February 22, 2011

Cultural disconnect

Yesterday was a long day. After class, it was time for Streak's latest chemo treatment. We are giving him a stronger dose this time as it appears that we need to fight with a stronger weapon. We will see if that works. So far, one day into it, he is tired, but ok.

So, anyway, I was at the vet's office here in Norman. This is strictly small animal vet practice. I remember talking to our vet about the perils of trimming dog's nails (got to watch getting the quick) and relating that I remember a story from my youth about my brother trimming a horse's hooves. My dad warned him not to hit the quick, to which my brother asked, "how will I know?" My dad dryly responded: "You will know."

My vet actually was interested and noted that she really didn't know that much about horses. So that was why I found it interesting to find a copy of Western Horseman magazine in the rack--mixed in with the Cat Fancy.

While waiting for Streak's blood work, and then for his chemo IV, I read a couple of issues. I used to recognize that world. I was never in it, per se, though my parents both grew up in that world, and my cousins were, and are, deeply inside the world of saddles, trailers, ropes and boots. We had horses growing up, but it was a sidelight to other stuff. I went to rodeos, but only occasionally. And while I could rope anything from the ground, I never actually roped anything from a horses back.

So I found it fascinating to read. The ads for the professional bull riders (didn't see anyone I recognized or had heard from my family) and those for horse care and boots and hats were just a blast. One advertising the best hat in the world had a young woman sitting in an old bathtub--only showing her legs and hat (and arms). Another showed a young woman running in a pasture in running gear, but the ad was for something to help horses in a performance. I didn't see any horses in the ad.

The political and religious bent was also there. In one column that highlighted "cowboy gear," it showed a man on horseback and then highlighted his choice of boots, hat, rope, etc. In this one, he carried a single shot .45, and said something about "always carry a gun when I am cowboying, just in case something weird happens. But I also believe in the Second Amendment and think that we have the right to protect ourselves in this country." Ok then. Another story hightlighted a guy who braided leather ropes, and he noted that God had taught him to do that to give him one more way to feed his family. I noticed that and the duct tape gloves he used to keep his hands from bleeding and decided to move on.

Anyway, it was not what I expected from our urban vet office, and was a nice little distraction. Their vision of the cowboy is very interesting, and one that is miles away from the historic cowboy, but perhaps close to how the modern cowboy identifies themselves.

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