Archive for October 22nd, 2015


det var helt texas


On Tuesday Dan Solomon, a writer for Texas Monthly, created a sensation here when he broke a story that said Norwegians use the word “Texas” as slang to mean “crazy.”

He says: “Usually, when the word ‘texas’—as an adjective, most often without capitalization—appears in Norwegian, the context involves the phrase, ‘det var helt texas,‘ which translates to, roughly, ‘it was totally/absolutely/completely bonkers.’ You wouldn’t call a person ‘totally texas’—it usually describes a chaotic atmosphere.”

dubyaIn interviews, representatives of the Norwegian government and other “responsible” spokespeople have explained the expression as harking back to the association that many Europeans have with Texas in the mythology of the wild west and Hollywood barroom brawls, but I suspect that it also has a lot to do with the impression sowed by famous Texas politicians such as Lyndon Baines Johnson, George W. Bush, and Rick Perry. Such is the legacy he has inherited, our current Governor, Greg Abbott, constantly has to prove that he’s not crazy—but it’s always in the background. In the opinion of some who accuse him of “pandering to idiots,” Abbott did not get off to a good start when he ordered the Texas Guard to monitor the activity of the US military during the recent Jade Helm exercises.

It is pretty unique to Texas—some would say crazy—that the Texas penal code contains an unusual provision that grants citizens the right to use deadly force to prevent someone “who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property.” This right even extends to citizens who are defending a neighbor’s property. In 2010, the law protected a Houston taco-truck owner who shot a man for stealing a tip jar containing $20.12. Also in Houston, a store clerk killed a man for shoplifting a twelve-pack of beer, and in 2008 a man from Laredo was acquitted for killing a 13-year-old boy who broke into his trailer looking for snacks and soda.

1_123125_123073_2279751_2300569_110816_ex_rickperryshoots_tn.jpg.CROP.original-originalIt is not surprising that in a state where shoplifting beer, snacks, and soda can cost you your life, it makes sense that Texas has executed more inmates than any other state—530 people since 1982. Some comedians coming out of Texas—Ron White, most notably (but I’m sure there are others)—even have jokes about death row inmates being fast-tracked.

I think it’s ironic that Texas is the place to which I came in order to keep from going crazy… and it was not a matter of finding a place where I would appear sane in comparison to some of the batshit people you meet out here.

Admittedly, I live in the least populated part of the state and keep pretty much to myself. But most of the people I know are tolerant and “Texas friendly” (which means that giving a wave to other drivers is obligatory), and that seems remarkably sane to me.



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