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Samurai's and Cowboy's

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

Samurai's and Cowboy's

I was finishing my fourth month of fence building. It was okay because I was riding at night. I was positive that out of all the things I’d done in my life riding fence at night to see what I would have to ride out and fix was the most cowboy thing I’d done. I was positive after my time at the ranch. My calluses were second to none on any hands of the state. I was as tough and cowboy as Woody from the first time I saw Toy Story. Fuck your technology Buzz, I had everything figured out until I walked into that bar that night. I still look at that list. Not that I need to, it’s been memorized for years. Shit, it was ingrained into me. That night it was just put into more beautiful words with a little better perspective.

A man in a silk robe that looked like he’d stolen it from a Tarantino movie. I could have expected a geisha, samurai, or anyone who wasn’t white to be in the robe from Asia. I would have been wrong. It was an overly hairy uncovered man in the robe. He should have had a size or two bigger, but he kept this robe wrapped around his wife beater, boxers, and boots as well worn as min, andI had wrapped barbed wire around fence posts the last few months. This mustache-wearing, piece of white trash lookin’ mother fucker was the only other body in the bar beside the tender, who I came to see. With a limp and some confusion I remember planting my ass on that stool. I remember those eyes she gave me as she walked over holding a banquet.

“Hey Daisy, I’ll take the normal please” I smiled as she handed me a beer as cold as the rockies. I remember it tasted different as I looked at this sorry piece of shit holding his pride in his right hand and a drink in his left. I pondered a thought though,

Was it actually from Japan? I could read whatever those symbols were. Could have been from anywhere that’s east as long as you went west from here. Hell it was art to me, but it sure didn’t say much.

Why did this man feel like disrespecting my bar and whatever ninja culture made that wonderfully soft-looking piece of clothing? I had never indulged my studies in any Japanese culture, but it was always one of the most fascinating to me out of those in Asia. The cowboys looked up to their beef, the Americans looked to their technology, and the world looked to their origin culture. I could have had anyone in the bar but this looked bad, almost hit a woman bad.

I decided I’d talk with this man. I decided I’d learn the teaching of the samurai. As one of the most sought-after figures in history, why couldn’t I learn their rules for life as I learned the ones of the great Western American Cowboy? Truth was I could. Truth was I should have done it ages earlier. Truth was the fat old white guy spent thirty-six years in Japan and that was his ex-wife’s old robe. The reason he wore it was because his trailer had just burned down. He had it all taken from him. He lost battles in court and his only child in an accident. Death was the reason for his wife's divorce. So a widow I guess, he just called it like it was her decision. He gave his left over money to try and save her from the cancer. He had been abandoned for years. Left alone by life with no family and long past being part of something.

After a drink and an understatement of where we each came from. That when he called his friend on the phone, that’s when I understood he wasn’t a real samurai, but he was as close as they would come in the modern-day. He and I talked while Daisy worked and listened. With a little more background we started to talk about his thoughts on it all. We began to get the lessons learned and what we could take. He was wicked smart with a que to catch the quotes I dropped. Whether it was Butch Cassidy or Baxter. The three of us stayed up all weeknight to sew together the lessons from the five rings of a samurai, to Mr. Baxter's life lessons on how to be a cowboy. At the end of the night, this is what we’d come up with, something like this.

1. Accept everything the way it is. See accurately not as what you want to see, or what you want them to be, but as it is. If you can’t change it, or it takes too much of your time to change it, then accept it. Keep Walking. Sherlock, samurai’s, and sidekicks to cowboys always saw something no one else did... because they weren’t looking for anything.

2. Don’t seek pleasure for its own sake, Don’t chase pleasure like an addict chases their high. Pleasure isn’t bad, just the thought of seeking it above all else is.

3. Don’t go for partial feelings. Could you even bring yourself to stand at your own display for any form of work if you felt like you only gave it half an effort?

4. Detach from your desires. Remember you’re not seeking pleasure. Food feeds the body and mind, not the taste buds. Books stimulate the mind. Exercise stimulates the body. What do you want v.s. What do you need v.s. What can make you better? It’s almost never a woman, but it can be.

5. Don’t regret what you’ve done. The past cannot be changed. Guilt is selfish. You can learn from it, or agonize over it. Only one carries action. Action carries everything else.

6. Sadness shouldn’t correlate with separation. Death, breakups, dogs. Everything comes to an end. It’s not about the sadness of not having it. As long as it should have lasted, you wanted it to last, or as long as it has left appreciate what you were given. It’s about holding good memories above your head.

7. Complaints don’t lead to any actions. Actions are the only way to get things done. If you’re not doing something to change it, then why even notice. You could hope, but don’t hope. Hope is just the epitome of torture. Beliefs are corrupt if believed blindly or with too much faith.

8. Maximize contentment, for most of life isn’t. Appreciate the joy, for it rarely comes around. Pass on sorrows as you’ll pass more than enough by. Compassion is just pity, and pity is useless. Observe, don't see. It was the first rule but now you shave with Occam's razor.

9. Let go of God, or your beliefs. They are either helping you or not. You either believe it or not. Either Way, people have never been able to prove help or not, so move on.

As I wrote the last one down and slammed the pen own to heavily exclamation how well we’d finished, He started off,

“Here are the rules of life to live by. Here is how I see myself moving forward from this day on.”

I smirked, “Well it’s a bad translation of the thoughts. Bad at least. I may wait until the final draft to change your life”

He took the napkin as he went over to a picture on the wall. He stopped to throw the picture off the wall and into the pool table corner. Eight ball. The jagged nail that protruded out of the wall landed right between his fingers as his hand slapped the wall. A greasy handprint over the top and nine rules of life looked like they fit as they blew in the bar wind. I still have that picture of him standing to admire as the light lit up the lipids his hand left on the loosely hanging list.

The man toasted me and walked out the back door. I assumed it was to piss. That’s what I did back there. That’s what Daisy did if the pisser was plugged. The time passed slow with no words. In a wonderment Daisy and I reflected and everything we had just been through. For an hour and half of my life or less, shit, I don’t know how long I was there, but it’s the most memorable time I’ve had yet. It’s about, but not quite, as memorable as what happened after that. About fifteen later I went to piss, make sure he hadn’t fallen over drunk. He wasn’t there. I remember the confused walk speeding up as I lapped the place. I got Daisy and we went back out to check on him. He was still gone. Kimono lay with his glass at the back door, right where they were set down. No cars had come or gone. No more people, no nothing. No road out back, just a field. A field he disappeared into. I guess cowboy’s get the horse and sunset, and samurai get to walk off in the night. He was gone forever with nothing more than his clear conscience, a little better story, and in his head the nine rules from the cowboy, and samurai.

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