It has come to my attention, through this very educational blog post my friend (and I’m pretty sure somehow my secret long-lost twin even though my father SWEARS it’s not genetically possible and I promised I’d believe him) @lahikmajoe posted the other day, that apparently, you are forming your opinions of us through a radio station called The Ranch.
When I researched this radio station, I learned that a., their website was cluttered with all the bright knick-knacks the internet can hold and kind of gave me a total headache, and b., they are “the sound of Texas.” Well! That’s nice.
Listen, somehow, randomly, and I really have no explanation for this, I have become acquainted with some awesome Texans lately? PLUS, twice, I drove through the top of Texas on my way west, and again east. I’m pretty sure that’s called the panhandle, or something. Although I don’t think it looks like a panhandle. And who even says “panhandle” anymore? Except beggars. ANYWAY, I’m pretty sure this radio station isn’t the sound of my Texans. From what I can tell, the sound of MY Texans is a lot of sarcasm and awesomeness. But probably no one would listen to that radio station. Except me. I would listen ALL THE TIME to that radio station.
Some of the things @lahikmajoe’s countrymen ask him about our country (specifically, Texas, but I’d like to think that The Ranch makes them think this about all of us), according to his post (and listen, are you reading his blog? I’m totally about to get all up in arms here. I really like his blog. You should too! He is awesome and like a zillion times more intelligent and thoughtful than I am. Go follow him. No, seriously, I’ll wait. I’m drinking all the Olive Garden magic no-hangover wine tonight, I have the patience of JOB right now. Go! Go, go! OK, you’d better be back now, because we’re moving on) are:
- Did you grow up with horses?
- Did you wear a cowboy hat to school?
- What’s a real rodeo like?
These questions sadden me, Germans. Because listen! America has a lot of other things, too! Like weird roadside attractions like big balls of twine and huge cement rolls of Life Savers! And zombie preparedness stores! And like 43 gabillion Dunkin’ Donuts!
But then I did some research, and I realized that the country songs you are listening to that form your idea of America (or, if you’d like, “MERKA,” which is the way I say it when I’m pretending to be a patriotic hillbilly, because it makes me laugh) are totally misleading and also kind of upsetting. So I’d like to talk about them with you, and maybe disabuse you of any notions they’ve caused you to form about our great land.
“Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off”
by Joe Nichols
What this might make you think about MERKA: Drinking to excess makes women forgetful and nudist.
What is wrong with this picture: Alcoholism isn’t this jolly or sexy, even in MERKA.
This song is about a man whose significant other is going out to drink margaritas at the Holiday Inn (CLASSY!) and he’s all “oh, good gravy PUT ON SOME EXTRA CLOTHES THIS TIME MYRTLE” because apparently she comes home wearing table linens when she drinks tequila, but not champagne or or rum or vodka.
Germany, I can assure you this is not the case. I had a very long and storied love affair with tequila, and it did NOT make my clothes “fall off.” At least, no more than any other alcoholic beverage. It did, however, cause some HELLACIOUS hangovers. And also vomiting. A LOT of vomiting. Once in a cab. Sorry, cabdriver. Sorry.
Please do not come to our country and buy our ladies margaritas expecting us to start shedding clothes like trees in the fall. Or, wait, do. I totally love margaritas but those suckers are EXPENSIVE, yo. I’ll meet you at the Holiday Inn. There’s one right around the corner from me. So that’s handy!
“Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy”
by Big & Rich
What this might make you think about MERKA: Cowboys are super-hot, and everyone wants to have sex with them, and they buy everyone drinks, and they’re totally always making “riding” puns.
What is wrong with this picture: I don’t know that these type of cowboys exist anymore outside of movies. And also, have you never HEARD of STDs? What is this, the 60s, you damn freewheeling hippie? You KNOW this jackass isn’t packing protection.
This song is about a braggy cowboy who tells about all of his exploits in a shouty, “look at my big old dick, mama!” voice. Things he does: buys everyone drinks; rides his horse all over the place, including into cities; passes out hundred dollar bills to everyone in a bar; compares himself to John Wayne (AS IF); taking a girl out to some abandoned road and showing her how to hunt frogs (WHO DOES THIS I LOVE FROGS) with his dog while singing her all the Willie Nelson songs and then they MAKE LOVE (I’m sorry, but that phrase makes me want to throw up until I’m sore).
(Side note: I’m kind of the most in love with John Wayne. I know. It’s weird, right? I want him to protect me from all the badguys. I have no explanation for this phenonemon, either. Carry on.)
I’m not going to deny there’s some sort of shouty appeal to this song, but I don’t think these kind of people exist, and if they do, I don’t think people are falling all over themselves to MAKE LOVE ZOMG to them because a., if anyone ever said to me “let’s make love” I’d be all “ok, Barry Gibb, where are your platform shoes, the 1970s called and want their sayings back” and also then I’d probably laugh until I cried, and b., no one DOES these things. No one rides into the city on a horse and starts throwing money around like a crazy person. If they do, they deserve to get mugged and beaten. That’s looney tunes behavior.
I feel like people in Germany are listening to this and they’re like that poor kid in Love, Actually who wanted to come to America to have sex with all the hot American co-eds like in the sex comedies. Although that kind of worked out for him. Dammit. THIS WILL NOT WORK OUT FOR YOU, GERMANS.
“Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue”
by Toby Keith
What this might make you think about MERKA: I shudder to think. Ok, fine. That we will stick a boot in your ass. It’s the American way.
What is wrong with this picture: We’re not all jingoistic morons.
When this song came out, it was a tough time for America. Post 9/11. We were all pretty shaken up. There was a lot of “rah rah AMERICA” sentiment. I get it. I totally get it! From the tip of my liberal toes to the top of my liberal head, I get it.
Then this song happened, and my friend Mer and I were seriously not sure whether to run away to Canada or to hide under our covers until the inevitable end of the world came.
“Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list,
And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist.”
“Oh, justice will be served and the battle will rage:
This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage.
An’ you’ll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A.
‘Cos we’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way.”
Please, Germany. We will NOT put a boot in your ass. I promise. We are not all crazy people. We actually don’t even all have guns. I mean, can we? Sure. But we don’t all EXERCISE that right. Please don’t be too scared, Germans. We’re not all big dogs. Some of us are little dogs! Like Basenjis. Doesn’t everyone like Basenjis? They lick themselves! Like cats! And they’re barkless! Barkless clean dogs! PLEASE DON’T BE AFRAID GERMANY!
“Bubba Shot the Jukebox”
by Mark Chestnutt
What this might make you think about MERKA: That we all have guns in our cars and we shoot up bars when we get sad. And we have people here named Bubba.
What is wrong with this picture: I don’t think this happens DAILY or anything.
This song is about Bubba, a mentally-ill man, who is at a bar and drinks a lot and the jukebox makes him cry so he goes out to his car and gets a gun and shoots it. You know. As you do.
Um, Germans, I’m not going to say this has never happened? Because this totally sounds like something that COULD happen. I’m not going to lie to you, Germans. But probably it won’t. PROBABLY it won’t. I mean, I can’t guarantee anything. But odds are good this won’t happen if you come to MERKA.
Now listen, Germans. There are fun and enjoyable country singers you can listen to. Old country singers are kind of kickass. Johnny Cash! Willie Nelson! Dolly Parton! Kenny Rogers, before he became a scary plastic-faced monster! And also, I’m totally madly in love with Brad Paisley, because his songs are clever and adorable. Also, he’s super-smart on Celebrity Jeopardy. Although that “I want to check you for ticks” song was a total misstep. I’m not going to lie about that.
Also, GERMANS! I totally spent four days in your country in the late 90s and I liked it VERY MUCH. Things I liked: your chocolate; seeing the Berlin Wall museum; how even when people were smiling, your language sounded totally gruff, so it was kind of an adorable disconnect; Germans were not as anti-American as, say, people in France were (DAMN YOU RUDE PARISIANS AND YOUR TOTALLY SNEERY CORRECTION OF MY HIGH SCHOOL FRENCH) and in one town we went in, there was an entire RESTAURANT that served nothing but FUNNEL CAKE. I don’t know why EITHER. It was the BEST THING EVER.
So I kind of think I owe to to you, you lovely people, to let you know that we may be Americans, but we’re not all MERKANS. From what I understand, Texas is LOVELY. And also, so is New York! I mean, I choose New York, obviously, because, well, I’m here, and I’m kind of the most kick-ass awesome, but I’m pretty sure if you decide to go to Texas OVER New York (I mean, I’m not telling you what to DO, or anything, but you DO know we have Broadway here, right? OK, just checking) that you won’t get stampeded, or forced to ride the bull in the rodeo, or wear a ten-gallon hat. Even if the country songs make you think otherwise.
Sleep well, Germans! And if you want to send me a thank-you gift, I totally would take some of that random funnel cake.