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OkieTales Intro

In today’s inaugural #OkieTales, our hero sets the scene and explains some of his insanity…

While I claim Oklahoma as my home state – I was not born in Oklahoma. I was born in Dallas, TX. The story goes my father came home from work one day and informed my mother (and several month old me) that he quit his job, they were buying land from her dad, and moving to Oklahoma. And so we moved to Oklahoma. And I became an Okie.

Growing up there exposes one to things that, from an outside perspective, are just fucking weird, but it is normal to us. It shifts the perspective on what is “normal” and “weird” means. Want some examples?

The major airport in Oklahoma City is Will Rogers International Airport. Named after one of our Native sons, Will Rogers was the original Snark Master. He used his words to both elevate and crucify any topic or persona he picked, usually at the same time. He lived and walked within all social constructs and saw all people as equally worthy of praise and scorn. If he didn’t have a word for something, he would make one up.

Will Rogers DIED IN A PLANE CRASH! So naturally, naming a freaking airport after him is a perfectly “normal” thing to do… right?

Another example (and worst transition EVAH!) – cock fighting. No, not that kind of cock. That culturally insensitive, PETA hating, “sport” of putting two roosters in a ring and letting them peck each other to death for fun, profit, and deep-fried goodness. Cock fighting was legal in Oklahoma until 2002. The mascot of the high school I grew up near (Chickasha) was the “Fighting Chicks”, because of the amount of cock fighting in the area. Thankfully they learned to be – wait… sorry… the mascot is still that & a bill was introduced to lessen the crime of cock fighting… in 2023!

I could go on for DAYS giving examples. Even the term “Okie” was originally a slur against people from Oklahoma who moved away during the Dust Bowl. We grow up not in fear of tornados, but accepting these powerful forces of nature may destroy everything (especially if you live in Moore) and sometimes stand outside watching them. We are intrinsically NOT FUCKING RIGHT IN THE HEAD.

Before anyone nominates me for some award of the Oklahoma Tourism Department, there are some truly awful things about the state. There are some really antiquated ideologies. There are a lot of unjustified fears. Those skewed perception can become blinders. “Fucking weird” quickly becomes “radically oppressive”. And that exists all around us as well. Those two forces live inside of every Okie… always at odds… always fighting.

But from conflict comes growth, innovation, change and fearlessness. It may take a while, but the results speak for themselves. Oklahoma has produced writers, actors, musicians, scientists, astronauts, and whatever Gary Busey is. They come into whatever is their calling with that weird definition of “normal”, and do amazing things.

Or make whale hunting illegal… in 2006…