Some of our greatest traditions come out of the Wild West, a rough-and-tumble time that forged America into the greatest country in the world. A formative time that gave Americans that hard no-nonsense edge that is universally respected far and wide.
Moreover, some would say that the cowboy ethic is still alive and well and drives not only our dealings with the pitiable nullities who aren't fortunate enough to live here in the "land of the free, home of the brave" -- you know, foreigners -- but is the key to understanding ourselves, what makes us tick.
So here's a little yarn for you all to enjoy and get educated with. There will be a question at the end -- only one -- but I know the kind of smart people who would read something like this here at OpEdNews. I have no doubt you'll all get it right. Or set me straight if I've got it wrong.
It was late summer 1859. Billy Balalaika had just arrived in town and was sitting at the bar of its only tavern. The place was noisy, packed with a lot of grisly fellows wearing dusty chaps and smelling like they hadn't had a bath in three months -- because they hadn't.
Billy was the only guy in the place wearing a black hat. Everyone else had a white hat. That was a weird story in itself. Billy had owned a beautiful stetson he had bought in Durango but a strong gust of wind had blown it into a ravine. So the first thing he tried to do when he got to town was buy a new hat.
The store had an excellent selection. All white. He chose one but the lass at the store said, "Sorry. Can't sell you that." She reached behind the counter and pulled out a black hat, the one he was wearing right now.
"But I want a white hat."
"Can't do it. I've been given instructions. We know who you are. It's this black hat or no hat."
Billy was baffled. But he needed a hat.
So here he sat, brand new black hat tipped back on his head, sitting at the bar, sipping a beer, chatting it up with the bartender, trying make conversation with the two smelly blokes on either side.
Making a dramatic entrance that commanded everyone's attention, in walked Sam Unkel, the roughest, toughest, meanest badass west of Topeka.
Sam drew his gun, walked right up to the bar, roughly turned Billy around, and pointed his six-shooter right at Billy's face.
"I'm going to kill you."
"Are you sure you have the right person? I'm Billy Balalaika."
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