Not many people know I’m from Texas. Sure, I manage to find a way to slip it into every conversation, and it is a cornerstone of my stand-up act. But you have to understand that very few people listen to me when I talk. I’d like to think it is because they are mesmerized by my beauty, but the truth is they’re just patiently waiting for my mouth to stop moving. Sigh.
But it is true. I’m from Texas. The Dallas area to be exact. And I have a lot of fond memories of growing up in the great plains, many of them deeply repressed. But there are a few gems that have somehow crawled their way to the surface of my consciousness, like some kind of undead creature of the night hellbent on devouring innocent families. And it is these precious Texas memories I wish to share with you.
Here’s one. Mums. You don’t know what a mum is? Then you aren’t from Texas, or at the very least, the South. Mums are big flowery looking things made of paper and chintzy trinkets made in Taiwan. Everything is hot glued together by women with too much time on their hands who have husbands that drink too much. These mums are adorned with ribbons representing one’s high school colors, and these ribbons are adorned with words, often the names of the girl wearing the mum (yes, they are worn) and the boy who “made” the mum for the girl (yes, guys are supposed to make these). These mums are then shown off during homecoming. The girl with the biggest mum, presumably, is loved the most by her boyfriend and therefore is better than the other girls. The guy who gives the biggest mum is worshiped by the other guys because it is known he will be having sex in his 1998 Ford Mustang by nightfall. This is all facts.
To see a picture of a mum, scroll down to the bottom of this post. In the meantime, keep reading, y’all.
So girls really do wear these atrocities, like Stars of David during WWII. Except instead of identifying them as kindling for the Nazis, the mums symbolize expendable income. Because these things cost upwards of hundreds of dollars, despite being made of the craft store equivalent of marshmallows and pretzels. And there are entire companies that are in the business of making little symbols to put on your mum, like a little trumpet to represent marching band or a boot to represent drill team or a heart to represent “easy.” There are also women who make good money making mums for schools across the metroplex (that’s what the grotesque Siamese twin Dallas/Ft. Worth is called). They sit at home hot gluing this and curling that, as their barren wombs sit empty in contrast to those beautiful mums.
I don’t remember what any of my old mums looked like. All I remember is that the entire process was inane. Oh, and that my friend Brian accidentally spelled his name “Brain” on the ribbon for his date. But I’ll never forget how stupid that tradition was, and I’ll always have a place in my heart that is empty because of my participation.