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The Work of Jack Unruh

June 23, 2016 | Illustrations by Jack Unruh and questions submitted to The Texanist

From 2007 to when he passed away in May, Jack Unruh illustrated 105 columns by the Texanist, who, in the wake of Unruh’s death, wrote a tribute to the artist who captured his likeness for nearly ten years. Here they are, in all their colorfully bizarre glory.

2007

What is the proper answer when asked, “Where are you from?”

Illustration by Jack Unruh

I have a co-worker who dips Copenhagen and spits into a Styrofoam cup in the office. Is this appropriate?
I have a co-worker who dips Copenhagen and spits into a Styrofoam cup in the office. Is this appropriate?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

If, when you visit a friend's house, he has parked on his front yard, may you park there too?
If, when you visit a friend’s house, he has parked on his front yard, may you park there too?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

2008

How high is too high to jack up a truck?
How high is too high to jack up a truck?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

Is it really appropriate to make love in a campground?
Is it really appropriate to make love in a campground?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

the texanist tattoos
Can one have too many Texas tattoos?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

What are the guidelines for male friends helping each other apply sunscreen?
What are the guidelines for male friends helping each other apply sunscreen?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

Is it be okay for me to buy my daughter a homecoming mum and say it’s from a secret admirer?
Is it be okay for me to buy my daughter a homecoming mum and say it’s from a secret admirer?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

december 2008 the texanist
I insisted that my husband begin getting regular pedicures. He won’t. What do I do?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

2009

texanist guns
How old need a boy to receive the gift of a first gun?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

What can I do to keep varmints from further destroying my beautiful landscaping?
What can I do to keep varmints from further destroying my beautiful landscaping?
What can I do about breaking in new boots?
What can I do about breaking in new boots?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

Do I have to go with my family to take a bluebonnet photo this year?
Do I have to go with my family to take a bluebonnet photo this year?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

What’s the best cure for jellyfish stings?
What’s the best cure for jellyfish stings?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

How do I eradicate prickly pear cactus?
How do I eradicate prickly pear cactus?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist propane or charcoal
Charcoal or propane?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

Does keeping a found twelve-pack of beer constitute stealing?
Does keeping a found twelve-pack of beer constitute stealing?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

Will hiring a lawn service to do my mowing make me soft?
Will hiring a lawn service to do my mowing make me soft?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

What’s to be done with annoying neighbors?
What’s to be done with annoying neighbors?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

Is it wrong to wear your football team's jersey to church?
Is it wrong to wear your football team’s jersey to church?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

2010

Why are some men wearing pink camo?
Why are some men wearing pink camo?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

What do I do about my vegetarian son?
What do I do about my vegetarian son?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

Is it real Tex-Mex if it is served with a black bean?
Is it real Tex-Mex if it is served with a black bean?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

How do I break into ranching?
How do I break into ranching?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

Do I need to stick with the one that brung me?
Do I need to stick with the one that brung me?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

Where is the Texanist from? Here he is, age three, in his living room in Temple in 1969.
Where is the Texanist from? Here he is, age three, in his living room in Temple in 1969.

Illustration by Jack Unruh

How do I approach my brother-in-law about the way he treats wait staff?
How do I approach my brother-in-law about the way he treats wait staff?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist crops
What do I tell my son when he asks me about a crop I don’t recognize?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist neighbors
How do I confront a neighbor who let’s his dog mess in my yard?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist bullies
Is my son being bullied or is this a case of boys-being-boys?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist hi sign
What happened to the Texas hi sign?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

What is the best aisle etiquette?
What is the best aisle etiquette?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

2011

texanist university of texas
Can I have school spirit for a school I didn’t attend?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist oysters
How many Gulf oysters does it take for a person to see results from the aphrodisiac qualities that they are said to possess?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist rodeo
Is the rodeo really cruel?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist firstborn
How can I convince my wife to name our firstborn son Tex?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist bluebonnets
Can you pick a bluebonnet?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist tractor
What are the rules of the road when it comes to driving behind a tractor?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist dip
Is it reasonable for me to insist my husband stop using dip just because I suddenly can’t stand it any longer?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist quinceanera
Has the quinceanera tradition been Americanized away?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist hunting
How do I introduce my Yankee girlfriend to my dad’s trophy room?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist nude sunbathing
How do I explain topless sunbathing in Austin to my children?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist deer
If I hit a deer with my car, is it legal to harvest and eat it?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist gravel road
Is there such a thing as gravel-road etiquette, and if so, how best can I teach it to the neighbors?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

2012

texanist wedding super bowl
How do I get out of a wedding on Super Bowl Sunday?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist y'all
When can non-native Texans start saying y’all?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist discipline
Is disciplining my niece over spilt Dr Pepper okay?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist truck nuts
Are “truck nuts” appropriate?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist dancing
Do country dancers ever go clockwise?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist rites of passage
Being attacked by a mockingbird and other Texas rites of passage.

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist rattlesnakes
Can I shoot a rattlesnake in my suburban backyard?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist pets
Can I keep a loose country dog?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist parenting
Is there a point I need to stop raising my little girl like a tomboy?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist tailgating
What are the rules for setting up in a new tailgating spot?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist politics
What’s the etiquette of political yard signs?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist taxidermy
My husband wants to taxidermy our dog when he goes to that big yard in the sky. I don’t. Can I convince him this is wrong?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

2013

texanist crazy water
Is the secret to good healthy actually “Crazy Water”?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist pecans
What’s your take on picking pecans out of other people’s yards?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist license plates
Should Texas license plates support rival sports teams?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist burial
Is it legal to be buried on my own property?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist possums
Should I just let my dogs loose on the possums in my backyard?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texasnist fences
If two ranches are separated by a length of old barbed-wire fencing and that fence needs repair, who is responsible come fence-mending time?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist clothing
Have rural Texans always been close-minded about clothing?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist beaches
Why is driving allowed on Texas beaches?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist piñata
How far-reaching is the tradition of the piñata?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist rodeo roping
How does a roping team determine who’s the “header” and who’s the “heeler”?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist barbecue
How do a husband and wife resolve backyard barbecuing duties?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist peas
Do East Texas purple hull peas, if frozen and then cooked on New Year’s Day, count for good luck?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

2014

texanist coed camping
Should I let my teenaged son go on a coed camping trip?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist cedar fever
Can you recommend a cure for cedar fever?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist livestock pets
How does a parent break it to his children that they ate the livestock “pets”?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist child-rearing
My daughter’s friend’s parents had me sign a waiver before she could ride a horse on their property. Is this a product of our overly protective, overly litigious society?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist
Does anyone actually have a “roll in the hay”?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist teaching
Can a non-native Texan teach Texas history?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist dining
What are happening to dining traditions of yore?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist barbecue
Is there “no such thing as bad barbecue”?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist camping
Are the banks of a stream free to use for camping?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist words with friends
The word “Texan” is no accepted for play in the game Words With Friends. How can this possibly be?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist food
When did we start calling the chicken’s “second joint” the thigh?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist bucket list
I’m a recently repatriated Texan. What should be on my bucket list?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

2015

texanist little bubba
Tell us more about your miniature sidekick.

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist barbecue
How can I get my girlfriend to live with the smell of smoke from a nearby barbecue joint?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist driving
Have Texans forgotten how to drive?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist mail
I had to had my knife over to airport security and am waiting for them to mail it back. Is it gone forever?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist clothing
Do I need to update my jeans style?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist armadillo
Can you explain some armadillo lore?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

Texanist south padre island
Can you recommend other Texas beaches that rival the old South Padre Island?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist tornado
What should I do if I encounter a tornado while driving?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist bugs
How should a Texan handle himself in the presence of a small stinging insect?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist dating
Do you have any suggestions for picking the country boy of my dreams out of the herd?

Description by Jack Unruh

texanist chili pot
I used my husband’s chili pot to tie-dye some shirts. He’s understandably upset. How can I make this right?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist truck
Is there some law that applies specifically to theft of property from the back of a truck, discouraging such crime?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

2016

texanist willie
Is not liking Willie Nelson’s music a deal breaker?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist tex-pat
Whenever we are asked where we are from, we always say that we are Texans living in Florida. But recently my husband responded that we were from Florida. Will you please explain to him why this cannot continue?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist tennessee
What do I tell my friend who insists on giving Tennessee credit for the “birth of Texas”?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

texanist guns
I’ve been thinking about getting a license to carry a gun, but my wife insists this is a bad idea. I seek your counsel.

Illustration by Jack Unruh

Shouldn't high-priced restaurant steaks be better than ones I cook in my own backyard?
Shouldn’t high-priced restaurant steaks be better than ones I cook in my own backyard?

Illustration by Jack Unruh

My wife-to-be loves animals and now wants a miniature Vietnamese potbellied pig as a wedding gift. Is this insane?
My wife-to-be loves animals and now wants a miniature Vietnamese potbellied pig as a wedding gift. Is this insane?

Illustration by Jack Unruh