1. “He’s from Texas.”

This was the response to David Letterman’s question “What do you think is wrong with Dan Rather?” many years ago. As if being from Texas was an insult in and of itself.

Why? Because we’re all rednecks, toting our guns as we travel to church on horseback? Far from it. Yet the image persists. Why else would Norwegians come to know the word “Texas” as synonymous with crazy?

2. “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.”

Hit and miss on this one. On the one hand, we’re pleased you’ve acknowledged the superiority of our state above all others and have surrendered to the fact there’s no better place to live in the country. On the other hand, if you just moved to Houston after twenty years in Boston, you’d better believe we’re going to call you out on claiming to be Texan after just a week… or a month… or a few years.

3. “You don’t have much of an accent.”

No, that doesn’t mean we were born in Omaha. If being from Texas is used as an insult at times, so too is insinuating you’re just not Texan enough to even get the full-blown treatment. Yes, we were born in the Lone Star State and don’t have the twang you’ve come to know from Dubya and John Wayne. Yet we are Texan, through and through. Saying otherwise can get you into trouble. Texas-sized trouble.

4. “Go ahead and secede. We don’t need you.”

Oh, really? What with our massive oil supply, cattle, cotton, and booming tech industry? The US needs and wants us far more than the reverse.

5. “Where’s your horse/ boots/hat?”

Whether an outsider is really ignorant enough to believe Texans commute on horseback, or they just feel like messing with you, this question is guaranteed to provoke someone, so you might as well dish it right back: “My horse broke down, a bear ate my boots, and I guess I just forgot my hat.”

6. “I know all about Texas.”

This is possible, but be prepared to have your knowledge of Texas history and culture tested ad infinitum. If your sources are old-timey western movies and whatever news pops up about a shooting, chances are you don’t know Texas at all. We’ve got a long (well… by some standards) and proud history and aren’t afraid to defend it. Remember the Alamo, remember Goliad.

7. “Bless your heart.”

Maybe you heard a distant relative in the south say this and thought it was endearing. Such a phrase can certainly come across that way out of an old lady’s mouth with a southern accent, but you run the risk of calling someone an idiot or implying they’re “all hat and no cattle.” You’re not bestowing blessings on someone’s heart; you’re insulting them right to their face in Texas lingo.

8. “It’s hot.”

No, it’s not. Just wait until tomorrow. Texans don’t complain until their seat belt buckles burn them.

9. “I’ll just have a salad.”

10. “Alaska is bigger than Texas.”

We held the title of the biggest state for a hundred years. Fortunately, we’re only competing against nothing more than a province of Canada when it comes to the best and biggest. I’ll take summers in Austin over winters in Homer any day of the week. Keep repeating this phrase if you really want to tick off a Texan.

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