Being a native Texan, I remember learning in elementary school about the state flag, motto and song. It didn’t seem too strange at the time, considering all the other states had ’em too… no biggie.
But when we got into learning about the state bird, tree and flower, I (even at my young age) failed to see why I needed to be tested and graded over the material. I mean, this type of info is a cultural footnote at best. It really has no practical application. When has knowing any of this come into play for anyone outside of making an appearance on Jeopardy? I figure if someone really has an interest in what flying mammal the state has collectively and officially chosen to represent it (Mexican free-tailed bat – not kidding) they would be naturally inclined to research it on their own in the first place.
What is an “official” designation anyway? So, if any other type of bat is seen in Texas, said observation is not recognized by the state government? What if another state has chosen the same “official flying mammal”? Would that be grounds for inter-state economic sanctions? or WAR?!? But I digress…
What brought all this up again is the fact that I was perusing a website about the State of Texas, looking for some info and ran across a list of “Official Designations of Texas” I will not reprint the entire list. I’ll just give you the high-lights that will get stranger and/or more ridiculous as it goes on… ALL OF THESE ARE REAL.
STATE MAMMALS (three):
small – Armadillo
large – Texas Longhorn
flying – Mexican Free-Tailed Bat
(Evidently a mere single mammal does not adequately define or tell the story of Texas. We need 3. I believe they called a special session of the legislature to discuss possible candidates for yet another: The official state dead mammal, but abandoned it when they realized it would be the same as our state small mammal, and 1 mammal carrying 2 official designations would be too much to wrap our meager little brains around. And as far as having an official “flying mammal”… can you think of another mammal that can fly outside of a bat? I sure as hell can’t think of one. So the designation should be “State Bat” shouldn’t it? Nah, that would just be stupid, huh?)
STATE REPTILE: Texas Horned Lizard (also called the “horny toad”)
(Ok, that’s actually kinda cool)
STATE PLANT: Prickly Pear Cactus
(That’s not too weird, I guess.)
STATE SHRUB: Crepe Myrtle
(Ok, as far as the State is concerned, there IS a distinct difference between PLANT and SHRUB)
STATE NATIVE SHRUB: Texas Purple Sage
(Is this implying that the afore mentioned “Crepe Myrtle” is NOT NATIVE to Texas? Then where do we get off choosing the Crepe Myrtle in the first place?)
STATE FABRIC: Cotton
(They’re trying to squeeze in yet another plant under the guise of a material here… shameless. Not to mention the “State Grass” or the “State Flower”, which we have as well, incidentally.)
STATE DISH: Chili con carne
(I just don’t get why we need an official food!… Is it just me?!)
STATE SNACK: Chips and Salsa
(A “State dish” is really pushing it. A “state snack” is beyond ridiculous. What is it without the Salsa?..Nothing. It’s a mere condiment away from having crackers as the state snack!
STATE SHIP: Battle Ship Texas (USS BB-35)
(Man, I bet the debate raged for weeks before they settled on the one battleship actually named “Texas”… duh)
STATE SHELL: Lightning Whelk
(Um, ok… we have a state shell, They should’ve made it the “Lawrence Whelk” though. My grandmother would’ve loved that.)
STATE GEMSTONE CUT: – The Lone Star Cut
(Ok, this is not a state gemstone. It’s a gemstone CUT. The SHAPE of a gemstone. Huh?, Isn’t that like having a STATE SHOE SIZE?)
STATE STONE: Petrified Palm Wood
(Does petrified WOOD actually count as stone? Sounds a little stupid.)
STATE TARTAN: Texas Bluebonnet Tartan
(Yes folks, it is THAT type of Tartan. The woven pattern that historically identified clans of the highlands in Scotland and the like. Texas decided we needed one as well. Ya know… just in case.)
STATE DANCE: Square Dance
(Ok, I admit this is not all that unusual, but wouldn’t it be hilarious if we could start a voter referendum to have it changed to something absolutely friggin’ goofy, like “The Robot” or something?)
STATE DINOSAUR: the Brachiosaur, Sauropod, Pleurocoelus
(We actually have a state dinosaur. THEY DON’T EXIST ANYMORE!!!! How does something even begin to represent Texas when the last one died millions of years or so before Texas (or even humanity for that matter) arrived?! Am I missing something here?)
AND LAST BUT DEFINITELY NOT LEAST…. (and I am a not kidding here)
STATE MOLECULE: Fullerene, or a Carbon allotrope more commonly reffered to as a “buckyball”
(WE HAVE A STATE MOLECULE!!!. YEAH!, FUCK YOU, EVERY OTHER STATE!!)
Personally, I’m waiting for the STATE FUNGUS, STATE CLEANING APPLIANCE or the STATE DISEASE.