Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the category “cultural commentary”

History of Violence

I met a young man who shared with me that he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of “being involved in a murder trial.”  (I did not meet him as a law client or potential client, but in another manner).

I asked if he had been a witness or juror or defendant.  Defendant was the answer.

He explained further that when he was only 17, he entered into a plea bargain to avoid the risk of a murder conviction as an accomplice to assault and accomplice to murder.    It seems that his father had beaten a man to death and he, the son, was accused of being involved.  He had gone to prison as a result of the plea deal.  He told me that a book was written about his father’s case and trial.

I commented to the young man that I had gone to school with a guy with the same last name, but in another state.  I told him that the kid I knew was named Butch.

“That is my Dad’s name,” he said.  I told him where I grew up.  It was a match.  He told me the year his father was born.  It was two years before my birth.

Same guy.  What a coincidence.  I did not tell the young man the nature of my relationship with his father.

My wife researched the old news story about the murder trial.  Part of it described the father’s criminal history.  Butch was known in his town as a bully it said.  He had many arrests for assault and, well, various violent crimes. Tough man. Had pulled a straight edge razor on the victim in a bar during an argument about high school wrestling.  He wanted his 17 year old son to fight the 28 year old who had criticized his wrestling.  The 28 year old, 6’1″, 245 lbs, was invited by Butch to their home to finish the conflict resolution.  The result was a dead 28 year old.

Decades earlier, when I was 12 and Butch was 14, we went to the same junior high.  Butch was in 9th grade.  I was in 7th.  Butch was a bully, supposedly, by reputation, very tough and mean.  I had a foolishly exaggerated sense of self esteem.  I had watched too many cowboy movies.

So, since my peers were afraid of Butch, I thought it would be hilarious to mock Butch.  Remember the song about not tugging on Superman’s cape and not pulling the mask off the Lone Ranger by Jim Croce?  Well, the song had not come out yet when I was in 7th grade.

It would make a better story if I had saved someone from the school bully.  Rather, I teased him to show I was not afraid.  As he ran by on the way home from school, I ran after him.  It was unthinkable to the other 7th graders.  They were smart.

So Butch noticed the laughter and turned around and saw me imitating him.  He came over to me and knocked the books out from under my arm.  In those days, we did not carry books in backpacks nor, heaven forbid, brief cases.

The onlookers watched, fascinated, as I faced a beating.  To their surprise, and probably mine, I retaliated and knocked Butch’s books out from under his arm, to the ground.  Then he shoved me.  I shoved him back.  A crowd gathered in a circle.

Then a miracle happened.  Butch picked up his books and left.  I like to think that he wondered why I was not afraid.  I wonder too.  It has worked for me on other occasions.   My wife, Sugar, has witnessed the same phenomenon.  (See “A Cry for Help on a Downtown Street ” https://cowboylawyer.wordpress.com/?s=+cry+for+help+).

Butch was either scared of me or he was just in a hurry to beat up some other kid.  I ain’t saying I could whip Butch.  I am just saying that he did not beat me to death like he did that other poor feller.

Girls’ Afternoon Out

My lovely wife, Sugar, aka Miss Texas, on occasion goes to a nail place for manicures and pedicures.  Some women do that.  Girly ones that is.

As you, dear readers, know, it is a universal truth that manly men do not get pedicures, nor do they get manicures.  It is also an undisputed and widely known fact that I myself am a manly man.  Well, until today that is.  This very afternoon I committed an act which likely will lead to me being required to turn in my manly man club membership card.

But I can explain….

Several years ago a horse stepped on my left foot, resulting in an injury to my big toe.  I don’t rightly know whether it broke my toe because I am too tough to get it checked out by medical personnel.  I just know that the subject toe turned black and blue and the toenail fell off.  The injury affected my gait for awhile causing me to go on “injured reserve”  which as you can imagine prevented me from playing in any NFL games for that entire season, whichever season that was several years ago.

Unfortunately, that severe toenail injury resulted in the replacement toenail growing back in thicker and misshapen.  Up until then, my appearance was without flaw.  Since then, I have been unable to model sandals.  Losing gigs as a sandal model has been costly by limiting my opportunities to earn a decent living.

So, out of economic concern, when Sugar, who was sharing a car with me, thus stranding me at the nail salon, suggested that I get a pedicure while I was stuck there waiting for her anyway, I conceded.

So I did, very self-consciously, take a seat in one of those pedicure chairs, carefully watching the front door in case someone I knew came in.  I was ready to duck.

That toenail on my left big toe now looks and feels mahvelous!!!!!!!!!

Hey, before you judge me, walk a mile in my boots.  It was pretty difficult with that thick, ugly, jagged toenail tearing holes in all my socks.  Now my boots are more comfortable and, darn it, I am more secure about my masculinity than ever.  (Just promise to not tattle to the National Football League Players Association.  I don’t want to be laughed out of the locker room).

 

 

 

One Day at a Time

It can be positive to live each day like the last so as to make the most of life without regrets.

It can be unhealthy to live each day like the last in the sense that one wonders about ending life the next day,  enduring one more day without hope.

It can be courageous to live one day at a time while trying to overcome addiction or the difficulty of an unrelenting medical condition.

Some people are fighting to survive; others are longing to die.

Same choice.  Different perspectives.

 

Life in My Gym

Dr. Lynn writes a blog that I follow called Life in the Gym.  She knows about exercise and stuff.  She also writes excellent political commentary.  She is a smart lady.  Now let’s talk about me and my gym.

I go there enough that I have learned the names of several of the employees.  One of them is Aaron.

Aaron and I talk about various things.  I have learned that he is from Texas.  I too have been to Texas.  (I married a gal from there).  I have complained to Aaron that some JV athletes are using the varsity locker room. (I am really funny because there is only one men’s locker room and we are no longer in high school.)  Aaron humors me by promising to look into the situation.  I have made him keenly aware of my status as an unsigned NFL free agent and he is under strict instructions that if John Elway calls the gym to talk to me about signing with the Broncos, Aaron is to interrupt me even if I am bench-pressing several hundred pounds.  He promises.  I have  requested heavier weights suitable for an athlete of my stature.  He cheerfully assures me that he will see what he can do about the inadequate equipment.

Aaron is not a personal trainer.  He is the guy who brings clean towels to the locker room.  He might be a custodian and maintenance man.  He is a hard worker.

Aaron also does other important tasks.  I have seen him on several occasions help a gym member who is in a wheelchair.  Aaron helps the man put his clothes in a locker.  He goes out on the gym floor with the man.  Aaron helps him get set up at a station where the man can work the weight machine from his wheelchair, exercising his arms.   Aaron adjusts the settings on the machine.  Then he helps the man get changed in the locker room.  But he does more than assist him.  I like hearing how Aaron and this member talk like the friends they have become.  Aaron has a compassionate heart.

Aaron works at my gym.  I like his smile.  I like his style.  I like him.  I nominate him for M.V.P.

Funeral Etiquette

Dear President Obama,

Yesterday, in Washington D.C., where you reside, a funeral service was held for Justice Scalia, who served 30 years on the United States Supreme Court.  It would have been nice of you to have attended.  The flip side is that it was rude of you to not attend.

Maybe you had an excellent excuse.  I do not know what you were doing yesterday.  But you know.  It must have been extremely important.  It must have been top secret.

Of course, if it was top secret, I could have checked it out in Hillary Clinton’s email.

Supreme Court Justices’ lives matter.  They deserve to be honored when their lives end.  Even if one does not agree with all legal rulings made by Justice Scalia, he deserves the thanks of the American people for his service to our nation.  It would have been a good example for us Americans if you had put politics aside and attended the funeral of Justice Scalia.  Instead, you chose to send a different message.  Shame on you!

Sincerely,

An American Citizen

 

Taking Turns Riding Shotgun

Last night, I heard a song with the phrase, “Taking turns riding shotgun.”  (It was a country song).  It struck a chord in me.  I plagiarized it as part of my love note to my wife on her Valentine card this morning.

Romance is wonderful.  It is fun.  It feels good.  People love feeling loved.  Infatuation is exciting.  But romance alone is not enough to sustain a marriage.

I married a pretty lady from Texas.  I call her my hot trophy wife because she looks like the beauty queen she once was.  It was easy to fall for her.  But calling her a trophy wife is shallow of me.  Sugar is anything but shallow.  She is a force to be reckoned with.

I like to think that I am tough.  I like the role of being a protector.  I have seen too many Western movies.  In the West, we use phrases like “I’ve got your back.”  That refers to literally watching out for the other person so no one else shoots them from behind, or, symbolically watching out for the other person by being loyal.

Sugar is tough.  She does not look very tough, but inside she bravely handles adversity.   She overcomes.  She is loyal.

On the stagecoaches in the Old West, there was a man sitting next to the driver who was “riding shotgun.”  The person riding shotgun could shoot at anyone attacking the stage while the driver concentrated on driving the team.  Maybe they took turns.

In marriage,  we need to protect each other.  We might play different roles and do the protecting in different ways, but each partner “rides shotgun” for the other.  Taking turns.

karenandalparty

 

 

Top Bronco Fan Status

My wife, Miss Sugar, is a generous and creative person.

But now let’s talk about me, me, me.  I might have mentioned in other posts that I am an avid Bronco fan (and unsigned NFL free agent to be signed by the Broncos at a future date which has not yet been disclosed).  I have an official NFL jersey identical to that worn by Peyton Manning.  I have a Broncos T shirt.  I have an NFL Players Association shirt obtained in connection with service on the NFLPA Workers Compensation Panel.  I am, as you should have discerned, a pretty big deal.

Sugar is an enabler.  She contributes to my delusions.  Last week she gave me an early Valentine present — a unique silver cuff made by a Navajo artist.  Sugar commissioned the piece of jewelry pictured below.  It was made for me, me, me.  No one else has one like it.  It features the Bronco logo of a horse head.  It is beautiful.  By wearing it, I am automatically the coolest Bronco fan, thanks to Sugar.

IMG_1624

When I am ultimately signed by the Broncos, I will show it to my teammates.  They will be envious.  But I am used to that.

Wait until they see my hot trophy wife.

Now the problem is — what can I get Sugar for Valentine’s Day?

Facing Fears

In the sci fi movie, The Highlander, certain people who are “immortals” cannot be killed by anyone except another immortal cutting off the head of the vanquished.  (Otherwise, the immortals live for centuries without aging).  When the victor cuts off the head of his opponent, an electrical power surrounds him, somehow bestowing the power on him from the one he defeated, making that victor even stronger.

Sometimes I feel like that.  When I face my fears, I emerge stronger than before.

There is a phenomenon that a person who survives a battle, even with wounds and scars, becomes stronger for the next battle.  Most battles are not in war, but personal problems of a normal life.  Most scars are not physical, but emotional.  Most courage is not a lack of fear, but a facing of fear.

John Wayne, my favorite philosopher, said, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”

You, dear readers, have your own examples from your own lives, when you have saddled up and gotten back on the horse.

john wayne quote on courage

The Gift of Hospitality

Miss Sugar and I went to Carl’s Jr. restaurant again today.  We had a coupon for a combo meal with the purchase of another meal.  While we were in line, Luis gave us a big smile and waved in recognition.  Luis is a young man who works there.  He had taken  our order on our last visit.  He gave us the coupon then because he decided that we had waited too long for our malts.  We told him then that there was no problem, but he insisted.

Today he came over to our table while we were eating to thank us for coming back in.  Understand that this is a fast food hamburger joint.  We thanked him for the coupon again.  We told him that we appreciated that he even recognized us.  We chatted some more and learned that he also works as a landscaper AND is taking classes online.  I told him that with his personality I hoped he would continue to work in a job that includes contact with the public.

By contrast, we had lunch at another place the day before and were welcomed by a young man whom we had met probably seven times in the past month.

He asked, “Have you been in before?”  That was his robotized greeting for every diner.

Now I do not expect everyone who meets us to remember us.  However, I do notice when a person who has met us several times has no recollection or acknowledgement of our loyalty as regular customers.

In this case, I reminded him of a conversation that we had on our last visit.

I replied, “Yes, we have been here twice a week since you opened last month.  When we talked last, you told us that you were going home to watch a John Wayne movie marathon.”  (I was wearing my cowboy hat just as I had during that prior conversation).

“Oh, yeah.  I watched three John Wayne movies, Pilgrim.”  That was clever but he still did not have a glimmer of recognition.

I am reminded of a waitress who amazed us a few years ago.  We went to a restaurant in Denver with another couple before we went to a play at the University of Denver, a few blocks from that restaurant.

Months later, we were back at the restaurant and got the same young woman as our server.

When she came to our table, she asked, “Did you make it to the play on time?  I remember that you and the other couple were cutting it close on time.”

Wow!  That lady has an extraordinary memory, but more than that, she makes her customers feel important.

I am married to a lady with the gifts of hospitality and enthusiasm.  Sugar is hosting an Italian dinner for 40 people on Saturday in connection with her art gallery.  She is having artists do live demonstrations from noon until 5 p.m.  then the dinner.  Lest you wonder about my contribution, I want you to know that I am the guy who got up on a stepladder to hang up the festive lights.  Sugar is making lasagna, ziti, bread, cannolis, and Italian green beans.  I will pour the wine.

Sugar will know everyone’s names.  Like I said, I hung up the lights.

 

 

 

Observations on Recent Events

Allow me to make a few brief comments about things that are obvious.  I do this because people smarter than me and more powerful than me are saying things that cause me to wonder whether they are missing some points and why.

Not all immigrants are the same.  There are those who want to come to America to assimilate.  They want to become Americans.  There are others who locate here and then want America to change for them, such as by adopting Sharia law.  There are people who come with the idea of attacking America by posing as refugees.  ISIS has admitted it uses this strategy.  These are not widows and children.  These are military age men who, in the case of Syria, choose to leave Syria rather than fight ISIS.  Some are part of ISIS.  It is not wise to welcome them just to look friendly.  It is okay to be suspicious.

I have read that President Reagan allowed many refugees into our country so we should follow his example.  Those were largely refugees who were fleeing Viet Nam.  Remember the “boat people”?  They did not want to live under Communism.  Churches helped them resettle.  In hindsight, we see that these immigrants from Southeast Asia did not commit any terrorist acts that I am aware of.  So, that turned out to be a good decision.  It resulted in many class valedictorians who are of Vietnamese descent and who are now proudly Americans.

On the other hand, it is not a coincidence that terrorist acts are being committed by men from the Mideast who declare that their murderous acts are in the name of Allah.  Having been told that, is it not stupid to pretend that we don’t believe it is dangerous to our own safety to bring in Islamic men who fit that profile?  President Obama wants us to feel ashamed to say we don’t want them here.  His job and sworn duty is to protect the people of our nation.  That does not require leading sensitivity sessions about not hurting the feelings of foreigners even if they pose a threat.  It is odd that a week after the Paris attacks, which we now know were done by terrorists who were refugees betraying France after being allowed to come there, that we are lectured to ignore what we just witnessed.

It is also interesting to me that Saudi Arabia is not welcoming refugees from Syria.  Is that because the Islamic terrorists would rather come to Europe and America because Saudi Arabia is already a Muslim nation?  Saudi Arabia is not a target.  Or, if that is not the reason, why would another nation with a similar culture not help fellow Muslims?  Why should America do what Saudi Arabia won’t.

President Obama has tried to shame us by saying “That is not who we are” if we are wary of Syrian refugees.  I disagree.  Who we are is a nation which has been attacked by Islamic terrorist and does not want to have that happen again.  We have our own widows as a result of those attacks.  We need to be protective of our own children.  This is an issue where a political correctness argument falls flat.

You are not paranoid if they are really after you.

 

 

 

 

Post Navigation