Sunday, January 9, 2011

I'm getting into a cowboy frame of mind

I firmly believe that if given half a chance, 95 percent of Americans would say adios to their day jobs and head out west to become cowboys.

I know this for fact because just yesterday I watched four John Wayne movies, three Clint Eastwood westerns, followed by “Blazing Saddles,” and now I’m thinking about buying a bandana and some boots and hitting the Old Chisholm Trail to Fort Apache with a Fist Full of Dollars – and I figured if I felt that way, then you do, too.

WIFE: “Kids, eat up. Pa has a hankerin’ to spend all our grocery money turning himself into a cowboy, so this may be the last meal you get for a long spell.”

YOUNG ‘UN: “Ah, Ma. What happened to Pa’s hankerin’ to learn Chinese and be a Kung Fu master? I told all my friends we were moving to China.”

WIFE: “Well, now you can tell ‘em we’re staying put, and that we’ll be in the market for some second-hand boots. And be sure to use the words “ain’t” and “whopper-jawed” whenever you can – as in, ‘We ain’t movin’ ‘cause my Pa is a little bit whopper-jawed in the head.’”

The way I see it, you don’t need much in order to be a respectable cowboy. I’m guessing livestock, as in cows, would be a must, but I’m sure goats will suffice seeing that’s all I’ve got. I mean, they’ve got horns, and I can pert-near guarantee they’re just as ornery as cows. So I think I can tick the livestock requirement from my cowboy list of things to get, and move on to the hat department.

Deciding on what cowboy hat to wear is akin to pronouncing to the world what kind of person you truly are. It’s a personal decision that can’t be taken lightly. You’ve got to take time to make the right choice. You’ve got to give some thought to it. You can’t just go into any two-bit trading post and buy the first one you see. You’ve got to peruse and contemplate before you hand over your hard-earned cash.

WIFE: “Peruse? As in window shop? Well, as long as it means your daughter and I get to spend the day at the mall, I’m all for it.”

DAUGHTER: “We’re going to the mall? Oh glorious day! I really need some new shoes, and definitely some accessories to go with my new jewelry. And maybe even some zebra-striped panties! Oh happy day!

A true cowboy would never look for a cowboy hat at the mall. For that matter, I doubt a true cowboy would even understand the concept of mall-ness. Well, he’d understand enough to let the womenfolk out at the door while he moseyed over to the blacksmith’s shop or the saloon, but to actually set boot inside a mall – or anyplace else that would sell zebra-striped knickers – would be beyond his capability. You might as well ask a horse to...

Oh, yeah. That’s another thing a cowboy needs – a horse. Without one, he’d be less than a cowboy. He’d be a cow-baby. He’d be a cow-embryo stuck in his mother’s womb because she’d be too embarrassed to give birth to such a pathetic creature. Yep, a cowboy needs a horse.

WIFE: “You can’t be serious about buying a horse. A horse, really? Our house is falling down around our ears, we’re 27 years in debt, the pantry is bare, the young ‘un needs new shoes, I haven’t had a new dress since we’ve been married, and you want to shell out all your earnings on a mangy, old horse? Are you kiddin’ me?”

YOUNG ‘UN: “Can we name her Floppsy?”

Come to think of it, a horse may be a bit overrated in this day and age. Maybe a banjo would be better (especially since I already own one).

But when all is said and done, being a cowboy is not so much about “things” or “accessories,” it’s more a frame of mind. It’s about being confident; it’s about being one with your inner self; it’s about making do with what you’ve got because if you don’t, the “little missus of the house” will bar the front door, and then you’ll REALLY see what it’s like to live like a cowboy – outside with the goats, on a bedroll, with a log for a pillow.

Yes indeed. It’s tough being a cowboy these days.

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