I saw a man the other day wearing Blue Jeans, pointed boots, a vest and a cowboy hat. His boots had a turquoise inlay that matched his vest. He wore mirrored sunglasses and had a goatee. My first thought was: Did this man actually get dressed, look at a mirror, evaluate his appearance, and say, “Oh yah. That’s what I’m talkin about”. Even Wyatt Earp could not have rocked this outfit. A time later I started dwelling on the “The Old West”
We have heard much said about the old west: It was a simpler time. It was a time when people were people and families were very close to one another. It was a time not yet corrupted by the gadgets of this day and age. It was a time before electronic devices tainted the true meaning of life. It was a time when families told stories, instead of watching television. It was a time when families did not communicate by email, or text messages, but just spoke to one another and had conversations. I have even heard people say that they would like to have grown up during this era. I am going to tell you why these people are full of shit.
Let’s start with waking up in the morning. Do you know what it took to make a cup of coffee back then? You have to get up, build a fire, go outside and get the water and then wait for it to get hot. I don’t think a cup of coffee is even worth all that. Hell I don’t even like to have to walk into the kitchen and wait for the pot to fill up with water. That coffee came in handy since you are dehydrated from sweating your ass off all night in a house with no air conditioning.
Now that you have taken care of your dehydration, you must now deal with your stink. You would probably enjoy a nice shower, but you can’t. You have to take a bath in a metal washtub, so it’s a good thing that you still have that fire going. because you need more hot water heating up as you travel back and forth filling it up. After you are finished with your attempt to clean yourself in a tepid pool of your own filth, you can now empty the wash tub one bucket at a time, unless you live with others. If you do, then they will probably need to bathe in that water before it is discarded. I don’t think being clean is that important.
Now that you are clean, it is time to go to the market. You have to water the horses and then hook them up to the cart. Now you are on your way. Yes, the country is beautiful, and the scenery is captivating, but there are other things, at play, casting a shadow over this blissful experience. The sun is out, and it is hotter than a son of a bitch. Your bath you took is being rendered more unnecessary by the minute. You are also about four feet from the twin asses that are powering your cart. Horses make no consideration for the comfort or convenience of human beings. During your road trip to the market, you will be accompanied by the fragrant hind parts of the equestrian. Since flies and other bugs are magically drawn to horseshit, they will be buzzing your horses asses as if it were a buffet table, as they wait for their next meal to be dispensed.
Later, you get home and you slop the hogs, feed the chickens and do all the other things that people back then had to do for themselves. You might even get caught up, and you will have no more work to do. Now what? I don’t know either. You are hot and sweaty. You have been working your ass off since the moment you got up. It is now three O’clock in the afternoon, and no matter where you go, it is hotter than shit. The only thing there is you can do is to find some shade to sit in while you try very hard to think of reasons not to kill yourself. You may not get a chance to kill yourself if the Indians find you first. I mean you did kick there red asses off their own property so that you could live a life of freedom.
When you romanticize the old west, just remember, there were no police to call, no ambulance, no running water, no electricity, no air-conditioning, no laundry machines and no telling from where your next meal might come. It doesn’t seem like such a simple time to me. I guess back then, if you were a lazy bastard, you had two choices; you could be an outlaw, or you could die of hunger or boredom.
I am not saying that I would be an outlaw, but if there were a train full of wealthy southern slave owners, heading through my town, I would rob them. Not just me, but my whole gang. “Tom Nardone and the Awesome Five” I think it would be exciting for all of us to mount up upon our steeds, while shoutingh, “YAh, Yah” Firing our pistols into the air. I cannot imagine what a rush it would be to be a part of a train robbery. I think it would be exciting to see our faces on wanted posters or read about our pillages in the newspaper. It beats the hell out of smelling horse shit
So the next time you watch a movie about Vikings, gladiators, explorers, or pirates, and you say to yourself, that must have been a wonderful time to live. You should ask yourself a question. Ask yourself if you are particularly fond of the smell of shit. If you are then perhaps, I am mistaken. I am glad that it is 2013, and not 1713.
I am Tom Nardone, and you are welcome.
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- Dodge City, Tombstone, the OK Corral and ‘Wyatt Earp: A Vigilante Life’ (Review) (popmatters.com)
- The Wild West wide boy Wyatt Earp was the hero of the Gunfight at OK Corral (express.co.uk)