Tag Archives: Oklahoma

My Dad’s Weekend Extravaganza

Dad's Weekend

By Jack Edwards

My daughter attends a university which is conveniently located two thousand miles away. This year, I didn’t think I’d be able to attend “Dad’s Weekend” until the last minute, which meant that scheduling flights was a challenge, but luckily, I was able to book an airline itinerary which only included 25 legs. The good news is that when I finally landed in Tulsa, it was raining.

My daughter belongs to a sorority at Oklahoma State University, the name of which I cannot disclose, but its initials are Kappa Kappa Gamma. She and her sisters took preparing for this weekend very seriously. Meetings were held. Plans were made. They agonized over how they should best use those precious final few hours on the Friday evening before their fathers arrived the next day. Then they put that plan into action. And that plan involved attending an all-night toga party.

If you look up “Dad’s Weekend” in the Encyclopedia Britannica, it says: “The visit a father makes to his child’s college, where he experiences both PTSD flashbacks and a deep longing to be a student again.”

The big day began with a complimentary lunch at the sorority house. It was a football game day, so the menu was tailgating fare. Hotdogs, hamburgers, traditional sides. It was all every tasty and lovely. At the same time, as I munched down my meal, I couldn’t help but calculate the cost of my hotdog at just north of $20,000. (But who’s counting?)

Later we attended the game. Security at Boone Pickens Stadium was tighter than a tick in a pig’s ear. The security lady at the front entrance made me lift my baseball cap. She thought I might be hiding something. I’m not kidding. She made me show her my bald spot. Though in her defense, my bald spot is getting pretty shiny these days, and I’m sure that a clever terrorist might be able to configure a chain of strategically placed middle-aged men throughout the stadium and bounce a laser beam from one bald spot to another, building up a concentration of energy that led to a horrific catastrophe.

Following the game, a traditional problem emerged. Both parent and child want to take off and recreate into the late night hours, but, for too many reasons to list, certainly not together. And that instinct is for the best. Case-in-point is a friend of mine who I will refer to as “Tom,” because his name happens to be Tom. Tom attended a Dad’s weekend at his daughter’s college in Minnesota. He decided to join in his daughter’s postgame celebratory activities. And he, being the only celebrant over the age of 21, ended up buying the beer. What happened next is best summarized in the arresting officer’s police report: “As smoke billowed out of the upper window of the apartment building and a flood of inebriated occupants fled into the night, emergency first responders heard a low crying sound emitting from the building. They strapped on their respirators and reentered the blazing structure. Once back inside, they discovered a small herd of pigmy goats trapped in a rear bathroom. All the goats were treated and released.” Tom later pled down to a misdemeanor charge of Animal Endangerment and got probation. His law license was suspended by his state Bar association for 90 days.

All kidding aside, Oklahoma State University is a first rate institution. And Kappa Kappa Gamma is, in my bias opinion, the finest sorority in the country. But I’m not kidding when I repeat that that hotdog I cost me $20,000. It’s a good thing that it went down smoothly.

The Great Oklahoma Pandemic

Oklahoma final

By Jack Edwards

Think of your three favorite states. Ask others to list their three favorite states. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, they will not list three states. They will list the same state, three times in a row. And that state, of course, will be Oklahoma. The Oklahoma state motto says it all: “Oklahoma – we’ve got miles of it!”

I’ve spent a lot of time in Oklahoma over the past two years. In fact, I’ve just returned. But during this last visit, I’m afraid I may have caught something. Mind you, I am not a board certified physician, but I believe I’ve correctly diagnosed my condition. It’s an incurable virus called Oklahoma-itis.

Oklahoma-itis presents the following symptoms:

  1. A continuous need for drastic changes in temperature. Almost an addiction. A deep desire for what I call “weather whiplash.” 110 degrees one day, subfreezing the next.
  2. A fundamental transformation in your body’s physiology. In the event you suffer a tragic accident and need a lifesaving blood transfusion, your body will accept barbeque sauce in lieu of whole plasma.
  3. A tendency to refer to a 200 mile gale force wind as “an afternoon breeze.”

Rumor has it that the U.S. Center for Disease Control expects Oklahoma-itis to be the world’s next great pandemic. Oklahoma sits at the geographic center of the contiguous states (You know this, of course, because Oklahomans won’t shut up about it). The CDC expects the virus to spread over the country like mosquitoes at a nudist colony.

Well, here’s my heads-up to the CDC. Identifying the source of any new virus is the first step to finding a cure. And I think I found the epicenter of the Oklahoma-itis virus on my last visit. I am reasonably confident that Ground Zero is located in a suburb of Oklahoma City at a little place called Leo’s BBQ. I stopped by for a plate of barbeque because Guy Fieri fell all over himself and about had a heart attack over how great it was on an episode of Food Network’s Dinners, Drive-ins and Dives.

Here’s how to get to Leo’s. Plug the address into your iPhone and follow it blindly. Arrive at what appears to be an abandoned storage shed. Then, just as you begin whacking your iPhone because it has obviously failed you, look up and you’ll see the sign. If you don’t want to catch the bug, put your containment suit on in the parking lot prior to entering, although this will prevent you from eating, so you might was well just drive back where you came from.

Here it is:


Once you arrive at Leo’s, here are a few tips for enjoying the experience. By this point, you’ve already crossed the line and contracted the virus, so relax and enjoy:

  1. Order everything. Leo’s actually serves a plate that contains every type of barbeque they make – the Leo’s Special. They also have a “Leo’s Special Lite,” if you’re willing to part with that much of your dignity.
  2. Dive in. To help keep your field of vision clear, there is a five-mile long roll of paper sitting on every table (not paper towels – paper towels are perforated; that’s for sissies). There’s also a 50 gallon squeeze bottle of barbeque sauce within arm’s reach. I suggest my ratio: two parts barbeque sauce to one part barbeque.
  3. Save room for the free slice of strawberry-banana cake. Yeah, it’s free. Not that you’ll have much room left in your stomach. Yes, I found space – but I’m a professional.
  4. After the meal, immediately go lie down to begin the recovery period.

As you lie there bloated, your stomach protruding in pain, half expecting contractions to begin, think of your three favorite states. You won’t be able to think of three. You’ll just think of one state, three times. And, of course, that state will be Comatose.

My Short Lived Life as a Vegan

Eat Meat

It all started when my friend, a normal friend, told me he stopped eating meat.  When I say normal friend, I mean normal person, as opposed to a few friends I have who are not normal.  (This should be sufficient explanation for those of you who are normal.  If you are confused or upset by this explanation, I hate to be the one to drop the 411, but you are probably not normal.  I say “probably” to spare your feelings.)  This friend, who I will refer to as “Chris,” because his name is Chris, told me that he had watched this movie called Forks Over Knives, and the movie convinced him to stop eating meat.  So, of course, I couldn’t believe it, and I told him that I couldn’t believe it, and that should have been the end of it.  Only it wasn’t.  Three weeks later, I realized that Forks Over Knives was on Netflix.  The real mystery is how this void in the entertainment universe emerged and swallowed up every other thing which might have caught my fancy.  It doesn’t take much to entertain me (e.g. I occasionally watch CSPAN.  Yeah…I know.), but alas, Forks Over Knives miraculously stood alone.

The movie is a documentary about these two skinny doctors who do a bunch of complicated studies using graphs and statistics, and this is the mind blowing part – even look at historical data.  They conclude with very serious faces that if you don’t become a vegan, you’re going to die immediately.  Possibly by the end of the movie.  I know this sounds crazy, but they’re very convincing, kind of like that guy at the fair who sells the slicer-dicer.  If the slicer-dicer guy used a bunch of graphs.

So anyway, about two thirds of the way through the movie, I say to myself, “Jack, in the unlikely event given your non-vegan ways that you live to see the end of this movie, you’re going to start eating a ‘plant-based diet.’”  See, that’s what they call it, a “plant-based diet.”  But it’s really a vegan diet.  I figure they just changed the name to appeal to more people and not sound like a bunch of crackpots, like when Philip Morris changed its name to Altria.  The long and the short is that I jumped into the deep end of the pool.  If it had parents, or came from something that had parents, it was off the menu.  Even stupid parents, like fish, which I always considered more like vegetables without roots.  Plus anything that was highly processed or contained refined sugar.  Unfortunately, I discovered that if you take all those things literally off the table, what you’ve got left is grass.  Nonetheless I put my head down and marched forward.  The whole time I’m thinking, ‘How am I going to get enough protein?’  According to some random website on my iPhone, I needed 56 grams of protein per day.   Was I supposed to eat tofu every day?  (My iPhone said that too much tofu was toxic).  One of the skinny guys on the show ramble on about how everything has protein in it, even potatoes.  Beans supposedly have a lot of protein.  But I did the math, I was going to have to eat like fifty pounds of beans a day.  I’d be creating enough gas to light a small municipality.  Nonetheless, I struggled forward, week after week.  I even spent a few days in Oklahoma visiting my daughter.  Oklahoma!  That state’s official motto is: “We eat red meat three times a day, and sometimes we even cook it.”  Do you have any idea what it’s like to order a veggie burger in Oklahoma?  I’m one of the few who’s lived to tell about it.  And that’s only because I confessed that I was visiting from a liberal commie part of the country and I would be leaving forthwith.

At week nine, I hit the vegan wall.  I wasn’t hungry, I was exhausted from trying to eat enough protein without swallowing a wheelbarrow of beans and quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) every day.  I majored in Language Arts Education in college not nutrition.  I just didn’t have the ganas (or desire, as Edward James Olmos would say).  I was unable to Stand and Deliver.  So I yanked the plug.  I wished the two old skinny guys the best, and went back to my previous diet, the one I now call Knives Over Forks.


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