Even as a kid I read the daily papers, and in Houston, the excitement and killings and shootings for whites seemed to be concentrated on Airline drive and Hempstead, and I couldn’t wait to go and experience the strangeness and intensity of those strips of bars and clubs, although the drinking age back then was 21, I was lucky enough to join that world at age 17.
The white hot intensity of redneck bars started dying out by the early 1970s, there was still the occasional shootings and stabbings, and beatings, but the violence of the old days that color so much of the old country western songs, disappeared long ago.
I will never forget what it was like to move to Southern California, and see people sign their name on a chalk board to politely wait their turn to challenge the guy holding the pool table, it took a long time for me to realize that it was real. Another sign of civilization in California, was going to the bathroom, and not having to look for position and weapons (like the urinal farthest from the door or the lid on the toilet tank).
I walked into the restroom at The Brown Derby in Hollywood.
Three urinals, a big black dude at urinal #1, a big black dude at urinal #2. The see me come in, look at each other and nod.
At that point I just knew what was coming.
I step up to #3 and no sooner did I get started than -sure enough- the guy on the end says, "Man that water's cold!"
The guy in the middle says "Sucker's deep, too!"
To which I blandly replied: "Oh, it's not that deep..."
They darn near peed themselves laughing.