Lee Pitts: Wanna be a cowboy?
If you want to be a cowboy you should never skip a neighbor’s branding to attend a PTA retreat, a KISS concert, an aromatherapy workshop, baby shower, or ex-wife’s memorial service.
A real cowboy would never show up for work with purple hair, a nose ring, pony tail, and multiple body piercings, wearing Birkenstocks, spurs without rowels and riding a flat saddle without a horn. If he or she is wearing a ball cap it better say King’s Ropes and not Durocs Rock. He or she better not be driving a KIA with a bumper sticker that says “I Brake for Wolves.”
A cowboy never writes a Christmas letter, wears a buckle from a gay rodeo, doesn’t journal or scrapbook, would never read a Joan Didion book or rent the anniversary CD of Brokeback Mountain. Only a fake cowboy of the drugstore variety would ask, “Who is Larry Mahan?”
Other things a cowboy would never do include riding a mare, get off his horse to help a sickly sheep, make a flower arrangement, or feed and water himself before his horse. He never packs a lunch or carries a canteen if he’s only going to be gone a day or two, and wouldn’t be caught dead carrying a purse dog like a Shih Tzu named Penelope into the coffee shop. If you see an hombre wearing a cowboy hat at a farm equipment show looking at tractors he’s no cowboy. Probably a dairyman or an ag teacher would be more like it.
A cowboy would never order tofu takeout, tiramisu, or the fruit plate from a vegetarian deli. He most definitely would never order a fast food vegetarian burger in the middle of Cherry County, Nebraska, or Elko, Nevada. He or she would never think of asking “Don’t we stop work for brunch or afternoon tea around this outfit?” A real cowboy does not have a personal trainer, personal assistant or private chef. He would never ask another cowboy to shoe his horses, break his colts or eat his allocation of the prunes.
A genuine cowboy does not go “glamping”and he does not throw a rollaway or a futon in the bed wagon to sleep on during a roundup. And by the way, there are no 400 count silk sheets in his bedroll either. Around the campfire at night a real cowboy does not play the oboe or bassoon instead of a guitar and he can sing old cowboy songs at night without stampeding the herd. And he doesn’t quit a cattle drive just because the cookie doesn’t serve espresso, dainty finger sandwiches without crust, or baked Alaska.
A cowboy doesn’t go to a spa with his girlfriend, have a pedicure or get wrapped. The only wrap he’s interested in is his dally. A cowboy sleeps in his underwear and never wears “jammies,” especially the kind with those cutie booties for feet. He doesn’t take off his hat and put it on an adjoining stool at the cattleman’s cafe because he knows some 300 pound truck driver will sit on it. He’d put the watch his grandaddy gave him up for collateral before he’d pawn his saddle.
A real cowboy doesn’t have an investment portfolio or a piece of modern art hanging over his cot in the bunkhouse. He or she doesn’t like to get off his horse to open a gate, doesn’t vacation in the Hamptons and he hardly ever rides his horse into a business establishment like you see them do in old cowboy movies. If he came into a little money he’d buy something practical like a pair of silver spurs before he’d replace the perfectly capable 1950 model Maytag wringer washer that his wife uses. He or she would never think of naming one of his kids Ikea, Pryce, Stonie or Younique.
A real cowboy wouldn’t be caught dead on a combine and would never wear flat shoes, milk a cow, punch a clock or herd sheep.