Everything’s bigger in Texas. The state of Texas is big, and we put a lot of stock in being big. Our ranches are big. There are big cities, big athletes, big companies, big ideas, big personalities… our women even have big hair. We celebrate our inherent bigness (that’s right, he just wrote the word “bigness”) in all of our endeavors. We, also, have our own way of doing most things. Barbecue, Tex-Mex food, country music, and football are all parts of our culture that we have done in a way, specific to Texas. Texas even has it’s own beers. We are the only state in the union, who could secede, and survive as our own country. Did you ever notice that Texans have an accent, all our own?(Mine is particularly evident, after several Shiner Bocks or too many hours without sleep.) But the Texan tradition, I love most of all, is that Texans are polite and respectful. Even in our metropolitan areas(Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio to name a few), we are polite and respectful. Texans are polite and respectful, even when we interact with people we dislike or have a distaste for. Dadgummit! We’re even polite and respectful, when we are distasteful, vulgar, or crude. We still say things like “Yes sir,” “Thank you ma’am,” and “Howdy!” (“Howdy” is Texan for “How do you do?”), and we mean it.
I am a Texan. I was born in Kansas, to a wonderful native, Texan woman, and was raised in true Texan fashion. We got back here, as quickly as the Good Lord would allow. I have been taught, my whole life, that attitude is everything. We can disagree, vehemently, but we will still treat each other with the respect we are due, respectively( see what I did there?). I don’t believe that we do any of this to uphold an image, which I was, also, trained to protect. I believe we behave, the way we do, because it’s the right way to treat people. I’ve been to other places, and experienced that, even on the rare occasions when politeness is displayed, a certain tension is present, during social interaction. People seem to have to force the smallest kindnesses. I appreciate the effort, but am more impressed by the ease, with which we do it, here. I have lived and traveled all over this great state, and one theme remains constant. Texans are polite and respectful.
Now, I told you all of that, so I could tell you this. I am a lousy Texan, when it comes to politeness. Oh, I treat most people with the same politeness and respect as the rest of my bretheren, but I am impatient, hot headed, sarcastic, and biting. I’m, also, a bit of an instigator; but that’s a story for another day. When I am not in the mood to be polite, I just don’t bother. I’m pretty blunt… Rough around the edges, really. I serve the truth, straight, naked, without the sugared rim or the lime. My mother, Laurie, who is the biggest influence in my life, has been calling me down for this, since shortly after I started talking. When I was little, it was more about sharing more than was appropriate(a five year old, who gives you a complete family history upon introduction, can be off putting). As I got older, it became more about telling people what I(or anyone else, for that matter) really thought about them, their choices, their lifestyles, or their opinions. Now that I am an adult, the problem has been, somewhat, exacerbated, even further. I don’t talk just to hear my head rattle, anymore. In fact, I’m not a huge fan of the sound of my own voice. I was disappointed, not to have been blessed with a deeper voice(I was hoping to be a bass, not a tener/ baratone combination). But I do, however, share my opinion with an alarming freedom. I have mentioned, in all of my forums, including the social site for The Real Life Radio Network, that I am impulsive. I lack the filter that tells me something doesn’t need to be said(my language filter works pretty well, though). I enjoy getting a reaction from people, which is another one of my flaws(VERY un-Texanly of me). I’ve never, fully, understood what purpose my verbal reckless abandon serves… Only that there is a purpose to be served.
Seth A. Bailey is my friend. We have never met. My mother had friended him on Facebook; and was reading some of his writing to me, which led me to give his page a good look. It deserves to be said that Seth has a mastery of the English language that gives me pause. The man can put a sentence together! He is, also, one of the most foul mouthed authors, I’ve ever read. He has a mouth like a pirate… A pirate with Tourrettes Syndrome… Tourettes Syndrome with the occurance of coprolalia. I think we were fated to be friends. I am certain, however, that we should never be turned loose on Boy’s Town, together. That could spell disaster! When I said “fated,” I meant I believe that God has purposed a meeting between Seth and I so that I might impact his life, he might impact mine, or, a crazy idea… That we might impact each other’s lives. Seth, being Agnostic, may not agree with my theory, but I am sure that two, highly intelligent men, sharing as many common personality traits(I think Seth might, secretly, be the lost Zieber boy. Stolen, in the night by gypsy thieves, and sold to the Bailey family for a bottle of brandy and a box of cigars… good cigars) as I’ve realized we share, have been designed to do great things… Or to bring about the appocalypse, but I digress… Seth, is the Author of And The Rain Came Down, a book I am most anxious to sink my teeth into. Also, in all of his strategic use of the “F” word(welcome back to elementary school, boys and girls), Seth has shown a respect to my mother, as well as, in my experience, with any other women, he interacts with. He is polite and respectful, in true Texas style.
Seth, in my estimation, is a smarter, darker, possibly funnier(time will tell) version of myself. We may be flip sides of the same coin. While I can be pretty self depricating, Seth has turned it into an art form, of which, he is certainly a master. While I am fully capable of being vulgar or obscene(a fact I’ve always been fairly proud of), he has an innate talent for working four letter words into a sentence in a way that looks as if they were made specifically to serve his purposes. If I am an angry young man, Seth is a virtual atom bomb of seething rage. This is one of the things I like best about the man. He’s honest about his anger, which is, largely, turned inward. I don’t know why, but this is another one of those things we have in common. Is it a symptom of some illness, a fatal character flaw, or is it the impetus that inspires us? Maybe it’s what makes us tick, makes us interesting, leads us to improve. Afterall, not everyone works to improve themselves out of a sense of responsiblity. Actually, based on my previous experience, most of us improve ourselves in an effort to prove someone wrong, or to prove something to ourselves… Perhaps we want to prove we’re not as screwed up as everyone thinks we are. Or maybe we’re trying to throw our success in the faces of those who counted us unimpressive, uninteresting, or unworthy of their approval. At any rate, we do seem to share the trait of being tempestuous, mercurial personalities, as well as reasonably dynamic, in nature. Now that I think about it… Seth may not be angrier than I am. It’s entirely possible that he’s just more honest about it. I will say that, either way you choose to look at the situation, we are definitely walking similar roads. We, probably, started from different places… I know that nearly all of my pains and obstacles are self inflicted, and I would not presume to speak for Seth, on this point. Another point where we appear to be on the same page is our humor. It’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s funny because it’s true(sometimes). But, again, I feel like I might be overmatched. I can make people laugh, but when I read some of his work… It suffices to say that it makes my sides ache. It is my hope that I can talk with him, soon, about some form of collaborative effort. The planning of which, I am still working on.
So, while I continue my effort to figure out what this life has to offer a rebelious, intelligent, inspiration hungry man in his, now, late twenties. I will leave you with this thought: I’d rather be a fence post in Texas, than the king of _____________!