Sunday, November 26, 2006

Only in Texas?

Michael Rivero is a writer whom I greatly admire. He has written many important articles, most notably Fake Terrorism: The Road to Dictatorship, and he always has many insightful things to say when he is a guest on my friend and fellow Texan Alex Jones’ radio show. In addition, Rivero maintains an excellent website,, which I check daily for headlines and commentary.

However, this morning when I visited Rivero’s website, I was puzzled by something he wrote, which was this: In reference to a news story about a Texas man who murdered another man for not washing his hands after using the bathroom, Rivero wrote “Only in Texas.”

Now, it was my impression that murders of this kind—that is, murders committed over some trivial matter or another—are not unique to Texas. They occur everywhere, and in equal amounts. There was, for instance, a murder over a Twinkie in Pennsylvania, a murder over a tv remote control in Oregon, and similar murders in other states too numerous to list here. But no one ever said, “Only in Pennsylvania,” “Only in Oregon,” etc. Why, then, did Rivero single out the hand-washing murder as typical of Texas?

This was the question I asked myself when I read Rivero’s comment. But, as I reflected further on the matter, I suddenly realized his true meaning. I had been focusing on the wrong thing, I realized. He did not mean the murder itself, but rather, was referring to another aspect of the story, one that is not a slur against Texas at all, but a very high compliment.

It’s funny how you can live in a place so long (I have lived in Texas my entire life, 54 years to be exact) and never notice certain obvious truths about that place. But an outsider will notice them immediately. In this case, what Rivero, the outsider, noticed that has escaped my attention all these years is that Texans place a high value on personal hygiene. I thought this was a characteristic of everyone in the United States, not just Texans, but apparently that is not so.

Now, I have never killed a man for failing to wash his hands after using the bathroom, but I do greatly disapprove of persons who neglect this part of their personal hygiene. In fact, every Texan I know also disapproves. It is greatly frowned upon here, and as the news story in question shows, some frown upon it with more severity than others.

Therefore, I urge all persons visiting Texas from other states to please remember to wash your hands after using our bathrooms. You may be able to get away with such an oversight at home, but in Texas it could get you killed.

You have been forewarned.