Opening Day 2009…Texas Style
Opening day in the Texas League this year was, fittingly, in Texas. It was my first opening day in Texas in my career. Those of you die-hards will remember last year I was in Wilmington, DE for the first few weeks (though I didn’t play) and then moved to Double-A, so I missed the opener here last year.
This opener was one to forget. At least I assume it was, because I have forgotten. I think the paper said we lost 7-2 and I didn’t pitch.
I woke up this morning and was deciding what I could blog about. After all, it is the first game of the year; I have to write something. Nothing was coming to mind. I walked down to the front desk to try out the breakfast. I was at a loss for ideas until I wobbled over to the waffle machine in a semi-conscious daze. I opened up the iron device to find a pattern in the skillet shaped perfectly into the state of Texas. Disgustedly and desperately, I sidled over to the other waffle-maker only to find the same fate. I could have my waffle shaped like any state I wanted, as long as that state was Texas. Now, I have made pancakes that have resembled other states. I mean it’s an average morning to eat the Hawaiian chain. Maybe you grew up with a square griddle and had debates about whether your pancake tasted like Wyoming or Colorado. And who hasn’t had a South Carolina pancake when the batter runs into another Georgia pancake and you have to separate the two? Frankly, in my early days of flipping, I undoubtedly had a few West Virginia pancakes when the batter was still too runny to flip.
On a waffle?
When a person refers to his- or herself in the third person, we call it arrogant. When a state does it, we call it:
Occasionally you will read billboards that say “Wisconsin’s Largest Car Dealership” or “Alabama’s choice for morning coffee” depending on which of the “other 49” you are in. I have yet to see a billboard in Texas that does not include the word “Texas.” Whether you are looking for apparel, seafood, bail bonds, or dentures, you are going to have to choose Texas’ own, or Texas’ favorite, or Texas-style, or Texas’ #1. If you can spell T-e-x-a-s and know what a superlative is, you have just got your Marketing degree from UT.
If you fell from a helicopter and landed in an unknown state and were too stubborn to come right out and ask, 49 times out of 50, it would take you a while to pick out where you were. In Texas, you’d know in 5 seconds. It would tell you so essentially immediately. Whether it’s the lone stars on the pillars on the highway or the billboards or the state flag every 15 feet, Texas self promotes more than TO.
As I ate the gulf coast of my delectable waffle, I decided not to fight Texas and just go with it. Get in the spirit. Pride is a good thing, right? Maybe I was just jealous. What has Illinois ever done for me? How many t-shirts and $3.50 hats have I seen at a truck stop with Illinois on it? By the panhandle, the blood was starting to flow and I was ready to hold two undeniable and overused truths to be self-evident:
- Everything is bigger in Texas
- Don’t mess with Texas
If you aren’t aware of these truths, you have never been to Texas nor met anyone from Texas (or perhaps you have met someone from Texas, you just couldn’t understand their twang). If you fall in any of these categories, I will let you, at the end of this blog, be the judge as to whether or not you are missing out. In the meantime, I will expunge on these words to live by.
Everything is bigger in Texas
My Texas waffle was inscribed inside the circular machine and was noticeably smaller. In fact, prior to discovering the fate of my waffle shape, I noted how small the Dixie cups were that you pour the batter in. After staying in approximately 70 Quality Inns (or other establishments of that…um…quality) per year, I’m pretty accustomed to how much batter is supposed to go into one of these waffle machines. My breakfast portion was noticeably smaller. In Texas. Liars.
Don’t mess with Texas
The more I read this “truth” the less I understand it. “Don’t mess with Chuck Norris,” I get. “Don’t mess with that lion cub’s mother,” I get. But a state? If you dropped anyone, even a native Texan off in the middle of nowhere in New Mexico and had him walk across the border to Texas, I would wager he will not know precisely at which point he can no longer “mess” with the New Mexico ground he is standing on and rather pay homage to the Texas dirt. I mean, sure, geographical borders can be dangerous, don’t get me wrong. I’d understand “Don’t mess with North Korea” as possible words to live by. But “Don’t mess with Texas”? Any “messing” of the land within the dreidle-shaped borders of this state will be smote by . . . no income tax? The horror.
So, Texas. You took opening day and turned it into a long bus ride the night before followed by scorching 95-degree temps (in early April!) for practice, followed by a loss, followed by a shrunken breakfast portion on a morning I had a full-sized appetite. Here’s advice to you: “Make everything bigger in Texas if you’re going to make this claim…especially my waffle” AND “Don’t mess with my breakfast.”