It’s embarrassing that Wal-Mart is this town’s ‘Magical Kingdom’

Huntsville, Texas is a collegiate amusement park. There is so much to do in Huntsville that the head swims just contemplating what to do after school hours. These two statements would be true if one were lost in deep R.E.M. sleep, dreaming of some mythical SHSU hometown. To the contrary, Huntsville, Texas is a wasteland of mediocre restaurants and old-time businesses. How can college students endure the agony of staying one weekend out of the semester?

One would think with Huntsville being a college town that there would be a wide variety of businesses blanketing the city aimed at generating revenue through targeting college students. There is nothing further from reality. There is nothing to do in Huntsville. Repeat: there is nothing to do in Huntsville. Each year in ‘The Houstonian,’ SHSU’s student publication, there is at least one editorial with the same gripe. It is usually summarized as Huntsville is a blah town. So many fellow students concur. When Wal-Mart is the local place to hang out, that is when things have reached the bottom totem pole of boredom. It isn’t cool to get out of class, call up friends, and say, “Hey, guess what? It’s Wal-Mart night!” High school students would scoff at SHSU attendees. Yes, there are several bars around town, but they get tired and get old. The Jolly Fox and Shenanigans wear out their wecome after a few visits. If they were any type of unique establishments in Huntsville, students would not be clamoring to go to Wal-Mart all hours of the day just to do—something.

Huntsville does have Cinema 10. This dilapidated movie theater is reminiscent of how cavemen watched movies in the humid prehistoric air. There has never been a movie theatre to date that turns off the air conditioning in the middle of July in Texas during the opening of the ‘Forty Year Old Virgin,’ with the theatre packed to capacity. One couldn’t laugh because they’d pass out due to lack of oxygen in the theatre.

The best restaurant is Jack in the Box. This is evident based upon how many cars are always in the drive-through line. It takes 40 minutes just to get two tacos and seasoned curly fries. There are some restaurants, other than fast food chains but most if not all, serve Mexican food. There is a Chili’s and most natives consider it “the place to go”. It would be “the place to go” may be back when Chili’s was actually good, say in the early 1990’s.

If one travels 50 miles down Highway 30, he or she would come to a real college town; College Station. This town is the wild step-sister of Huntsville. They have a wide variety of bars, pubs and taverns. College Station has a movie theatre that does run its air conditioning unit. It has numerous restaurants not all dedicated to serving Mexican dishes. Oh yeah, and it does have Wal-Mart in case, by the slimmest chance, you do see that as entertaining.

If only Huntsville would take a page out of College Station’s book, maybe then it wouldn’t be so bland and maybe then every weekend the city wouldn’t turn into a ghost town.

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