texanist truck nuts
Are “truck nuts” appropriate?Illustration by Jack Unruh

Q: Lately I have seen a growing number of vehicles with ornamental testicles hanging from the rear bumper. At first I thought they were supposed to be bull testicles, but now they are showing up in all different colors and at least two different shapes. I think this is absolutely ridiculous, 
but I have been accused of being no fun. I really need the Texanist’s opinion on this particular matter. Is this okay?
Casey Bradshaw
, Mabank

A: The only acceptable balls to have attached to the back of your car or truck are chrome hitch ones. They are used for towing things. So you are advised to immediately lodge a counteraccusation of barbarism against whomever it is that has accused you of being no fun, for by doing so that person has established an appalling fact: that he or she is tickled by ornamental testicles. This person should cower in shame. The Texanist has glimpsed these unfortunate bumper accoutrements out on the road, and he is here to tell you that you are absolutely correct. Adorning the rear end of a truck or SUV with a rubber pair can be considered nothing but ridiculous. Actually, it can be considered a few more things: ugly, unseemly, uncouth, and hopelessly redneck. In fact, the Texanist knows plenty of rednecks for whom these dangling decorative gonads are even too redneck. And what is the point of these vehicular show balls anyway? Are they supposed to somehow impress and intimidate other automobiles, like an unneutered pit bull at the dog park? This is a rare case in which the Texanist has no earthly idea why people do what they do. If you are a person who has ever attached a pair of costume car cojones to your rear bumper, please write to the Texanist and explain this cretinous practice. If indeed you know how to write.

Q: As you surely know, students across the state recite the Texas pledge of allegiance every morning. As an elementary school principal, I recite the pledge with my right hand over my heart. Most of my students and colleagues do the same. Every so often I see students and adults recite the pledge with their right arm bent at a 90-degree angle at the elbow and the hand extended palm up. What’s the deal with that? Am I leading the youth of Texas astray in pledge recitation?
Nancy Tovar, Principal
, Western Hills Elementary School
, El Paso

A: Salutations, Principal Tovar. Back when he was a proud young student at Cater Elementary in Temple (go, Cougars!), the Texanist was required to pledge his allegiance only to Old Glory. (As the Texanist, his allegiance to the Lone Star flag was inferred.) Like you, he recited the pledge each school morning with his right hand over his heart—unless, that is, he happened to be donning his Cub Scout uniform, in which case he may have offered the Cub Scout salute. Since 2003, state law has required students to pledge allegiance to the U.S. flag and the Texas flag, in that order, and to observe a moment of silence before they can commence with their obligatory learning and spitball shooting. The state legislature, as it will do, has also laid out for the good citizenry, in the Texas flag code, how exactly to go about it: face the flag and stand at attention with the right hand over the heart (or, if the pledger is in uniform, remain silent, face the flag, and make the military salute). It does appear that some of your students and colleagues are confused, and it is your duty to set them straight. To do anything less would be un-American, un-Texan, and, as their principal, unacceptable.

Q: I have seen a number of toes and heels when it comes to buckaroo shoes, but let’s talk about the part of the boot that is concealed under the end of the britches. Seems as if the most flamboyant end of the footwear is the least exposed, unless you are one of those “boot tuckers.” So to get to my point, how does one ask a stranger if one might see the top of his boots?
Rick Reichenbach
, Port Aransas

A: The part of the boot you are referring to is known as the shaft, and you are right: this is often where the boot wearer, by way of intricate stitching, tooling, piping, inlays, overlays, and/or slogans, may choose to express himself. The Texanist has known members of the Texas House of Representatives, chart-topping songwriters, and at least one partaker of marijuana who have chosen to identify themselves as such via the shafts of their cowboy boots. During his recent presidential bid, Governor Perry showed off his custom 9/11-inspired ostrich boots, which feature the American flag and the words “Freedom” and “Liberty.” The intent of the governor’s shafts is probably to say, “Hello, I’m patriotic”; unfortunately, they also say, “But not so patriotic as to know that wearing the U.S. flag in this manner is, according to the flag’s own code, frowned upon.” But the Texanist has digressed (he blames Principal Tovar, from the previous question). Back to boots. The answer to your question is really quite simple. If you want to see a person’s boots in their entirety, the best and most polite way is with a simple, straightforward request: “Could you lift up your britches so that I might see your shafts?” Should do the trick.

Q: If Texas were to adopt an official state pickle, do you think it would be a sweet pickle or a dill pickle?
Name Withheld

A: Does the great state of Texas really need yet another officially designated food item? If so, and the choice came down to a sweet pickle or a dill pickle, the Texanist would, without hesitation, go with the dill. Specifically, he would want this pickle to be derived from the rich black soils of Zabcikville, a small community east of Temple where, in long-gone days, his mother would go to procure cucumbers and fresh dill from a kindly old woman of Czech descent to put up her own pickles. They were crisp and slightly spicy, and nothing the Texanist has tasted since comes close. So yes, it would have to be dill. The Texanist cannot abide a sweet pickle.