Mythos, the West, and Manliness

This picture popped up in a discussion between my sister me (she’s the disheveled little girl causing trouble). But notice me. I’m ready for anything. There’s nothing I can’t handle.


After all, I’ve got my trusty six-shooter by my side.

Spending one’s boyhood in Chickasha, OK (the horse-trailer capital of the world and the birthplace of Cleavon Little (but I suspect more people know that I was born there than he)) made it next to impossible to know something about cowboys and to want to be one. It was also the time of the Lone Ranger, even if in re-runs, and the return to “those thrilling days of yesteryear.”

As a family picture, this is kind of oddity in that probably shortly after this, Daphne became the outgoing one, the focus of all attention. I think it must of have been not too long after this photo that things changed and she settled fully into her role as the middle child.

This picture bothers me. My eye continues to be drawn to the holster at my side. Even though it’s a toy, I feel look too comfortable with too much of a challenge in my eye. I don’t remember being a troublemaker at that age. I think that came much later. So I kind of hate the idea that I might be feeling empowered by having a gun at my side, even if it is a toy.

If I carry a gun today (which is rare, but I do deer hunt with a handgun occasionally), I feel weight. I feel the weight of responsibility in all its dimensions and risks. I feel far more responsibility than power. I also feel the actual weight. My choices in weapons lean towards the heavy and reliable. But heavy. I really find nothing empowering about a gun, knife, or other weapon. I find them burdensome, with the exception of a really good knife or Leatherman’s Tool in the great outdoors.

I’ve carried and used a lot of weapons. Everything from a pellet gun to a 90mm recoilless rifle with a lot of dangerous in between, so it’s not a question of lack of experience or knowledge. I have had some serious training, including sniper school at Ft. Campbell and I know how much fun it can be to just blow shit up with explosives. But I think I would tell little Tod, if I could, to find other toys. Not to ask for the Johnny Eagle M-14 and M-1911, both of which shot spring-loaded bullets.

On the other hand, I grew up having compulsion against serving in the Army and tackling whatever came my way, so it may not have been all that bad a thing to have all those toy guns. But Zach did not grow up with a toy guns, and instead had other toys that may have included cabbage patch dolls, but still he became a hunter. Peer experiences can be powerful.

I notice a lot of people carrying around town.

They don’t really seem to have the confidence of the little boy above.



2 thoughts on “Mythos, the West, and Manliness

Be nice. It won't hurt either of us.

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