Remember Ralphie Parker in A Christmas Story? Ralphie’s dream gift was a Red Ryder 200-shot Carbine Action Range Model Air Rifle. I loved the scene where Ralphie imagines that he saves his family from the bad guys who try to storm the house from the back yard. The family cringes under the table in the kitchen as Ralphie with his sharp-shooter eyes takes out the desperadoes.
As I ponder that little pardner, I think Ralphie is onto something deeply profound about cowboy stuff and boys…and men. I suggest something on the scale of Jungian archetypal, if you catch my drift. Because what happened to Ralphie’s imagination happened to mine after I bought myself a pair of Justin genuine leather, pointy-toed cowboy boots. I bought them in, get this, Justin, TX, where they were made.
Something strangely dusty and smelling of the open range came over me as I slipped them on. I squinted my eyes and felt the urge to spit and talk with a deep Western drawl. “Yee haaa! These y’here are some mighty fine boots, y’all. Somebody rustle up some grub for this old cowhand while I go unsaddle and bed down Lightning, my horse. Then I’m gonna mosey on over to the Shady Gulch and quench my thirst. I hope none of them boys in thar is hankering for a fight ’cause I got myself an itchy trigger finger tonight. I’ll be back shortly for the grub, y’hear, Darlin’ ?”I walked away suddenly wanting to whistle the haunting theme music to “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly…wha wha whaaaaaaa; doodle, doodle, dooooo…”.
I reached down and took the boots off and instantly I was myself wanting to parse the Greek verb apostello. I thought of brie and white wine and Starbuck’s lattes. I wanted to ride in my Pontiac and wear comfortable things like my PJ’s. Being dusty with a dry throat seemed revolting. And grub? What the heck is grub? I was stunned witless. What sort of massive electro-magnetic field exists in those boots?
Looking around to see if anyone was watching I shakily slipped the boots back on. A harmonica began to play and I heard a horse whinny. I had the urge to blurt out, “Now you git! I’m the law in this town, and this town ain’t big enough for the two of us.” And spit while I stared, all squinty-eyed, the vermin down.
Carl Jung would probably say that there is a Ralphie in all of us. Ralphie never goes away no matter how old we get. What brings our inner Ralphie out is anything cowboy. That is the fun of a bb gun or a pair of boots. Y’all.