Octogenarian Oilmen Say the Darnedest Things

Photo: Dan Sellers
Photo: Dan Sellers

The best thing about octogenarian oilmen is that they tend to have names like T. Boone Pickens. The second-best thing is that they do whatever the hell they want. Which explains, of course, how the aforementioned Pickens has made the unlikely jump from glorified geologist to Dallas’ biggest rock star. Single-handedly, Pickens is: solving the nation’s energy crisis, rescuing Dallas heiresses from the clutches of no-good grifters, and, when necessary, getting Drake to shut up.

As befits a celebrity, the man’s every mundane move seizes headlines. But amidst the flurry of excitement that surrounds what Pickens is doing, we fail to notice the awesomely comical stuff the 84-year-old is saying. As you must know, the third-best thing about octogenarian oilmen: they say whatever the hell they want, too. Today’s gems come from this week’s Rotary Club of Dallas-sponsored Q&A with Pickens.

-On successfully predicting fluctuations in gas prices:  “I just listen to what the Saudi guy says.” (Note of clarification: Pickens was not referring to any “Saudi guy” in particular.)

-On Afghanistan’s abundant natural resource:  “We need energy independence! We need to get rid of the Middle East!  Our people are killed for Iraq! For Afghanistan!…and…(mumble)…they only have rocks.”

-On Washington politics surrounding his plan for a natural gas tax credit:  “Washington doesn’t understand, listen, or care. They won’t do it because it’s too simple.”

-On his new portrait in the Oklahoma capitol rotunda:  “I’m the only one living that’s hanging.”

-On four failed marriages:  “I have no advice.”

-On playing basketball in college:  “Now, picture this: white, five foot nine, and on a basketball scholarship.”

-On a key argument in favor of liquefied natural gas over diesel:  “So the truck driver tells me [that he prefers] natural gas, ‘because it makes my sex better…I don’t smell like diesel, and my wife loves me more.”

-On the controversial Keystone Pipeline:  “If we don’t bring it in, we’ll go down as the dumbest crowd that ever showed up.” and “If that goes to China, we’re gonna be poodles for letting that happen.”

-On essential life skills:  “You can say anything with a straight face.”

Farraz Khan is a D Magazine intern.

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