Life Lessons from Old Westerns

My current schedule finds me sitting on the couch during the late afternoon, being mindfully quiet before the evening's meetings or Eucharist or other events that await me after 5:30.  Unfortunately, not much is on television.  I'm not a fan of talk shows.  I watched Dr. Phil until he had the guy that liked to dress as a baby, and his girlfriend happily explained how she tucked her baby boyfriend in his custom-made crib each night.  I prayed for their minister, by the way.  Can you imagine that pre-marital conference?

Oh yes, there are things too out-there even for me.

Friends is on, but I've seen those episodes one too many times, and I'm finding that the friends of the 90's that seemed witty and funny are more annoying now.  Some things do not age well.

I have, however, discovered old westerns on two or three cable channels.  Most aired before I was even born, and given the advertisements of AARP insurance, Fiber One ads, and motorized chairs free with Medicaid, I'm clearly a bit under the chosen demographic.  But, like all things, they have something to offer the world in wisdom (and stupidity, but I'll hold that for another post).

1.  Sometimes you just get the position because you can wear the costume.  I watched one western for a week and realized the special guest stars damsel in distress wore the exact same blue dress.  Four different women.  One pale blue gingham dress.  So, sometimes you may have all the talent in the world and be just the most amazing person ever, but other times, you get the job because you can fit in the costume.  You may not know the exact reason you got the gig, but since you're there anyway, do the best you can.

2.  Bad guys are bad shots.  Always.  They can empty a gun at the star of the show who's standing four feet away and miss every single time.  The good guys, however, can shoot a flea off a wall at twenty miles.  My experience in real life is that those assassinating your character can aim pretty well.  Perhaps the only wisdom here is not to believe that the person with the gun will miss, and also remember that God's healing works from all over creation.

3.  Bar furniture is really not sturdy, nor should it be.  It seems to be broken every few days by someone getting annoyed at someone else and instead of rationally talking their differences out, they just beat the snot out of each other and the furniture in the process.  So, don't spend time and money on things that will likely be broken by someone's careless and immature attitude.  Let the bullies trash the worthless stuff; keep the precious things around people who can respect valuable items.  

4.  And speaking of bar fights, when you find yourself in the unfortunate fix of being in the middle of one (which happens to the best of us from time to time), make sure your friends are people who will have your back, not cower in the corner.  Also realize you often don't know just who will have your back and who will leave you high and dry until the punches are being thrown.  Just add that to the list of annoying life truths.  I have discovered, though, that the louder a person says s/he has your back, the more likely that they are great friends of the corners.

5.  Saloon girls seem to have fun.  They get fancy dresses in bright colors, not those dowdy gingham numbers.  And they wear feathers in their hair and laugh really loudly.  Granted, they have to sit on flimsy chairs because men can't seem to solve their differences with dialogue, but a small trade-off for living out loud.  So many women are sold the bill of goods that the "good girl" persona is the way to go, the good girl who doesn't speak up when others push her around, the good girl who meets every one else's needs at the expense of her own soul's dreams, and the good girl who never does anything to make anyone else uncomfortable.   Remember the quote:  well-behaved women never make history.  So live out loud, laugh more loudly, and wear feathers in your hair.

6.  Horses are better friends than some people.  As as horse person, I can vouch for this.  They also teach you a great deal about working with a created being who can buck you, but would rather trot around the ring showing her stuff and needs your help to do so.

7.  Solving differences with guns breaks saloon furniture and leaves a bunch of dead bodies, neither of which is all that useful for the greater good.  I can't help but think a few good ministers with common sense and the ability to help cowboys learn to disagree agreeably are needed in the world.  Bullets are faster, but do far more damage than the longer space needed to work on the big problems.

8.  Men rocking a pair of jeans and cowboy boots look good.  True then.  True now.

9.  All the street scenes and the vistas aren't for real.  No matter how how charming or quaint the western towns look on television, they are simply facades.  It's what is behind the exterior that makes something real.  True for Hollywood stages and most everything else in life.  

10.  If the world made sense, men would ride sidesaddle.


This is good. Very thoughtful!
churchlady said…
I'm right there on the couch with you (so to speak.) Thanks for giving me some new things to think about while I watch (besides the diabetes supply ads).
Unknown said…
I love the first part---as someone whose heard just about everything when she worked at the church----omg you just never know...some people might not believe it--but people will tell you just about anything you never wanted to know...nice post.
Ivy said…
Speaking of Westerns, have you seen Firefly? Please tell me you've seen Firefly. Space Western. Joss Whedon of Buffy. Nathan Fillion looking...well, delicious as always. It's made of win in so many ways.

revlauriebrock said…
Seen Firefly and Serenity. Own the entire series on DVD. Love it!
it's margaret said…
Yes... but... do saloon girls ever get to know love? --or are they tragic figures who only get ummm messed with and dumped?

Just wondering.

Wonderful post. Thank you.

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