Q: A few months ago I joined Facebook. At first I was pretty excited by it, connecting with old friends and all that. But soon enough it seemed that my FB friends outnumbered my actual friends. My problem is that a number of these “friends” post updates, like, ten times a day about the dumbest things ever. I’m thinking about unfriending them, but I’m afraid I’ll hurt someone’s feelings. What can I do? M.L.S., Amarillo
A: The Texanist, as you may or may not know, is a social butterfly. Whether he finds himself at a lively cocktail party or in line at the bank, he relishes the company of his fellow man. He also relishes the many forms of procrastination by which he avoids doing his job, a growing list of activities that does not exclude golf, napping, whittling, goat sacking, Jumble solving, and working on a mnemonic that will help him recall an alphabetical list of all 254 Texas counties (“Alert: All aardvarks and armadillos are advised . . .”).
About a year ago, he added online social networking to this buffet of diversions and has been generally pleased with the results. Never before has the Texanist been so successful at not doing his job. But in order to achieve his goal he has had to learn to deal with the silent but annoying din of so many dunderheaded “friends.” In his early encounters with the inane status updates of these clods (“So-and-so just washed down two cookies with a glass of whole milk and is off to bed”), the Texanist was prone to overreaction. It would begin as a mere twitch of irritation, but upon discovering more vexatious trivialities (“Miss La-di-da is going to pop with bliss if she spends one more day in this island paradise”), the twitches would inevitably turn violent, and, well, there goes another company laptop. It is unclear why the Texanist is still employed. Nevertheless, under the patient tutelage of the IT department (live long and prosper, fellas), he was made to understand that there exists a feature whereby those who would waste the Texanist’s invaluable though unproductive time can be driven from his monitor forever without their ever being the wiser. It is called the “hide” function. Learn it, use it, love it.
Q: My husband and I have season tickets to our alma mater’s football games (I don’t want to say which school), but he insists on getting a jump on the crowd by leaving the stadium before the games are even over. He does this every time, whether we are winning or losing, and it drives me crazy. Can we call ourselves real fans if we don’t stay and cheer for the whole game? Name Withheld
A: Of the Texanist’s many favorable attributes, his all-weatherness is near the top (just behind his good-naturedness and his levelheadedness), especially when it comes to rooting for a team of college gridders (for evidence of this, see his list of the greatest college football plays ever). It sounds as if your husband needs to take a good, long look in the mirror and ask the guy staring back, the one with the rainbow-colored wig, the painted face and torso, and the cardboard-cutout white picket fence (“D-Fence! D-Fence! D-Fence!”), why, exactly, it is that seventeen years after graduation he finds himself feeling empty. Sure, his enthusiasm appears intact on the outside, but the Texanist is fearful that on the inside it has subsided to an alarmingly low level. For the sake of the boys on the field, interrupt his moment of reflection with a smack across his greasepainted jowl and remind him that there is no I in team and that in fair weather and foul his team needs him as he once needed them.
Q: My almost vintage (1989 and just about broke-in) black cherry Luccheses don’t have a matching belt. I feel unsure and self-conscious when I wear them with my dyed-to-match Tex Tan belt and my dad’s Mexican-silver-and-gold Ranger buckle set. What’s the weekend dance hall cowboy supposed to wear to the Friday VFW or the Sunday Eagles’ dances? J.R. Trevino, Lake Jackson
A: It’s not wrong for you to take a certain amount of pride in your appearance, but it’s important to keep things from getting out of control. Draping yourself from head to toe in expensive duds, like some dance hall dandy, has never been a prerequisite for having a good time. The Texanist is struck by the fact that it’s usually not until late in the evening, when his clothes are soiled, tattered, and quite often abandoned entirely, that he really begins to enjoy himself. The truth is that even the nattiest of clothes will not make the man, they will just make the man nattier, and who wants to be natty? It’s one of those words that sounds like the opposite of what it means, and that makes the Texanist suspicious. If a creeping self-consciousness associated with your boot-and-belt pairing is the issue, a quicker and cheaper route to happiness is probably to be found in the bottle rather than the leather goods shop. Rarely does a man feel prouder of his attire than when glimpsing it in the mirror behind the bar while ordering his fourth or fifth tequila and beer.
Q: My wife is a Georgia native and enjoys informing me, and rather smugly I might add, that Texas is not part of the South. Should I take offense to this, and can you give me a ruling on what geographic region I should embrace? Scott, Dallas
A: In the Texanist’s experience, discussions involving the proper geographical categorization of the Lone Star State often devolve into pissing contests that end in stalemates, dusty fisticuffs, or two puddles of urine. Lord knows there’s no point in entering such a contest with your wife, especially considering that she is neither entirely right nor entirely wrong. Still, the Texanist wonders why she’s so haughty in excluding Texas from Dixie? From your letter, one might think that she is not aware that such manners are considered unbecoming for a delicate magnolia blossom such as herself. But never mind that. You did not come to the Texanist for charm schooling. (Had this been the case, you would have been informed of the lengthy application process, reasonable fee structure, and years-long wait list.) Texas, mainly by way of its immensity, encompasses a diverse region that looks radically different depending on which side of it you’re on. Are we as “Southern” as your genteel peach of a wife? Maybe in Lufkin, but certainly not in Lubbock. More to the point, there are a plethora of splendid attributes that make Texans unique in their own right. Were the Texanist you and in search of something to embrace, he’d just claim Texas and be done with it. However, were the Texanist you and looking to ever be welcomed south of the Mason-Dixon again, he would probably just let sleeping dogs lie.