15 Commandments for Living in Texas

by Genevieve Northup Sep 1, 2016

1. Thou shalt love thy neighbor.

We take care of our fellow community members, whether they’re Texas natives or transplants. We invite everyone on the block to get-togethers, we watch their homes when they’re away, and we will help out whenever they are in need.

2. Thou shalt be willing to wait for barbecue.

The best spots are rustic, family-owned shacks where customers line up long before opening. Meats are smoked for eight or more hours and they’re worth every minute of anticipation.

3. Thou shalt grow a thicker skin.

We don’t beat around the bush and will tell you when you’re “making no sense,” with your words, actions, or attitude. Some of us will add a “Bless your heart” to take the edge off our criticism.

4. Thou shalt dispose of trash appropriately.

The famous “Don’t Mess with Texas” signs line our highways because we want to keep our landscape clean. Not only can you be fined for littering, you’ll also lose our respect.

5. Thou shalt honor Texas by flying the state flag and reciting our pledge of allegiance.

In elementary school, we are taught both the American and Texas pledges, and we say them every morning. We are American patriots, but we’re also damn proud to be Texans.

6. Thou shalt become a Texas college football fan.

Where you went to college doesn’t matter — you better support a Texas team. If you’re undecided, consider which friends you’d rather see every weekend from September to December, and cheer on their teams. Saturdays are spent watching the games, eating guacamole, and drinking beer.

7. Thou shalt remember the Alamo.

Though Texas soldiers lost the battle at the fort in San Antonio, the Alamo became a symbol of strength and defiance in the war for independence from Mexico. The site remains an important part of our history, and a place you must visit to understand the spirit of our great state.

8. Thou shalt acclimate to the heat.

When you move here, you know it’s going to be hot as Hades most of the year. Summer temperatures will hit triple digits, so you either stay inside and stop complaining or bathe in SPF 50 and float the river.

9. Thou shalt be polite to others, as you would want them to be polite to you.

We hold the door open and introduce ourselves to strangers. We remove our hats for Sunday service and dinner. We use “sir” and “ma’am,” no matter a person’s age. We say “thank you,” even when customer service professionals are not so nice to us.

10. Thou shalt know the Texas two-step.

It is the quintessential dance for couples at dance halls, wedding receptions, rodeos, bars — everywhere, really.

11. Thou shalt develop a taste for spicy food.

Our cuisine has been heavily influenced by Mexican cooking styles. Spicy foods are best on hot days; they force us to sweat, which cools us down, even while our mouths are on fire. Start training your palate because we add heat to everything we eat. Tabasco or Cholula, anyone?

12. Thou shalt learn to handle firearms.

We’ll accept your choice to have a gun-free home as long as you respect our decision to exercise our Second Amendment privilege. You should know how to shoot, so you can come out for afternoon skeet shooting and early morning dove hunts. And you may have to rid your yard of pesky armadillos — their leathery shells make them hard as hell to kill.

13. Thou shalt drive a truck or know someone who does.

Owning one may not be practical if you live in a congested area or have a long commute. Make a few pick-up driving friends because these vehicles are handy on moving day (we almost never rent U-hauls)… and for tailgate parties.

14. Thou shalt appreciate real cowboys.

Wearing Wranglers and boots does not make you a cowboy. Ranching is a tireless job, and we tip our hats to the people who care for the 11 million Texas cattle that feed our state and nation.

15. Thou shalt attend the Texas State Fair and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.

These two annual events celebrate all things Texas, including food, wine, art, music, agriculture and cowboys. Competitions are held to determine which vendors have the privilege to serve their tasty concoctions (primarily deep fried) at the state fair.

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