Big Tex Gets a Hand -- Just Not a Very Big One

Every week, managing editor Patrick Williams disappears into his office and reemerges a cranky, nicotine-addicted, third-person-referring superhero we like to call Buzz.

Good news for those of you heartbroken when Big Tex, the 52-foot tall, 60-year-old icon of the State Fair of Texas, burned in a spectacular fire on the final day of the fair last fall. Big Tex has his hand back. Well, not exactly his hand, but an animated 3D drawing of what his new hand will look like when it's built. (Hint: It'll be big and hand-shaped. Also, judging by the knuckles, Tex suffers a touch of the rheumatiz.) Sue Gooding with the fair sent word about Tex's digits, along with some other digits about the fair's fund-raising efforts to cover the estimated $450,000 to $600,000 it'll cost to replace the big guy. So far, private donations have reached -- drum roll please -- more than $45,000!

Well ... shit. You cheap, cheap bastards. That's it? After all the tears and blog posts and photos and "Oh, Tex, we hardly knew ye" cries when Big Tex crisped like an over-fried churro, you people have managed to donate just 10 percent of the cost of returning the beloved big guy to the fair? Forty-five grand? That's barely enough to cover about how much 10 families of four would spend for a day at the fair, assuming they don't ride any of the good rides.

So that's how it is, is it? You'll belt the hymns out loud in church, but when the collection plate rolls around, it's clink, clink, clink. And one of those clinks is a button.

Why, Texas? Why are you letting Big Tex down? Is it that deep down you know that the replacement Tex will never be the real Tex? Is this a daddy thing? Look, if it makes you feel any better, you won't have to call the new statue Big Tex. You can call him "Uncle Tex" or, if you must, "Steve." And when the fair rolls around, you can die your hair black and get some piercings and act all pissed off and stuff.

No? Well, fine. Time are tough, and it's a new day in Texas, we suppose. Tex is having trouble covering his medical bills, but it's not like that's anyone's responsibility but his. We certainly don't need any "programs" or, God forbid, "welfare" to help him out. He's a state icon, daggummit, and any good, under-insured North Texan knows that if he needs medical care, he should park his charred butt at Parkland hospital's emergency room. The fair returns in September, and Gooding promises Big Tex will be there on opening day, so we suggest he hurry down to Parkland right away and take a number. Maybe they'll get to him by then.

Or we could all kick in more to help a pardner out, Buzz supposes. And by "we," Buzz means "you." All Buzz's charitable giving, such as it is, is tapped out by donations to Planned Parenthood and public television.

Sorry, Tex, you're on your own, just like you want it.

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