Burning Desires

The dirty truth behind Texas’ book bans.

With the quarantine curtain slowly rising and the political season getting underway, kinky stuff is happening faster than a prairie fire with a tail wind. And I am delighted. 

Republicans—who most of us look at with squinty eyes and “What the hell?” on our lips—have once again taken to banning books. Remember when they were burning The Beatles’ albums back in the ’60s? I think now they’d love to burn Moby Dick because it just sounds nasty. 

They are not actually burning the books yet. Although they’re just trying to ban books from school libraries, you gotta look at it this way: If they do start lighting book bonfires, enough Texas right-wingers will gladly join in to keep us all warm during the next winter power-grid failure. 

My theory is that these sanctimonious censors really just wanna talk dirty by quoting from the books on their hit list. And of course they just love outrage, which I think substitutes for sexual foreplay in many Republican homes. Mix their outrage with a little Moby Dick, and you’ve got yourself a Kama Sutra-worthy formula for some serious missionary hoochy-koochy. 

I have a close friend who works at a library. Did you know that there’s a whole genre of books called Cozy Mysteries? They are mystery books with no sex or violence. (It beats me what the mystery could be about—Who spilled paint in the garage? Who didn’t flush? 

But it gets better: There is also a book genre called Amish Romances.  Romance stories with no sex. I can’t wait to read their current best-seller Why Mommy Is So Tense.

Honey, books have never corrupted me. Long-legged men, smoking weed, and quarter slot machines took care of that long ago.  

Meanwhile, down South, Florida Republican (are you cringing already?) Governor Rick DeSantis will pass legislation allowing white Floridians to sue their own shadow if that menacing dark figure makes them feel any discomfort. DeSantis (who I am told has the middle name “Fooking”) is planning to run for president. 

DeSantis also thinks it’s really important that we never say “gay” in elementary school. Bless his heart, his train of thought has lost its caboose. He thinks that when teachers talk about about “gay,” they’ll be talking about mattress-thrashing in the next breath. But savvy 2nd-graders know that all of that adult stuff is boring compared to SpongeBob SquarePants. 

So you can’t say “gay” in Florida elementary schools, but you can say “AR-15,” which is the State Gun of Florida. Now you tell me who has screwed-up priorities. DeSantis and Trump are the pro wrestlers of politics.  

Speaking of which, in 2019 Donald Trump went on the teevee and pitched a red-faced hissy fit about “the new toilets” that use less water to flush. Trump did not approve of them, claiming (and I’m quoting here) that “you have to flush them 15 or 20 times” to get everything down.  

At the time, I thought he was so full of crap that there couldn’t possibly be that much coming out. But now we know he was trying to flush official White House documents down his White House toilet. 

Poor Trump, he even thinks that gravity is a big conspiracy to keep us all on the ground. 

And lastly, I have a shirt from graphic artist Rob Sheridan’s collection that was given to me for Christmas. It says Fully Vaxxed—Still Anti-Social. 

Actually, as I rethink my social scene, I wonder if maybe that shirt is not the joke it was intended to be. People have forgotten how to behave in public, y’all. There was a brawl at a Pennsylvania Golden Corral where dozens of people threw high chairs at each other because the restaurant ran out of steak. I am not kidding you—just watch the videos of some poor guy walking around calmly saying, “I just wanted some steak.”

Now, I want to be honest here. I am not an anti-brawl type. There are some things worth fighting over. I came real close to punching a guy for trash-talking about my momma. And if Mitch McConnell ever knocks on my door, I am going to open it and punch that sumbitch right on the nose and tell him to get off my damn property. I’m a big believer in the legal theory of he-had-it-coming.

I looked up Bensalem, Pennsylvania, and found it has a population of 60,000. The Golden Corral is probably a high-falutin’ eatery in Bensalem. The only competition in its class would be the Pizza Hut and Lurleen’s Pea Soup and More Cafe. (Lurleen’s doesn’t have a salad bar but she does have … you know, pea soup.)

Still, I’m not sure I want to be social around people who throw rowdy fits in crowded places. Lurleen respectfully disagrees with me: “Honey, the article says nobody got hurt. If you are throwing furniture in a crowded restaurant and nobody gets hurt, you are not fighting. You’re just horsing around.”

Until next time, try to stay tied up or tied down as March blows in. Your preference.

This article appears in the March 2022 edition of OutSmart magazine.


Susan Bankston

Susan Bankston lives in Richmond, Texas, where she writes about her hairdresser at The World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc., at
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