I wanted to write a Western story this morning. I was thinking about dusty sun baked main streets, tumble weeds and emptiness. I had the image of golden sands blowing into a once thriving town. My imagination pictured your basic Hollywood back-lot Western set for some show like Gunsmoke or Bonanza, abandoned. A community now bereft of life to be reclaimed by the lands that surrounded it. I probably shouldn’t have watched Rio Bravo twice over the weekend.
I started to write, to try and formulate some kind of story about the goodness and decency that could be found in all of us, but I got sidetracked by the people around me talking about work or their lives or shootings that took place in their own real life neighborhoods over the weekend. The idea of a just and righteous cowboy riding into town to save the fair mayor’s daughter from the clutches of the evil railroad baron just seemed silly. Pointless even. Plus, all that talking was really distracting.
We’ve lost something I think too. Hearing my fellow workers talk about a guy getting shot in their neighborhood and no one knowing anything about it. Or not even all that concerned about it. We’ve lost the preciousness of our life it would seem. In the West, life could certainly be cheap, but people still struggled on to make something of themselves. Knowing somehow that while they might not get to enjoy the fruits of all their labors their kin might have it a little better, a little easier than they did.
I still want to write a Western themed story. I think there are a lot of stories to tell that incorporate the examples from our collective past that can show us the folly or joy in our present. The story of our independent spirit. Imagine hitching up a horse and just riding from one town to the next and starting over as often as you liked. We seem to live in a time wherein your college degree is more important than your character. It’s too bad we aren’t judged more often by our character and less by the work we are not content to perform. I’d like to think I’d be a man of means if I were in the West, instead of a cubicle cowboy.
It is fantasy of course; life was incredibly rough back then. I like the creature comforts of modern life far too much. I mean, indoor plumbing and toilet paper are pretty awesome. I do like bathing everyday and being clean. I don’t know how well I would have done back then. I probably would have died from that abscessed tooth I had last year.
So now I’m writing this, the sun baked streets of my mind, are like a ghost town of character. I’m bored with the path my life has taken and I do wish to hitch up Old Dollar and ride off into the sunset with my trusted Remington and see what kind of old world romance I could find. A mayor’s daughter that needs rescuing perhaps. Who am I kidding, the Natives will have me scalped and left for the coyotes in less than a week.