Sunday, January 23, 2005

Well, goodness, kids. It's been a while.

Got back a few hours ago from seeing "In Good Company". Not The League's preferred faire, but you know, if you eat bean burritos every day, eventually you're going to get sick of them.

Fairly decent flick, and when it slowed down I spaced and ogled Scarlett Johannsen.

The film tackles a lot of fairly mundane topics from the business world and attempts to bring them into sharp focus. I was feeling sort of squirmy that the story hinges completely on the fact that one of the central characters is a 26 year old who had risen to a seemingly unearned position of authority.

A few years ago when I started in my job, I suspect I may have been viewed with some of the same contempt by some who suspected my age. Luckily, I have the unfortunate issue of looking older than I actually am, and was able to sort of fly under the radar.

In the completely non cut-throat world of university staff, things like degrees earned and seniority are weighed with an amazing amount of import. So, I learned quickly to keep my non-Master's having mouth closed, and my non-30+ self safely age-agnostic. Occasionally it will come out that, yes, I am 29 (all too soon to be 30), and that, yes, I have no Master's degree (as if somehow I did something wrong by not obtaining a Masters). These are mini-powder kegs in the university environment, and it's best not to try to come across as a hot shot, or the weird lady from the registrar's office will come down on you like a ton of bricks when she decides you're getting too big for your britches.

Speaking of University work, I have been very busy with the projects I'm responsible for. I seriously clocked hours in the triple digits last week, and this week ran a little long as well. It's the first week of the semester, and that always means a circus in higher education.

I'm not really sure what the point of all of this is, except that I am, in fact, sort of back.

I think I probably missed some good stuff while I was out. I saw Bush got inaugurated, and that his flashing the "Hook 'Em Horns" sign was thought to be a sign of El Diablo in parts on Scandinavia and beyond. I actually would LOVE to find out some guy we elected twice was, in fact, in league with dark forces. It would at least make me understand a little bit more about how our world functions.

Saturday Night Live chose to jump on the "Hook 'Em Horns" thing with a skit involving Amy Poehler as Jenna Bush continually flashing the "Hook 'Em Horns". And then, in a sort of weird bit, the skit sort of made fun of UT in comparison to Yale, playing it off as a hick school. Which not only wasn't funny, but reminds me of why conservatives can't stand the mythic East Coast Liberals. Whether true or not, in their eyes, any and all things associated with Texas will forever be those of the unwashed and the crassness of the nouveau riche. So, you know, their University must be full of troglodytes who can barely wipe themselves.

Outside of Texas, you begin to realize, sure, folks from the East think all Texans are sort of mildly brain damaged, arrogant bastards. But folks from Arizona believe it, too. And, unfortunately, Texans all too infrequently are able to give anyone any reason than to think that maybe it is a state run by yokels and red necks.

I do get tired of the knowing nods and shit-eating smirks when I am asked where I came from before Arizona. You do spend a lot of time saying "Well, not everybody is like that."
"But it is like that," folks counter with.
"Yeah, well," I say, rubbing my eyes. "There's usually a grain of truth to most of what you suspect."

I think people, at least people in Arizona, have a sort of hard time understanding what a vast state Texas is, and how the geographic regions are, in fact, quite different culturally.

"I always thought everyone from Texas was a racist," a co-worker asked me. That's how she put it: I thought everyone from Texas was a racist.
"Isn't that where they dragged the guy behind the truck?"
But you're not going to go down to Houston and find that happening. Or Dallas, or Midland. It was butt-assed nowhere Texas, in atown nobody had ever even heard of until some drunk bastards decided that night was the night to show that thousands of years of civilization means nothing when you think nobody is going to catch you. But it's Texas. And try and tell anyone that Vidor is not San Antonio, and you're wasting your breath.

"You've been to Waco?" folks ask me.
"Yeah," I say. "And no, I never saw any Davidians. Just Baptists."
"That was weird. What did they do with the site?"
"First of all, it's not actually in Waco. It's outside of town. Waco is a little weird, but the Davidians were not in Waco. And I think some extreme libertarians bought the land and they're rebuilding the compound on it."
This is always met with blank stares.
"Texas," I assure them, "Is a weird place to live."

You do not hear about people in Maine having problems with 51 day cult stand-offs. You do not have a show called "Cleveland" about people sporting fake Ohio accents and dressing in cartoonish Ohioan outfits that still runs overseas. New York State is never confused with New York City. Possibly California and New Jersey carry some of the same weight each time they declare their statehood. And when I state I am from Texas, people (and I mean maybe 30% of the time) think it's okay to say "I'm sorry!" and then laugh about it. Like, you know, you KNOW you should be ashamed, right?

Right. Because here in Arizona you have so much more to live for.

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