Houston, we have a what?

Published 9:52 am Thursday, July 23, 2020

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Pam Stone

Just sayin


If there’s one thing you can say about America it is that we are a land of ingenuity.

Our citizens have pretty much led the way in with inventions, discoveries and medical treatments. Electric light? Check. Telephone? Got it. Radio? You betcha. Creating the vaccine to halt polio? Oh, yeah. Heart transplant? Piece o’ cake. Flying a man to the moon and driving a little go-cart across Mars? Well, yes, now we’re just showing off.

It would, however, be misleading to give the impression that each and every new idea has been of sterling quality and helpful to all mankind…Popeil’s Pocket Fisherman might have been handy should you have found yourself stuck in traffic somewhere, only to glimpse a trout stream outside your window, and Lord knows I would have sold my soul to have a Flowbee trim the dead ends from my hair, having been untouched since last December. Even Chia pets make great gifts for people you hate, but all of them have proved useful in their own, quirky way.

Then there’s Houston.

Houston, the city which is now at capacity with ICU beds filled by Covid patients and praying a hurricane doesn’t come near, the home of the Astros and the capital of space exploration, now brings you the first drive-thru strip club.

Gentlemen: start your engines!

(And if you think I’m going to make some cheesy joke about pole position and being lapped, you can just go find yourself another columnist to read, K?)

Look, I get that when Governor Abbot closed down bars and restaurants to deal with the pandemic it created untold hardship for proprietors and employees. Several restaurants have become quite creative in staying alive, offering well distanced outdoor dining or having their selections available as take out only, some places delivering as well. So, I suppose I have accepted that indeed necessity is the mother of invention.

The sticking point for me is the word, ’necessity.’

Guys, OK, let me narrow that down: Guys in the Houston area who find themselves intrigued that Vivid Gentlemen’s Club (I can hear you googling right this moment) has opened a drive thru lane…is it truly a ‘necessity’ to see a naked woman, dancing behind a metal barricade, while you order the obligatory bar fare of nachos and chicken fingers? Dude, really? She’s right there at car window level, not on a stage, and I’m thinking that wearing a mask, while appreciated, is an, er, rather incomplete effort of full PPE.

Sir, would you like a tassel with your fries?

Oh, well, I guess the dancers need to make a living as well. But boy, I’ve done comedy shows in Houston and I remember using a silo of hairspray and a trowel of stage make-up to stop melting under the lights and that was inside, with air conditioning! For the life of me, I cannot imagine shimmying and whatever other movements they do in the saturating heat and humidity outside on asphalt.

I’m not sure I entirely agree with Hunter S Thompson on his overall appraisal of the city, but it does explain perhaps this latest ’necessity’ pretty succinctly:

“Houston is a cruel, crazy town on a filthy river in East Texas with no zoning laws and a culture of sex, money and violence. It’s a shabby, sprawling metropolis ruled by super rich cowboys who live by the code of the West—which can mean just about anything you need it to mean, in a pinch.”