxious celebration of shrimp I attended in Texas, was gayer than a gay pride parade, in that it sucked far more dick than the guys at said parade, and you were more likely to get screwed over by the price of shrimp there (approximately $4.59 a piece) than you were likely to get screwed by a twink wearing spandex at the parade. Look, I’m not saying Shrimporee sucked, but I’m saying that I think my going on a fishing trip in which the only thing I caught was a sunburn was considerably more fun than Shrimporee.

(Also, to appease my mother and conscience, which never shuts its mouth: Thank you guys again for accepting my dirty New Mexico blood into Texas.)

So anyway, like I was saying last time, we left Texas as fast as we could. It was hot, it was humid, it was San Antonio, with the ugliest highway overpasses in America bar absolutely none, it was Texas. We were going so fast I didn’t even have time to take a picture of a giant cowboy boot in front of an upscale clothing store in San Antonio. You’re going to have to take my word on this. It was huge.

Like, this big. For serious.

By the time we were within a hundred miles of the New Mexico Border, my mother, my grandmother and I had decided that we were going to make it to New Mexico before nightfall. At that point, we would rather stay in Artesia–site of an oil refinery, smell of an oil refinery, proud home of the only elementary school slash nuclear fallout shelter in the United States–than wind up staying in the Lone Star State. I’m saying if there were a nuclear war that started as we were driving that night, and we were a hundred miles from the border, and the bombs fell and we were still a mile or so away, we would mutate our way across the border, just so we didn’t wind up dying on Texas soil. The locals would probably tell us about the benefits of a John McCain presidency until our ears literally fell off if we didn’t anyway.

So, long story short, we made it there, and started cheering and hooting and yelling and thanking God that we finally got out of Texas alive. First stop was Carlsbad.

(Note: There is a large hole here.

Do not drive into it, it is not a tunnel. If you try to drive into the hole, bats will attack you and National Park Rangers will scream at you and possibly beat you to death with their walkie-talkies. I know this by experience.)

There were no rooms in Carlsbad. Well, okay, there was one, but it was at a hotel called “America’s Number One Value Choice Hotel” or some other ridiculously long name, and as you hotel conoisseurs know, a hotel is only as good as the number of syllables in its name. Three syllables generally are good, such as “Best Western”, unless there is a number behind them, such as “6”. Any more than that and it’s a fleabag, any less and the owners couldn’t afford three syllables. Remember that tip next time you go on vacation, it could save your life.

It was ten o’clock, and next up was Smellville, also known as Artesia. My mother lived there only six months, and it was still enough to give her flatulence, because of the oil refinery they have there. I was weary of staying here, because this would be too easy. Also, their only hotel was named the “Artesia Inn,” which was about as nice sounding as “Cockroach Alley”.

It was eleven o’clock.

Next, we wound up in Roswell. Now, Roswell is a large city, but apparently, there was a freak influx of “tourists” (READ: ALIENS) when we went here, so there were no rooms in Roswell, either.

Let me put it this way: The next town was three hours away.

It was twelve o’clock.

At night.

At this point my mother’s screaming and threatening to crash her vehicles into other vehicles, my grandmother’s on the verge of crying, the car’s almost out of gas, I’m afraid of being anally probed by the Roswell aliens, and it is dark and the mean streets of Roswell, New Mexico are filled with seventeen-year-old deviants with tiny foreign-made cars blasting punk rap in a desperate attempt to seem kind of cool while living in possibly the most white-bread part of all of America, where the only non-corn-feds are the hippies who come here to look for aliens and get pierced in vital organs.

NO DAMMIT GOD WAS NOT PUNISHING US FOR HATING TEXAS

Yes, we found a room, although I believe my mother would not have minded a nuclear war, at this point. (Hell, we could have stayed at the Artesia Elementary School Slash Fallout Shelter.) The room was at a Holiday Inn, which I do realize has four syllables rather than three, but we figured, screw it, it’s good enough. It cost us $150 for one night. And the damndest thing is, we were happy to get it.

-THE VOYAGE HOME-

Our trip back to Albuquerque was “fun”, in that we were well rested and my mother was no longer wishing death on passing vehicles. The soundtrack was Dire Straits’ “On Every Street”, which contains such tear-jerking lyrics as

We would like to thank the following for their

Invaluable contributions:

Danny Cummings, Paul Franklin, Vince Gill, Manu Kache,

Phil Palmer, Jeff Porcano & Chris White.

Dire Straits, “Calling Elvis”, 1991. Uploaded to Youtube by the user Bosstrack. No, I don’t know what’s going on in the video either.

Oh wait, those are the liner notes. Nevermind.

On this particular trip, I never bought any wolf shirts. I did get one with imprints of bare feet on it, apparently from a man named “Seaside Sam” who has some kind of “Barefoot Adventure” I never went on. This was given to me by my uncle Kevin, who also plays the guitar really well.

(Just so you know: I do not want to know what this “Barefoot Adventure” is. Please do not enlighten me if it has anything to do with any kind of perceived “romance” with this Seaside Sam. Also: TOTALLY NOT GAY)

What I did do on this trip home, however, was fun. It included:

  • Drinking lots of water
  • Urinating a lot
  • Driving (well, okay, my mom drove and I talked about pickup trucks the whole way home)

This pretty much summarizes the rest of the trip. As with many of our trips, we concluded at a restaurant named Gardunio’s, which, in addition to not sucking, has chocolate tacos.

I can think of no better end than that.

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.

-TO BE CONTINUED-