Thursday, January 23, 2014

one bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch, girl

So I was listening to "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys" this morning, sandwiched between the Beatles' "Two of Us" and Mozart's "Symphony No. 25 in G Minor" because thankfully I was born part of the shuffle generation, and I was thinking how disingenuous some of the lyrics are.  Because they say in the chorus, "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys.  Don't let 'em pick guitars and drive them old trucks, let 'em be doctors and lawyers and such," and really, Willie?  Really, Waylon?  Maybe I've got an overly provincial attitude toward the aptitudes and interests of the typical cowboy, but I don't know a single cowboy who was like, "Hmm.  Should I be a doctor or a bronc rider?  A lawyer or a team roper?"  In my experience, that flat out is not happening.  Maybe more now in these blessed modern times in which people have more exposure to different lifestyle choices, and are maybe being taught more that they can have it all, but certainly not when that song was written.

I do think there are a goodly number of men who entertain fantasies of being cowboys and once they've made their money being lawyers and doctors they go out and buy a gentleman's ranch that they can putter around on and pretend to be Rooster Cogburn or Matt Dillon or whatever.  But most lifelong cowboys I know were never going to be anything like a doctor or a lawyer.  Too bad we can't go back to living in frontier towns where everybody is a cowboy, from the doctor to the storekeeper to the priest.  Depending on which movie you watch it seems like a pretty great life. 

Would someone do a Venn diagram of Farmers, Cowboys, Gunslingers, and Outlaws, and how often those things overlap with doctorin' and lawyerin'?  Until then this thing I found on the internet will have to do: