All the anguish, tumult, and confusion of a year like 2020 can’t fit into a single advice column. Thus, the Texanist spent the last twelve months dispensing directions on pandemic-related and pandemic-tangential issues—in between addressing Texcentric brainteasers that ranged from overseas tamales all the way to cheerleader’s uniforms. Finally—after a year that brought us such terrifying questions as What Would the World Be Like if Willie Nelson Had Never Happened?—it’s time to turn our attention to 2021. We took this opportunity to look back on all the Fine Advice the Texanist has ever shared, and gather up a few bits that will help us tackle 2021. Consider this the official Texanist plan for taking on the new year.
Eat your New Year’s Day peas—any peas will do.
“However it actually got started, one thing is certain: all partakers are united in the belief that the ingestion of these ignoble legumes on the first day of a new year will bring about good luck and prosperity during the subsequent twelve months. Whether or not the same good luck can be conjured by eating delicious East Texas purple hull peas in lieu of black-eyed peas is a subject sorely lacking in scientific study. Perhaps an experiment is in order. You are hereby enlisted to give [these] alternative peas a try this New Year’s Day and then report back to the Texanist on the afternoon of December 31 next year to let him know how [the year] went for you. The Texanist is no soothsayer, but he predicts that any difference in the lucky effects of the two peas will be negligible.” Do Purple Hull Peas Count for Good Luck, Like Black-eyed Peas, if Frozen and Then Cooked and Eaten on New Year’s Day?
Accept that New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken.
“New Year’s resolutions are a nice idea, but in actual practice they rarely have the desired effect, which is usually a grand change in behavior. Like you, the Texanist has never, as best he can recall, completed one to his or anybody else’s satisfaction.” Should I Go Vegetarian for the New Year?
Never take Willie for granted.
“It’s a sad fact (one the Texanist doesn’t care to dwell on), but the day will eventually come when Willie won’t be around. Thankfully, the many marks he’s left on the world, and especially on Texas, are indelible. Over more than six decades he has bridged our cultural and temporal divides, melding our provincial past with our increasingly urban and suburban present. He has shown us what a true independent spirit looks like and has embodied the ideal of a stand-up Texan. Plain and simple, a world without him would be a very different and lesser place indeed. Thankfully, like the beautiful music (and clouds of pot smoke) that billowed out into the warm Hill Country night from Floore’s all those years ago, Willie will waft through the sweet Texas ether for eternity and probably beyond. It’s just the way it is.” What Would the World Be Like if Willie Nelson Had Never Happened?
Don’t forget to look on the bright side, especially during this pandemic.
“Yet, despite all the darkness of the day, life’s proverbial street still has its proverbial sunny side. This is where you’ll find the Texanist, and he invites you to join him there—at a safe distance, of course. There is, after all, abundant reason to not lose hope or a sense of gratitude. Despite the health crisis and the economic pandemonium and the actions of the panic-stricken toilet paper hoarders (the Texanist still doesn’t understand what’s going on there), the scamming opportunists, the wacky protesters, and the bossy know-it-alls on social media and in the online neighborhood groups, the reasons to maintain an optimistic outlook are plentiful.” Will the Pandemic Let Texas Be Texas Once Again?
There’s no excuse to be bored in Texas.
Whether you’re quarantining or just looking for new ways to stay entertained, the Texanist has a few ideas for whiling away the hours: “Bloody knuckles; slapsies; jacks; juggling; whistling; whittling; marbles; checkers; Chinese checkers; chess; tic-tac-toe; tug-of-war; pat-a-cake; leapfrog; kick the can; shoot the can (with a BB gun); poke a hole in the can with a car key, open the can, and rapidly consume the can’s contents; mercy; rock, paper, scissors; fort making; fart making; flashlight wars; short-sheeting mom’s bed; horseshoes; washers; William “Don’t” Tell (Mom About This); 42; Texas moon; Texas Hold ’Em; hoop rolling; yo-yo; mumblety-peg; stab between the fingers; knife throwing; axe throwing; arm wrestling; leg wrestling; backyard wrasslin’; death-defying Evel Knievel impersonations involving a plywood ramp, about a dozen paint cans, and an old banana-seated Schwinn; backyard hole digging, a la Paul Newman’s prison yard digging in the classic 1967 film Cool Hand Luke; roller-skating; double Dutch; grapevine smoking on the banks of a creek; pitching pennies; card pitch, a simple time-killing game that involves tossing playing cards into a hat from about six feet away; and mesquite clearing. And fishing. And frog gigging.” What Old Texas Games Can I Get My Screen-Addicted Kids to Play?
Use your damn head, and think of others besides your own damn self.
“Excuse the Texanist for a moment, while he offers an apparently much-needed public service announcement. [ambient humming sound of a large bullhorn being turned on, amplified throat-clearing, loud feedback]
COME ON, Y’ALL! PUT ON YOUR DAMN MASKS WHEN YOU’RE OUT IN PUBLIC!
AND KEEP YOUR DAMN DISTANCE FROM PEOPLE OUTSIDE YOUR CIRCLE!
AND WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS!
AND, AS THE TEXANIST’S DAD USED TO IMPLORE EVERY TIME A YOUNG TEXANIST WALKED OUT THE FRONT DOOR, USE YOUR HEAD!” Is It a Good Idea to Visit West Texas in the Middle of a Pandemic?
Do unto Texans as you would have them do unto you.
“When you’ve got 29,087,070 notoriously individualistic people of widely disparate ages, income levels, ethnic backgrounds, and boot-toe stylings living amid more than 250,000 square miles of mega-cities, charming small towns, and anodyne suburbs, it is pretty much guaranteed that you’re going to find a few disagreements between them. And one reason we all manage to live in relative comity is because Texans of all stripes—not including those who withhold their names and locations [when writing to the Texanist], apparently—are mostly content to live and let live.” How Can You Be a Texan If You’re a Liberal?