But recently there has been a such a great public manifestation of goofiness in the state of Texas that for this week Texas is official recipient of the national HUYA Award.
Which is what, you ask?
Well, about 40-some years ago when I was a Department Of The Army civilian working on the American Army post in Babenhausen, Germany, every Friday evening after work the officers and often their wives would attend the happy hour at the post Officer’s and Civilians Club. For the officers of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Field Artillery, the unit to which I was connected logistically and socially, the Friday evening happy hour at The Club was pretty much mandatory. Of course for me, being a civilian, the happy hour wasn’t mandatory but I used to go anyway just for the fun.
The fun (or at least I thought it was fun at the time; nowadays, having since then myself suffered manys the sling and arrow of outrageous fortune, I might find it less so), which was also the reason the happy hour was mandatory, was the weekly presentation of the HUYA Award.
HUYA stood for Head Up Your…um…(you can figure it out, right?) and the award was a framed drawing of a figure performing the anatomical feat described by the award’s title.
The HUYA Award was presented each week to the officer, usually some young lieutenant, who committed the biggest goof-up during the previous week. The battalion commander would announce who the award was going to and why, at which point the previous week’s HUYA winner would with much relief hand the award over to the coming week’s winner, who would be required to display the award in his office all week.
Harsh treatment, perhaps, but it was all in good army-style fun (Lieutenant Tom Liszkay even received the HUYA once or twice in his career) and perhaps served a few more purposes as well:
1. To teach officers to be more careful about making dumb mistakes,
2. To toughen up young officers to criticism, and
3. To remind officers that they're not the only ones who sometimes make dumb moves.
Anyway, with events transpiring as they've been lately, it was high time for the HUYA Award to be resurrected. And this week the HUYA had to go indubitably to Texas.
Now, the Garland Texas Mohammed cartoon contest, ridiculous and mean-spirited as it was, ugly as it ended, would not have been sufficient to put the state in the running for the award; after all that was the work of a hand full of nasties and the two crazys who chomped on the bait offered by the nasties.
And even the next Theater of the Absurd performance acted out in Texas a few days later wouldn't have been enough. I'm referring now to the paranoia-obsessed crowds of Texans who came out of the woodwork over the Army training exercise being conducted in parts of their state, crying out the alarm to every Lone Star State village and farm that the exercise is not an exercise but is in fact, "part of a secret plan to impose martial law, take away people’s guns, arrest political undesirables, launch an Obama-led hostile takeover of red-state Texas, or do some combination thereof" (1).
HUYA-worthy goofiness indeed, but again, the goofiness of only a few who hardly can be said to speak for all the citizens of a whole state.
No, what really snagged the award for the state was the behavior of Texas Governor Greg Abbott in response to the uproar over the exercises. Governor Abbott, after having given his approval for the use of his state for the exercises and having even been in on the planning of the exercises himself with the Pentagon, did an about face and gave legitimacy to the conspiracy-theorists and fear-mongers by deploying the Texas National Guard to watch over the exercises to make sure the U.S. Army doesn't try to take over Texas for Obama.
(By the way, Governor Abbott, if you really don't want that huge military exercise going on in your state, how about if you tell the Pentagon to just send all those troops to Ohio. We have plenty of open land and our state could really use the income that will be generated by the presence of all those troops during the exercise).
Anyway, Greg Abbot is the individual who was elected by Texans to be their governor, and as such when he speaks he speaks for all of Texas.
And so congratulations, Texas, your governor has won you the HUYA award. At least for this week.
(1). "Military Exercise Stirs Conspiracy Theory", Manny Fernandez, The New York Times, May 7, 2015.