This week's discovery comes from none other than current KUDZOO cover boy Kinky Friedman, one of the most creative, witty and entertaining writers of our day. (Look for a review of his novel Kill Two Birds and Get Stoned soon.) Check it out.
Kinky Friedman’s Guide to Texas Etiquette
Just who is Kinky Friedman, and where has he been all my life?
You see, I have known about Kinky for years and years. Mostly as a country singer and songwriter with a knack for penning ditties like “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed,” “Asshole from El Paso,” and “Ride ‘Em Jewboy.” I knew him as a humorist and part-time politician who had once ran for Governor of the great state of Texas. I knew that he is friends with Billy Bob Thornton, Bill Clinton and a host of others. What I somehow missed in all the excitement was that Kinky Friedman is quite the prolific writer and has authored a slew of books.
He’s a highly respected novelist, who has a style all his own. I am just a quarter way into his book Kill Two Birds and Get Stoned, and I am sold. The man has a gift for writing fiction that I rarely see. The characters are solid, the storyline, at least in this book and I am sure in the rest as well, is totally believable and the best part of all, he injects humor into the story like a Texas-sized Mark Twain. But I am not here today to speak on the Kinkster’s fiction. I am here to talk about the book I started last week and recently finished called Kinky Friedman’s Guide to Texas Etiquette. (Sub-titled “How to Get to Heaven of Hell without Going Through Dallas-Fort Worth.”
This is a book every Texan should own, and keep in a lofty place of respect on the bookshelf right between the King James Version Holy Bible and The Complete Book of Texas Barbeque. But let’s not stop there. Every proud Southerner from Carolina to Bama to Baton Rouge should proudly own and display their copy of Texas Etiquette. While I’m just funnin’ with you a bit, I honestly feel that anyone with a funny bone will love this. While there are passages that just plain crack me up, there are also many interesting stories of Texas lore, including how the Texas Blue Bonnet got it’s name. Same with the Yellow Rose of Texas. A great deal of history tossed in. There are lists of famous Texans, fun facts about armadillos, and there’s a really good story about a Texas criminal defense attorney named Racehorse Haynes. Apparently, Racehorse was the best. According to the book, he “leaves the witnesses like a pane of glass that’s been dropped from a 13-story building, with jagged shards all over the floor of the courtroom.”
The way the book is broken up into mostly bite-size chunks makes it a great read for the porcelain throne. (Oh come on, people. You don’t read on the toilet? Seriously?) Of course, it would also be a fun book for the beach, or maybe the airport, or perhaps while you are in the holding cell waiting to see your lawyer.
Right up front, Kinky lists “Things You Would Never Hear a Real Texan Say.” You can imagine. For example, “The tires on that truck are too big.” “You’re watching football? Change the channel- Oprah is on!” And of course, “We don’t keep firearms in this house.”
Kinky manages to touch on virtually all things from the Lone Star State (including how it became the Lone Star State). He takes on Texas A & M football, barbeque, rich oilmen, the Alamo, the state of it’s own that is the Dallas airport, cowboys, outlaws and rough riders.
Texas Etiquette is simply a fun read, loaded with history, factoids and belly laughs. And it’s a good jumping off point to start plowing through Kinky’s other books. Y’all get you some.
Buffalo says, "Check it out!"
- Michael Buffalo Smith