Everything Is Bigger In Texas?

Texas_Mudflap_Cowgirl_stickerWhy do people say “Everything is bigger in Texas”? I have lived in Texas for most of my life, all but the first five years of it, and I can’t ever remember saying “Everything is bigger in Texas” as an answer, a statement, a comment, or even in general conversation. So why do people say it? In fact, I can’t recall hearing other Texans saying Everything is bigger in Texas. Why? Just because we don’t say it, ever. When people visit Texas they feel the need to express their disbelief in something by referring back to the whole Everything is bigger in Texas phrasing. Again, I must ask why? We can explore some more on that in a little bit, but first I must get into what brings us together right now.

I happened to go to the local autoparts store here close to where I work to get a tail light bulb for my Nissan Pathfinder. I parked to go in and this woman was walking up as well. I held the door open for her out of politeness, that is just the way I am. She looked up at me and exclaimed, “Everything really is bigger in Texas isn’t it”. If you say so. She asked how tall I was so I replied back with the fact that I’m 6’8″ tall. She looked at my boots (size 16) and looked me straight in the crotch. She walked away mumbling something about shoe size. Now come on, who does this to people? Disturbed as I was I was there to actually get something, not check out the scenery as some were doing. Light bulb in hand and waiting to check out when this woman asks the clerk if she agreed “that some things are bigger in Texas than others” while she eyeballed my crotch again. I should have offered to let them touch it!

I paid, then I left, bewildered. I waited in the parking lot because I wanted to see where in the hell this woman who is 50ish was from. To my surprise, I found out that she was lost, she had Vermont license plates on her Tahoe. She was smart, she had the attendant come out and replace her headlight bulb for her. Vermont? She was a long ways from home. Now, granted, around here we see our fair share of foreign license plates from all over the United States, Mexico, Central & South America, as well as the odd Canadian. No telling their business here, visiting, vacation, got smart and went ahead and moved here. Who knows.

Getting back to the whole bigger in Texas thing. I have noticed, witnessed, and been told things like this before. As I have family living up north we do travel to visit them on occasion. We always drive so people always notice the Texas license plates. But wait, what if I was from New Jersey or somewhere? Then what would people say? Y’all think about that a while. My challenge to Y’all is to tell me why you think people refer to “Everything is bigger in Texas” as a comment when they see someone/something from Texas that is above average in size. I’m curious as hell. I have Googled this question and the answers are funnier than most things I read. Makes me wonder who exactly writes these in depth reviews on what they know about Texas. Anyway, I found humor in my little encounter with the woman from Vermont and wanted to share for humors sake.

The Texas mud flap girl and the Everything is Bigger in Texas pictures were both acquired via a Google image search. The images do not belong to me or The Sting Of The Scorpion and were borrowed, used, and placed assuming they were royalty free. Meaning? If they belong to YOU and you don’t want me to use them just e-mail me with your proof and I will swiftly remove them. Otherwise just remember y’all are visiting The Sting Of The Scorpion …………… because everything else just bites!


Rest Stop Wanderings

I have spent a good portion of my life traveling from one place to another for one reason or another. I have seen many cities, plenty of the countryside, and every place I have traveled in the world offers it’s own idea of a rest stop for travelers. I guess it’s the old cliché that when one isn’t looking for a place to pee there are options for stopping everywhere and when you really, I mean really got to go there isn’t a place in site. Personally, I was raised to use my resources while traveling but sometimes one needs to sit down and think about one’s business. As much as I love the state of Texas, I have noticed that once you get off the beaten path in the middle of nowhere that a rest stop for the public doesn’t really seem to exist. Trust me, I spend hours driving hundreds of miles on country roads every week and I know where I can pull over and when it is best to wait. I usually plan my trips around pit stops, especially as I get older, but more on that later. A wise man once told me that I should never pass up a restroom or the opportunity to use one because you never know when the next one will come about.
Life before GPS, Google Maps, and cell phones was interesting, a person had to memorize where the rest stops were at since they were never any rest stops listed on the maps I was using. But what if you were traveling into unknown territory? Whenever I travel it’s done in a car of some sort. I don’t fly. In the beginning this would irritate my wife. Why? I’m really not sure, maybe she liked the close to instant satisfaction of getting to her destination in the shorted amount of time possible. But that isn’t why we are here, I could write 1,000 posts on the discussions (arguments) we have had about travel arrangements, maybe later. I enjoy it when I’m driving. I travel at my own pace, enjoy the scenery, and see my surroundings on my way. Sometimes when riding my Goldwing I find myself lost in the ride and find myself wondering what in the hell the hurry is all about when getting to a destination. The destination will still be there when I get there. When I travel alone not being able to find a rest stop is not a problem because I’m a person who will make a pit stop when my body says to make a pit stop.
I mentioned above a few times that I drive everywhere I go. It’s just the way it is in my life. In fact, I can remember being younger (much younger) and taking the road trips with my family going all over the United States. Maybe that is where I get it from, who knows. I was never, and I am never now, afraid to take a journey. When I was in the Air Force living in Japan I found out very fast that there isn’t any such thing as a rest stop. Nature was your rest stop. I lived off the base way off the beaten path of American influence. I had to basically learn to drive all over again because when I first got there I thought all the Japanese had lost their freaking minds the way they drove. I had to adapt pretty fast. What better way to adapt to the new driving environment then to just get out and explore. Being this was at the northern tip of northeast Japan it was obvious that I was in farm country. Being fro southeast Texas I was no stranger to this kind of living. Nor was I a stranger to farm equipment, large and small, sharing the roads with all the rest of the cars and trucks. You will see me call the way they drove as backwards, don’t take offense to this, all I really mean it is opposite to what I knew, such as driving on the left side of the road as well as the right hand side (steering wheel placement) drive vehicles. An example of the challenge for me was re-learning to drive a standard (stick) because now I was having to shift with my left hand and the tree pattern for shifting was opposite as well. Let me get this back on track here. The only way to get comfortable driving the “new to me way” was to just get out and drive. In four years I would have to venture to say there weren’t many roads in Japan I didn’t travel. Oh, wait, there are no rest stops, period. But fortunately I never got caught taking in the scenery and “watering” the grass when I needed to. The biggest shock I saw up in the country was this Japanese gentleman taking a shit on the road. When he was done he scooped it up, placed it in a bag, took a bottle of water to rinse the spot down, and then he got in his car and left. Probably took less than 30 seconds. I never had to resort to popping a squat on the road luckily.
I also found myself driving in few other countries like South Korea, Turkey, Iceland, Greenland, Italy, Spain, Iraq, Kuwait, Germany, and some others I’m forbidden to ever acknowledge. Lets just say I have seen my share of international crappy roads in wartime and in peacetime. What I learned is that I should never skip an opportunity to use the rest room when it’s available. Due to laws and the indigenous people one never knew what to expect if one was caught whipping it out to piss in the wind. It always seemed prudent to follow the lead of the local people. I just watched what they did and that became the new normal. Hell, most of the places I traveled through I found the open road was their rest stops. It was nothing to see cars and trucks pulled to the side of a major road and there be two or three tents put up, a camp fire, and people making their own way. I saw this allot in the Middle East. I never attempted it. I was afraid of the unknown. Most of the places I was at weren’t real “American friendly” if you smell what I’m stepping in here. There were just things that were dumb ideas and not worth any of the risks that may have been involved. I recall a funny time, at least I thought it was funny, also amazing in a way because it was the first time I had ever seen it. I was in Kuwait and it was really fucking hot, I thought I knew heat, but this was fucking hot. How hot you ask? It was hot enough that during the heat of the day one could cook things in their shorts. Did I mention it was fucking hot? Anyway, I drank water all the time. One didn’t sweat much because it was so dry and arid that it just evaporated instantly, just leaving the salt residue behind. A person knew if they were hydrated by the color of his/her own pee. You knew if your pee was dark and had a stink that you were becoming dehydrated. You knew that if it was light in color or almost clear that you were doing it right. One day in the middle of the afternoon I was traveling in the water truck returning to the base and really need to go. I pulled over off the road and went to the passenger side so I was “hidden” from view of passing drivers. At first, after unbuttoning my pant and pulling myself out, the hot breeze felt decent. Within moments the direct sunlight and hot wind began to burn like fire. Imagine if you were in the dark all the time and when you came to the surface the light, wind, and heat just knocked you on your ass. Yes, that hot. In a hurry, I began to pee in the sand. Like any male, young or old, I was trying to write my name. When the pee hit the sand it didn’t even puddle, it just instantly dried up and blew away in the blowing dust. First time for me seeing that little phenomena, not the last by a long shot though.
I spent a fair amount of time in the deserts of New Mexico, Nevada, and Arizona while in the Air Force as well. Each place with it’s own travel challenges. Anyone who has traveled on the I10 or I40 corridor knows what I’m talking about. There isn’t shit out there, and there isn’t even shit between where there isn’t any shit. It was always long stretches between civilization. Population was so scarce that most places just said fuck it to speed limits and put up Drive Safely signs everywhere. Most of the driving out here was monitored by aircraft because it was so vast. Rest stops? Not too many. Don’t even think about breaking down if you are off the main roads because it could be days before you see another human being. Some state’s idea (excuse) for a rest stop basically looks like the picture below, a porta-potty or two, a trash can, and maybe a tree. I found that traveling north from my location really only goes to prove my point. Once I was out of sight of any given city or human population it seemed as if there was just a road leading somewhere, nowhere, or anywhere. I understand it takes “funding” to have rest stops. I also understand it seems to be pretty low on the totem pole as far as being a priority. Which is the irony of it all, states want you to travel to them as a destination or thru them on the way to your destination, yet most of the states I have traveled to or thru are not very accommodating to the motorist. If it were then most states would take care of their roads as well. Think about this, I ride my Goldwing from Houston Texas to Sturgis South Dakota every year in August for the bike rally. I have to drive thru Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota to get there and then do all of it in reverse to get home. I usually drive the 1350 miles straight thru, only stopping to pee, grab a bite, get fuel, and grab a nap for a few hours at a nice rest stop in Nebraska. Usually I get there in about 24 hours, sometime longer if it is up to my wife. Sometimes she drives a “chase vehicle” with my trailer just in case but she usually arrives at least 10 hours behind me.
I usually don’t let the lack of or the poor condition of rest stops deter me from driving anywhere. I like driving and riding way to much for that. Trust me, I make do. In fact, in the last two years I have driven to Ogden Utah and back six times, to South Dakota and back three times, and to Orlando Florida (and further south) and back twice. Plus, to El Paso Texas twice already this year. Only two of those long haul trips were not for pleasure and all but four of those trips were done on my Goldwing. I have pretty much every rest stop or pee location ingrained in my mind for those trips and it never fails, if I don’t stop I have made a mistake. I guess, if nothing else, I will leave you with this lesson in life, never be to “good” to pee on a tree or squat in the bushes. It’s not worth it to be uncomfortable, it really isn’t. Also, always, and I mean always for you hard headed ones, pee before you leave the house, you won’t regret it. I will write a few more posts about my travels in some future posts.

The Things People Say

The things people say right in front of you are sometimes very disturbing, Especially when what is being said is in another language that you don’t understand. For years my wife and now 17 y/o daughter have been coming home telling me they just know the Asian women working at the nail salon are talking about them in a negative way. To be honest, I have always just blown it off. It has been my experience that most women always think someone is whispering something about them. I have seen this my whole life with family, friends, spouses, daughters, co-workers, and yes, even with the strippers I used to work with at the bar. I have always tried to figure out if it is vanity or some kind of insecurity that most women suffer from. I have a simple life and a simple outlook on life, I just don’t care what people outside of my immediate family think about me or say about me to my face or behind my back. So, okay, where am I going with all of this in such a round about way? Well, last night my wife was busy and was needing to break her date with my daughter to go get their toes done. I was asked to take my daughter in a manner I couldn’t refuse, I was asked nicely with a smile, she said please, and there was no guilt trip anywhere in the questioning. So, I said yes, of course.
But, it actually was a loaded question, a question which had underlying motives which were made clear to me in the car while we were on our way. I was to be my daughter’s secret weapon against the women at the salon. How could I be a secret weapon y’all might be asking. Well, I spent many years in South Korea, Japan, and in the Philippines. You cannot spend time in these countries without learning some of the language spoken. Which I learned how to speak all three, understand all three, and I could write what I needed to in all three. Now a days, I have to be listening pretty close to what is being said so I can translate it all in my head. I am worthless speaking any of it or writing it any more tho, but I can still understand most of the spoken word, I said most not all. So, my daughter explains to me that she will pay to have my toes done and take me to dinner at the place of my choice if I just do one favor for her. She wants me to listen to the women at the salon and see if they are talking bad about her or not. I agreed. I figure at this point, now sitting in the parking lot at the strip mall in front of the salon, that this will be pointless and fruitless, but I will have my toes done for the first time ever and get dinner at Olive Garden. So, it was a win win situation for me, I have nothing to lose in this entire arrangement.
We head inside, take our seat as instructed, and wait our turn since they were remarkably busy in my opinion. There were some 18 stations/chairs and at least two women working at each station. If nothing else, if all else fails, I will end up with the munchies because I can feel myself becoming lightheaded, not unlike being a little high, not that I know anything about that of course. Glad we will be going to eat. While we waited my daughter wandered around the salon looking for the perfect shade of red, she reported to me that there was like 90 shades of red and it was very hard to decide. Hey, I know, let me pick the color, which is more like playing Russian Roulette since I would have to read the bottle. She didn’t like the joke and continued on her quest to find the perfect red. So, no fun for me, this time. Finally, we are instructed to follow the woman that will be servicing one of us. Lucky me, she is speaking Korean and I can understand 80% of what she is saying to the other woman.

As soon as I was seated she was explaining to me to sit back, relax, and use the vibrating massage chair at my leisure. Ok, now I know why women come here. I can see how women like sitting in these chairs, the vibrations and massaging balls hit ALL the right spots. That’s right ladies, I know the secret now, I have infiltrated, observed, and concluded. Y’all are very naughty, here I thought this was going to be an innocent experience. No wonder they charge so much. They know they are hitting all the right spots which turn y’all to jelly and they keep hearing yes, yes, yes, since y’all have a hard time keeping it all under wraps. Ok, enough with the analysis, back to why I am here. Other than the chair being nice, the woman handling my feet is pretty rough. Now, being a diabetic, I take excellent care of my feet. I keep them lotioned, I keep my nails trimmed just at the right length so I don’t get in-grown toenails, and so forth. Plus, I never knew I was so ticklish, someone should have warned me, I am a pedicure virgin here. Which reminds me. As the woman began the soaking process of my feet she was going on and on about how big my feet were and they didn’t exactly fit in the little tub the right way. My daughter immediately started giving me the “look” for me to tell her what the woman had said. Following etiquette of the other ladies at the salon, I pulled out my cell phone and began texting my daughter, who I remind you was sitting right next to me. It was kind of awkward for me, I am used to talking to those who are in my immediate vicinity.

So, we are laid back, relaxed, and suprisingly this salon is noisy as hell. I was trying to pay attention to three diiferent conversations to see if I could relate anything being said to either one of us, or towards others in the chair as well. I watched the woman go after these lady’s feet with grand furver, it reminded me of a farrier who must use brute force to contort and hold the foot he is about to shoe. Those nail clippers, similar to the one I own, are chopping away, toenails flying everywhere, I was kind of worried that I might get an eye taken out or something. As I said, I take care of my feet very well, I have heard way too many horror stories. In the end, I got lotioned, she did push all my cuticles back and applied the antibiotic gel which stops the bleading and keeps one from getting infected. She really had nothing to do, she looked like she was struggling a bit because my feet being well off and thrown her way off. So, in Korean, she begins commenting to the other woman at my daughter’s feet about how I didnt need to be here because nothing was being done. Then there was quite a bit of jibberish about how this was a nice break for her. Then the woman at my daughter’s feet began talking about how short my daughter is and how tall I am. She was talking about how large my feet were compared to my daughter’s feet, but her’s were dry and crack and mine were pretty. I was kinda grinning listening, I get the nudge from my daughter so I began texting her. Before long I was done, my woman had nothing to do, so she dry my feet and slid my shoes back onto my feet for me. However, she decided to stay and “help” the woman with my daughter. The talked about how she must be spoiled because she is in here every 2-3 weeks and always spends alot of money. They chit chatted back and forth while they painted on the perfect shade of red. There was nothing special being said, just frivalous talk about weekend plans, about their kids, and how the one woman needs to make an appointment for her back pains.

We are all set now, they slide on my daughter’s flip flops and stick her under the dryer. I was told, kind of rudely I might add, to get out of my chair and go sit at the front of the salon to wait for my daughter. It was in her tone that it was rude in my opinion. Who knows, it was probably just me, I don’t like being bossed around or rushed when I am doing the paying. Soon enough my daughter emerges to the front. She pulled out her wallet and presented a hundred dollar bill to the cashier. She rang us up, gave my daughter the change and reciept, and then pointed us towards the door. My daughter went to both of our woman and gave them their tips. I had told my daughter to tell them both “Komawoyo”, which is thank you in Korean. I thought they were both going to pass out. Quietly one turned to the other and told her my daughter spoke Korean and they both began to blush a bit. Then they let her have it, my daughter had no clue what they were saying so I approached to help out. I told them, in English, they should be careful when talking in the native tongue because they never know who may understand them. For reference, I told her thank you for saying I had pretty feet and I really didn’t think my daughter was spoiled since she spends the money she earns. Almost instantly both woman got up, turned, and headed into the back room. I have found, with past experiences, this tactic works better when I speak to them in their native tongue, but my spoken Korean is all but broken to the extent I have no real clue as to what I am saying anyway. Better to just tell them I understood and move on.

After we got home my daughter explained everything to my wife. It was funny to watch, those two gossiping to the extent it began sounding like two old hens in the yard just chewing the fat. My wife told my daughter that I was always full of surprises. Which she knows, since we spend allot of time people watching when we are out and about. I suppose the moral to this entire story is that you never know if the person beside you understands what is being said. I have found that people use their native tongue to speak bad about others when needed. I work with many bi-lingual people, Spanish speaking people, and when I am around I hear what they say and understand most of it. One day I will pop off and explain something to them when the moment arrises. But the, my work kids aren’t really worth my effort other then messing with their heads a bit.