A ramble that ties into almost nothing
The following is a short, nonsensical story that has no application to anything, but caused me to think hard about two different things, resulting in a headache. Since I use blogging mostly as a gigantic brain-dump on you poor souls, here is what transpired in a one-paragraph synopsis:
I YouTubed the video for the Eric Church song ‘Creepin’ – which I feel like is a great song and its detractors astound me, but this is already going to be pointless and rambling, so we’ll get into that another time – because I had never seen it before. Truth be told, I really only started listening to that song a month or so ago; I had heard it sporadically for a year before that and it never really clicked that it was possibly the finest mainstream country song about nothing in quite some time. Anyway, the video ends with Church and his group of bandits flagging the train down, ostensibly to rob it (sort of; Church said that’s not how it goes, but it sure looks that way, although file that under ‘Who Gives a Shit?’, kind of like this blog).
Now that you have a rambling backstory, here are the two takeaways I had that I’m assuming Church and director Peter Zavadil weren’t going for:
1. I am consistently a year or more behind on EVERYTHING cool.
It wasn’t always like that; I used to like cool stuff, dammit. I spent much of my life trying to be cool and now it’s like, “Screw it, I’ll just watch Monty Python for the 47th time.”
Chief, the album this song came from, was released almost two years ago. This video premiered in September 2012. And I like Eric Church’s music, yet somehow I’m too lazy to actively care about things I like.
It’s not just music. I didn’t start watching Justified until the third season and I’m now three seasons behind on Mad Men, and those are only the two best shows on television; I’m sure Breaking Bad is great, mostly because I’ve watched two episodes. I’ll probably sit down and watch it in 2048. Skyfall was probably the best movie made last year, and I watched it last weekend for the first time. And so on.
I struggled to be cool when I was a kid in part because my parents were old farts who thought popular things died in 1984. I will not let that happen with my children; I will be cool, and so will they dammit.
2. What jobs used to be cooler back in the day than they are now?
Robbery used to have a certain gravitas to it. Planning, execution, dusters and bandanas, riding out of town on horses while the owner of the general store fired one shotgun blast straight up in the air and somehow still managed to hit Jimmy right in the back… the whole thing was pretty badass. If you weren’t a lawman in the Old West, you either robbed banks and trains or you were worthless. I get all my history from Tombstone, Unforgiven and Open Range.
If anyone is still reading this, and God bless you if that’s the case, I assume your cable is on the fritz, you may wonder what other jobs were cooler back in the day. Fortunately for you, I’ve compiled that list:
Store owner: The owner of the general store was usually one of the wealthier people in town, had all the newest things from ‘back east’ and never had to shoot anyone (except for poor Jimmy, as mentioned earlier). Nowadays, the closest equivalent would be the manager of Wal-Mart, who is perpetually pissed off and probably strangles hookers in the stock room after hours.
Train engineer: Aside from the occasional robbery, this was a pretty sweet gig. Before cars and planes, this was the only way to see the whole country without riding a horse for six months and losing half your family to typhoid.
Town drunk: According to popular culture, this was a very important position that I feel really served the public.
Prostitute: While STD’s were probably even more rampant without proper care, prostitutes from back in the day were sharply dressed and always had quite a bit of money. They also didn’t have to worry about taking a beating from their pimps, and probably didn’t get addicted to heroin quite so often.
Bartender: While I agree that being a bartender now isn’t the worst thing ever, it used to be even better. You knew everyone’s business and were the owner of your own, most of the whores lived in your saloon and everyone respected you as the guy that had all the booze. And during prohibition, these guys could live like kings running speakeasy’s, since everyone had to have their fix.
Prospector: I say that because the art of prospecting has died in America. When’s the last time you were talking to someone and they said, “Oh, I’m a prospector.” Never, that’s when.