Gut Rumbles

December 27, 2006

19th century man

Originally published May 3, 2005

I shoulda been a cowboy.

I've watched enough of the "Western Channel" lately to become convinced that I was born after my time. I don't like horses, but if I had been born back then, I would have learned to ride really well. Give me a sidearm, a good rifle, a canteen and a blanket, and I would be ready to go anywhere on my horse.

Life was less complicated in the 19th century. If you didn't like where you were, you just saddled up and rode someplace else. I could do that.

Money went a long way. If you had $30 in your pocket, you were a well-to-do man. You could buy a room, a bath, a whore and a bottle of whiskey and STILL be a well-to-do man the next day, if the whore didn't steal all your money You might be known as "the stranger in town," but if you didn't start any trouble, people left you alone.

Try that today. The government knows everything you do. You must have "ze papers," including a driver's license and a Social Security number. Government keeps track of your bank transactions and they want their cut of that pie. You can't just saddle up and ride to the next town anymore. They'll be watching you.

Oh, I like air conditioning and microwave ovens. Civilization is a good thing. But look at what we sacrificed to get those froo-fraws: Our freedom. Was it worth the trade? I don't think so.

I shoulda been a cowboy.

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