Thursday, September 30, 2004

Flight of the Crazytigerrabbitman (Part II)

Dallas / Ft. Worth International Airport; Gate E7 ~ Dallas, TX


Here in the airport lobby, I finally have the first opportunity I’ve had to actually breathe, relax my colon, and attempt to process all that I have absorbed over the last seven days of vacationing here in Texas. And by “absorbing”, I mostly mean the consuming of animal flesh.

For my entire stay here in the traditional Homeland of Barbeque, I have eaten more raw carcass than Jeffery Dalhmer on a high-protein Atkins Diet. My colon is screaming out from all the pure barbequed saucy animal parts that I have consumed here like a ravenous Velociraptor after a months stay at a Jenny Craig Weight Loss Ranch. Even my usual doses of precious Immodium (the consummate travel’s most valued commodity) were no match for the bowel busting BBQ platters served throughout the Lone Star State. Shit, Hell hath no fury on an unsuspecting and ill-prepared tourists bowel like the ‘Two Meat Combo’ platter at ‘Doc’s Barbeque’ * that features tender** cuts of steak and ribs covered in a rich gravy so thick that you could drown a prairie dog. Right now, I feel like a walking, breathing Chernobyl-sized disaster waiting to happen. Each time I sank my teeth into anything I expected to hear either moo’s or oink’s of protest from whatever platter of delectable corpse bits that I happened to be consuming at the time.

It must also be noted for interest’s sake that eating out anywhere in Texas, even Fine Dining and Cuisine, is on par with going out to dinner at the local High School cafeteria; sneeze guards and plastic trays as far as the eye can see! Texas has popularized the buffet style of food preparation and service with a vengeance. I’m not sure if this is a throwback to the good ‘ol Western Frontier days of eating out the back of a Chuck Wagon out on the range, being slung with dirty ladlefuls from a grizzly, cackling, nicotine-whiskered coot named Curly, or whether is just better lends itself to the natural Texan tendency to “mosie” their way through life.

The natural reaction I have upon hearing my plastic tray sliding over the metal runners on the buffet service counter is that of playing Euchre with my homeroom buddies between my Biology and Algebra classes. All that completes the flashback is some sausage-legged old woman in a hairnet spooning macaroni & cheese onto my sterilized cafeteria plate and hoping to catch a glimpse of Olga Furmunchen’s thighs as she bent over to free her Diet Tab from the vending machine across the room.

On the plus side, Texas has adopted the fantastic concept of providing a whole roll of paper towel right at the table for your immediate convenience. I not only LOVE this concept of blue-collar dining etiquette, but I am incorporating this easy, lip-smacking, greasy-finger dabbing delight into my normal everyday dining routines. In fact, I am considering expanding on this idea by hiring a migrant worker to simply follow me around with his two index fingers shoved inside the two ends of a cardboard roll of paper towel and to provide me an instant means of wiping sauce, juice, grease, drool, blood, semen, etc., off my fingers and face in a second if need be. No more hunting around desperately for a cloth or another useless paper napkin ***. That is a convenience that I can justify the senseless and careless rape of Mother Nature’s precious rainforests for. “Chop them fuckers down, Daddy has sticky fingers!”

(10:35AM ~ Flight 2430)

If the DC-9 that I flew down on looked like something manufactured by ‘Fisher Price’ than this teeny-weeny, impossibly small Embriar plane must surely be made by ‘Hot Wheels’. I’m sure that I’ve made bigger and more efficient airplanes on my recesses back in Grade Two. This thing can’t possibly be expected to carry us all the 1637 km to Cleveland all on it’s own! Can it?


Just prior to take-off, my stewardess has come around to ask, with a serious note I might add, to ask whether I would be willing to assist in the event of an emergency. WTF? Apart from momentarily feeling all ‘Die Hard 2’, what kind of rinky-dink airline would ever ask ME to help out in the event of an extreme crisis? Do I have Chuck Norris written on my seating assignment or something? “Call the Delta Force sweetheart, I ain’t no hero!”

Honestly, what kind of assistance could they possibly hope to afford out of me? Perhaps stick my arm out the window and flap if the air currents aren’t strong enough to carry this metallic sparrow all the way to Cleveland? Or, perhaps she is expecting me to slip on a ruffley apron, man the beverage cart, and serve the complimentary cocktails to the other passengers on the flight?

Of what possible assistance could I be? Maybe she is alluding to the fact that I am one of the passengers sitting by one of the Emergency Exits ****. Of course, it is already a given that there will be no concern since there will be an automatic Terry-sized hole in the side of the cabin if ever I were to so much as sniff out a whiff of danger on this flight. And with all the Texas barbeque that I’ve ingested over the past seven days, inevitably there will be enough room in that Terry-sized hole to easily accommodate a whole stampede of circus elephants with room to spare!

But hey, did I really request or need any of this extra responsibility with my given seat location? Do I really want the burden of the other passengers safety, or at least with their swift and expedient exit from the doomed aircraft? That’s a fuck of a lot of expectations for someone traveling in Coach class isn’t it? What if I can’t open the Emergency Exit in a crisis situation? I don’t want to die feeling like an underachiever. 11.2 kg, that sounds pretty heavy! I can see my tombstone epithet now:


Not exactly a flattering way to be remembered, is it?

But what am I supposed to say exactly? NO? Am I supposed to turn down this requested responsibility and still be able to maintain my kind, manly, take-charge kind of persona from the other passengers? I doubt it. Fuck, I’d be labeled as a traitor and hung out from the tail wing to be dragged all the way to Cleveland if I ever turned down the stewardess’s request.

So I reluctantly accept. Otherwise, I’d be the next Joe Asshole character on the next broadcast of ‘Airline’ on the Learning Channel. Even though I feel that I have little recourse but to accept this shackle of responsibility and give in to her request, I am still demanding some sort of badge to wear, like ‘Official Emergency Exit Operator’, ‘Have a Nice Jump’, ‘Hi! Ask Me About Our Emergency Specials!”, or something to that effect. Something that properly dignifies someone in my lofty position among the other passengers of Flight 2340 as “First Out the Door” in the case of emergency.

I’ll tell you one thing for certain however, if Mohammed El Higi-Hagi sitting across from me all of a sudden jumps up with a ceramic knife and tries to claim this aircraft in the name of ‘Billy Bob’s Crusade for Homeland Jihad’, they will find this newly appointed Airline Marshall balled up in the fetal position and weeping for his mommy in the overhead compartment.

(11:30AM ~ Somewhere over Arkansas)

I have several noteworthy observations from my week’s stay in Texas now that I am beginning to retrain my focus back from imagining the unfolding plotlines of numerous Steven Segal movies inside my head. Most obvious, is that everything in Texas is indeed bigger. It’s not just the pseudo-State motto and popular t-shirt emblem; everything here is in fact Biggie-sized! From the automobiles driving on the road to the plastic soft-drink straws that give you the impression that you are instead wielding a spear while hunting for whales among the iceberg cubes floating in your lake-sized glass of Yoo-hoo. I feel like I have entered the ‘Valley of Green Giant’ and I can just hear him “Ho, Ho, Hoing!” his green ass off across the Texan countryside. Big is definitely better here in Texas.

The vehicles in Texas are particularly noticeable. Texan trucks must be the biggest, most obnoxious automobiles in the world. Twice as large as a boxcar and so bad for the environment that you can actually watch the sky falling in your rearview mirror *****. There are personal trucks here so big that when they signal a right turn or tap their brakes a few times in front of you, it’s like staring into the huge musical checkerboard on the alien Mother Ship in ‘Close Encounter of the Third Kind’. I don’t know whether to go around and pass somebody or to attempt ‘First Contact’. “Duh-dah dah-duh daaaah. Yeah, yeah, yeah…A, B, G, G, D to you too, mutherfucker. NOW CHANGE LANES ALREADY!”

It could be made into a best selling t-shirt slogan: “I Went to Texas and All I Brought Back Was Road Rage”. There are over 77,133 km of Interstate Highway (40, 985 km of which are paved farm and ranch roads) and every muthafuckin’ inch of it is paved with contempt, colorful creative insults ******, and grid-lock. Navigating through this elaborate highway system is like working an applecart through a china shop; constantly jockeying for position in the choked lanes and thruways. Turnpikes and thruways all intermingle like concrete octopi coiled up and passively sitting on the horizon. It may also seem that every possible route is constantly under construction. By the sheer number of traffic cones alone, I could make the assumption that the ‘Neon Orange Traffic Cone’ is the official State Flower of Texas instead of the Blue Bonnet.

It seemed like we were forever being funneled down to single lanes of traffic along with every other monster truck, tank, and rickety pickup on the road (of which is it curious to note, that almost every vehicle in Texas is either towing a lawn mower or another piece of heavy yard care equipment behind it, or has a brightly-colored drink cooler bungeed to the side like a malignant tumor).

Despite the fact that important ordinary road signs and directional advertisements are left more to the subliminal in their overall effectiveness and usefulness, Texas also loves it’s big billboards that line the freeways. Advertising as either “Texas Proud”, or “Texas Tough’, billboards advertise just about the widest assortment of local goods and services available anywhere. From ‘Tons More Girls at Stacey’s Massage’ to the ‘New Breakfast Biscuits at Whataburger’ to ‘Charlies Indoor Shooting Range & Discount Liquor’ (North Main, Ft. Worth); there is no limit to the elephantine commodities available to satisfy your every demand. By the time you’ve reached your destination you’ve read the equivalent of Mellville’s ‘Moby-fucking-Dick’ in billboard advertisements!

It’s no wonder that with all this generated anxiety and frustration that people drive in Texas as if it were a matter of life or death, which by all accounts in the traffic updates on the local news channels, it may just fucking well be! Road Rage is almost as popular a thought-of sport as the Rodeo, NASCAR or the Pig Races. Even the aforementioned ‘Doc’s Barbeque’ in Hickory Creek, TX proudly offers a “Defensive Driving Free Dinner” on it’s outside billboard. Traveling the highways in Texas during rush hour traffic is like going for a leisurely drive through post-apocalyptic Australia with mutant drivers bearing down on you and wielding crossbows and maces, and with tongues lolling out the sides of their mouths like crazed dogs. Heaven help you if you should ever accidentally cut off Gramma Ethel in the passing lane without signaling, and in retaliation she draws out her pistol and begins to shoot out the tires of your car! Hell, I wouldn’t feel safe driving in Texas unless I was behind the wheel of a Panzer tank.

Also on the large sized scale in Texas are the enormous sprawling buildings laid out over the vast flat countryside. Such immense sounding merchandising Mecca’s as ‘Boot City’, ‘RV Town’, or ‘BBQ World’ sound like places where you would have to book reservations in advance through a Travel Agency before going shopping. It may take you hours to work your way down the buffet counter at ‘Pawnee Pete’s BBQ & Stag Shop’, but you’ll never have to feel the weight of your man boobs as you struggle reluctantly up flights of stairs.

(12:25PM ~ Somewhere over Tennessee)

Great. More fucking Spinzels.


What is this whole “Texas Pride” thing about anyways? Why are they so proud and hoity-toity about boasting about being united under the ‘Six Flags Over Texas’? to me, that means that during the course of history they have had their asses kicked, defeated, and occupied by the flags of six different invading political entities; Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, the Confederacy, and the United States. Wait, even the MEXICANS kicked their ass on the battlefield at some point? That’s hardly something to boast about. Particularly by people who commonly mount gun racks in the rear windows of their giant Subaru’s. I wouldn’t be bragging too loudly if I were to have my ass waxed by Senor Ricardo Jose Hernandez Rodriguez Alverez Ramirez Jr., wearing a sombrero, and riding around on a burro waving a basic flintlock rifle. I’d say the State of Texas should be considering more apt slogans such as those like “Nashville Pussy”, or along those guidelines anyways.

Cleveland Municipal Airport; Gate D17 ~ Cleveland, OH


A deboarding later and I am an actual participant of a reality-based game of Airport Bingo as I scamper through the endless airport concourses that stretch out like Dutch Greenhouses looking for Gate D17. I may not get a piece of cheese when I arrive at my destination, but at least I get the evil satisfaction of leading at least two dozen other lost travelers from Flight 2340 through the most roundabout abstract route to the next departure Gate as possible; making sure to hit all the popular Terminal hot spots, like the ‘Pizza Hut’ and ‘Kookie’s Airport Lounge’ (hey, I wonder if he ever found his comb?).

It is kind of fun to walk in airports with all those moving walkways between terminals and concourses. It’s like you can speed walk at light speed past the slow, the old, the encumbered, as well as away from the other lost tailing passengers inevitably following you. “Set a course for Gate D17 in the Cleveland System. Punch it, Chewie!”

I was hopin to see Drew Carey hocking Buzz Beers, or at least Randy Newman singing about burning rivers or something at Kookie’s; but lo and behold, it was not meant to be.

The complete lack of Japanese passengers has me thinking that either Cleveland is not up to International Airport Cultural Standards, or the people of Cleveland secretly love real authentic Asian cuisine (if you catch my drift). Remind me not to try the ‘Moo Goo Pork Balls w/ Cream of Sum Yung Guy’ when I’m next back here in Soylent Green, Ohio.

(3:30PM ~ Flight 5540)

So, while waiting in line at Kookie’s to purchase a package of ‘Pizza Flavored Combo’s’, I got to thinking about the people of Texas from which I had a prior fascination. From the colorful conversations I’ve had previously with Texan’s at work, I had pre-determined a breed of individual who at first will greet you with all the down home warmth of Grandma’s apple pie warming on the window sill; but if provoked, will instantly transform into the kind of person who wears a mask stitched together from human faces, has a chicken hanging in a birdcage in his living room, and carves up his evening ham roast with a chainsaw. More directly, I was expecting a cross between Yosemite Sam and Boomhauer from ‘King of the Hill’.

Apart from the Interstates and highways, Texans are generally never in a hurry to do anything or get anywhere; they “mosie”. They are quite content to politely stand in line for hours for their turn to pour a drink from the soda fountain in the buffet line. You could spend your entire Golden Years waiting in line at the local Goojar Mart waiting to buy a six-pack of light beer and a Butterfinger. By the time you have been checked out by the cashier, your Twinkie will have expired, and the centerfold from your new edition of Hustler Magazine will have aged, retired, and will be listing “Bingo, high-fiber food, Botox treatments, and playing with my grandchildren” on her list of ‘Turn On’s’. Father Time himself would have gotten impatient waiting in line for his ‘Wine & Live Bait’.

In this way, Texans are very similar to the abundantly popular Texas Longhorns that graze the ranchlands. The Official State Animal of Texas is the Armadillo; a slow, awkward, tough rodent that is only migrating north at a breakneck rate of 6 miles per year. Sometimes, it’s like talking to a borderline autistic child waiting for his ‘Breakfast Biscuits at Whataburger’. And I’m sure the cashiers themselves are about as quick and able as a tranquilized possom in performing their duties. I’d go completely fucking bald from ripping out my hair waiting impatiently in line within the first month of living in Texas.

Likewise, they are always “fixin” to do something. To listen to a native Texan, you’d think that absolutely everything in this state was broken or at least in dire need of repair. Are they trying to imply that they are still meaning to do something but just haven’t managed to get off their fat asses yet to do it? “Fixin’? It ain’t broken. So quit thinking about it and DO IT, mutherfucker!”

(3:52PM ~ Somewhere over Pennsylvania)

More fucking Spinzels. On the trip to Hell they will be handing packets of Spinzels.


Texas is a complete cultural oddity all unto it’s own, with events, totems, and traditions that defy reasonable explanation. For example, in Sweetwater they hold the annual ‘Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup’, which festivities include: a parade,a dance, a Ms. Snake Charmer Queen Contest, a rattlesnake eating contest, snake-handling demonstrations, and a 10k run. Annually, they can roundup an excess of over 7,000 Diamondback Rattlesnakes from the surrounding area. WTF? A 10k run? Fuck, no shit Billy Bob! Surround me with 7,000 pissed off diamondback rattlesnakes and I'm suddenly fixin' to set a new land speed record in that bad boy! What kind of tourist spends a vacation wandering around a strange countryside in their Birkenstocks and clam-diggers looking for just the opportunity to poke at a pissed off venous reptile with a stick? Not this one!

Likewise, in the small town of Olney, there is an annual ‘One Arm Dove Hunt’ in September. An event of International repute, the hunt attracts arm and hand amputees for two days of fun and fellowship and, of course, shooting doves out of the sky. Pardon? Where else but in Texas can you celebrate over your tragic handicap by participating in a competitive slaughter of the very symbols of World Peace? I bet that’s a real moot point for Greenpeace, as well as for the doves!

The coastal town of Clute (wasn’t that a Jane Fonda movie?) celebrates the ‘Great Texas Mosquito Festival’ annually in July. This particular Texan foray into the bizarre, was intended as a special tribute to the town’s festival mascot ‘Willie Manchew’ (get it?), the World’s Largest Mosquito? WTF? Why would you even bother to pay homage to one of the world’s most annoying and insignificant of God’s creatures? Not to mention the grossest, the ugliest, and especially the fucking LARGEST of them? They probably offer up willing virgins for Willie to suck on as part of some sacrificial ritual. How disturbing is that?

In typical “Texas Pride” fashion, there is even a State Seashell; the Lightning Welk. It is interesting to note here that the Lightning Welk is unique in that its aperature is on the left side of its shell instead of the usual right. Uh-oh! I’m surprised that the reigning Ring-wing Democrat Powers-that-be haven’t lobbied to have this Communist, non-conforming Liberal seashell ousted and replaced with another seashell a little more normal conservative to more correctly reflect the established ideals of the Conservative majority of Texas. Look for the new “War Against Seashells” political acumen to emerge as the hot topic in the next election campaign coverage on television.

Lastly (but not leastly), the official State Flying Mammal is the ‘Mexican Free-tailed Bat’. How many fucking flying mammals do they have soaring above the Texan countryside that policy demands they name an “Official State Flying Mammal”? Besides flying squirrels, I’m hard pressed to even think of another flying mammal anywhere in the world. But here in Texas, they must have scads of them. I bet the flying squirrel is pretty sour about the whole raw deal since, in essence, he’s lost out on this particular claim to fame to such a homely and loathsome creature; a Mexican bat.

Then again, you’ve never heard of ‘Squirrelman’ have you?


On either side of the hanging Deli menu board at ‘Colters BBQ’ in Corinth, there are two signs. One sign brazenly announces that “The 2nd Ammendment is Homeland Security”, while the sign on the other side of the menu board reads “Life Is Too short to Live in Dallas”. Now at the time, I would have loved to have openly engaged the bored looking Latino cashier about the intended ramifications behind such a dual political statement, but then I thought that I might just end up as a choice of meat cut on the Deli buffet menu. So I didn’t, and I mosied my way off to my table to enjoy my ‘Po Boy Sandwich’ and burn through an entire acre worth of Brazilian rainforest in paper towel to clean my fingers.

What I like to think, is that the seemingly polar opposite menu signs, were instead attempting to suggest that Texans are a very forthright, straight-shooting, ornery breed of hardened, boot-wearing, shit-kicking motherfuckers; but who can still maintain an open and free-minded humor in themselves too. Or at least I hope so, otherwise when I get around to publishing this I’m sure to be a marked man. Cue the ‘Bon Jovi’:

“I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride
I’m wanted dead or alive
Wanted dead or alive”

Buffalo Niagara Airport; Baggage Claim ~ Buffalo, NY


My fold-up table has been put back up into the seat ahead of me, my seat has been returned to its original upright position, my bags have been collected, and the Immodium in my system is beginning to loose its stranglehold on my sphincter muscle. Another journey, another adventure complete.

And like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of my life. Was Texas everything I thought it was going to be? No, of course not. But then again, is anything ever how you exactly imagined it? The bottom line is this: I journied into the gaping maw of Bush County, and I did infact manage to get out alive. And not only "well", but with my colon and good spirits to boot!

“Home, James!”

* And which also proudly boasts the “Largest Pig in Texas!”

** I suspect that Texans have in fact, grown beyond keeping their livestock in small cages and leg irons, but instead entomb their animals in full body casts at birth until the time of their slaughter, in order to properly ensure only the juiciest, tenderest morsels of meat.

*** Which in most cases at a Texan Barbeque would be about as efficient as attempting to dam up the Amazon River with popcycle sticks.

**** An observation that I later confirmed after paying attention to the pre-flight Synchronized Audio-Mime Act before take-off.

***** Yes, I stole this from Bill Maher.

****** Among my personal favorites: Fuckstink, Douchetool, Cocksmoke, Assmunch, Shitcock, and Cumfuck. Fucktard is currently only just waiting to be voted on and published into the newest edition of the ‘Texas State Dictionary’ by elected State Magistrates in Austin.


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