A Sample from

How to Talk Western


Don Beverly

eBooks now Available on-line

A handbook for Easterners and maybe even big city Westerners who, for whatever reason, find themselves in the Golden West, the 'Ole West or just Out West.  This book is for those who need to either pretend they're somebody they're not, understand what the hell a real Westerner is talkin' about or just wanna drop a few Western terms and phrases in conversation with mixed company.  With this book you will know what your new Western friends are talkin' about and be impressed, or more likely, not give a damn. As they say in the West, if you're gonna walk the walk, you gotta talk the talk!             

WARNING! If you are incapable of speaking without an Eastern accent, ('specially New Jersey or Boston), think Copenhagen is a city in Denmark, or do not say "ya'll" and "ain't" frequently with a straight face, then don't waste your money on this book!  Just go to Neiman's in North Dallas and spend lot's more than this cheap book costs, 'cept when you get their bill it ain't gonna be nearly as funny.

  Page Samples

COWBOY UP: Admonition or advisory phrase intended to suggest or recommend that another male, never female, cope with a current personal or physical problem, typically used in the West to address what Easterners would characterize as a fundamental psychological or medical issue only properly treatable at either the Mayo Clinic or by Dr. Phil. More directly handled by Westerners, particularly real Western cowboy types, by straightforward verbal therapy along the lines of: "Get off your dead ass and get back to work!" Or, "You dumb sum'a'bitch, why’d ya stand behind that damn bronc in the first place!" Or, "I told 'ya twice 't check that damn cinch". (Repeat here: "Get off your dead ass and get back to work!") Inbred Eastern sympathy notwithstanding, the phrase is not intended to be used to communicate a sense of love, understanding or caring but rather to be used, particularly in the presence of females in tight jeans, as a manifestation of male macho virility, bordering on outright chauvinism, if you get what I mean. Unless wearing Western boots, this term should never be used. If fly fishing, snow skiing or wearing any item of clothing labeled "Orvis", "Ralph Lauren", "Bogner", "Bass Pro Shop", "L.L. Bean", or for that matter, anything other than "Levis" or possibly "Wrangler", never, never should the term be spoken. Warning: Use extreme care not to use this term to minimize the condition of someone even if he is improperly attired as hereinabove described if he’s big enough to whip your ass when he recovers.

* * *

DUDE: A term which may have originated in the mid-1800s, based on no research, but rather on a persuasive combination of historical guesswork and pure speculation, to describe any male newcomer wearing clean clothes and falling short of the ultimate standard of foppery, the "dandy". Certainly a noun to be distinguished from "greenhorn", as also described somewhere herein, since a "dude" wasn't necessarily "clueless" or inexperienced as a “greenhorn” would be and, as a matter of fact, could be both experienced and sophisticated, at least by way of comparison to the early Western communities where "dudes" hung out, often in gambling halls and on hotel porches. Or a "dude" could simply acquire the label due to his dress or mannerisms, such as is generally the case with today's "dudism".

So, for your purposes in talkin' Western, just wait until your Western associates make a comment about a man's dress or behavior, at which time you may be able to safely throw a couple of pieces of Western lingo together and inject the phrase, "You bet! He's a real dude!" However, if your statement evokes use of the word "cool" from anyone, particularly a female, keep your mouth shut, since the conversation is headed in the direction of the conjunctive, "cool dude", and as an Easterner you are now "clueless" (remember the greenhorn!) about where the discussion may go from here and the Eastern term, "jerk", is known even to those in the far West.

'Sides, “dudes” are famously portrayed in the movies as those whose survival skills have enabled them to avoid hard work and get the girls, thus the logical reason why they have emerged as "cool", since what could be cooler than that combination. Think about it! No matter the reason for coolness, there's always a neat chick close by ‘cause that’s the condition precedent for “cool”. Thus, a "cool dude!"

Lastly, there seems to have emerged the female counterpart of a dude, known as a "dudette", but in my opinion this is something which probably could only exist in California, not in the West.

* * *

GREEN BROKE: Term used by cowboys, or "wranglers" as they seem to prefer being called up in places like Kalispell and Cody, to describe horses which have only been saddled a few times but are still inclined to buck when mounted. Obvious exception is those horses which have been exposed to "horse whisperer" types, since they never seem to buck or do much of anything except behave nicely at clinics for greenhorns and calmly ride off into the sunset after a few minutes of rubbin' and talkin' by the “whisperer.” But the last time my buddy Phil and I tried that with a two-year-old mustang with a faraway look he tore down a perfectly good set of cow pens before we could explain to the colt we just wanted to be friends.

We even tried whispering to the colt but that really seemed to piss him off.

So, we just said to hell with the colt and went for a cup of coffee, discussing en route how we would have trouble selling the damn horse as "green broke" when we couldn’t even get close enough to put a halter on his “wall eyed” head. In the interest of honesty and full disclosure we agreed to just advertise him as "loco", hoping maybe one of the horse whisperers or some bronc rider might be lookin' for a challenge.

But the colt solved our problem. After kickin' down the back chute in the cow pens he took off and we ain't seen him since, although two weeks later we got a hint of where he mighta’ gone when we bumped into a neighbor at the feed store wearing a cast on his left arm.  Said he broke it trying to ride a stray colt that just showed up at his place with a blaze face and faraway look in his eye.

Now, if you've just moved to West Texas from Westchester and a horse trader offers to make you a "hell of'a deal" on a halterless "green broke" buckskin colt with different color eyes and a blaze face, don't ask to see his AQHA papers 'cause he ain’t got any. Also, don't even think about buyin' ole' "loco". Lastly, don't call me or Phil!

* * *

RIDIN' SHOTGUN: During stagecoach days, an armed guard with a shotgun sat up top in the right seat next to the driver, thus the term, "ridin' shotgun", still used today to designate the right front seat passenger in a pick-up, Mercedes or golf cart. However, most better country clubs don't allow shotguns on their golf carts but down along the border in southern Texas and Arizona that policy may be changin’ soon.

Meanwhile, if you're travelling across I-10 most anywhere West of Slidell it might be wise to resurrect the old Western term and observe it, literally. 'Course, if you're in a hybrid or one of those little Minis your passenger won't be able to "ride shotgun", since there just ain't enough room for both a passenger and the shotgun. So you'll have to adjust to the times and designate her as maybe, "ridin' Tazer" or "ridin' pepper spray", although those don't sound nearly as Western or macho.

Actually, I thought about suggesting something like a Colt .357 Magnum as a compromise for Hybrid owners if the shotgun won't fit. But if you're driving a hybrid you have no business messin' with anything but pepper spray anyhow. Matter of fact, what the hell are you doin' on I-10 in that thing in the first place? My advice! If you manage to get as far as el Paso in one piece, pull off, go trade in your little eco-friendly hybrid on a gas guzzlin' dually and don't take any scenic back roads on the rest of your trip to Flagstaff. Lastly, as part of the trade, make the Ford dealer throw in a 12 gauge Winchester Model 12 riot gun and two boxes of buckshot. When you get back on I-10 your passenger will truly be "ridin' shotgun" and even though you're from Chattanooga you'll instantly feel more like a part of the old West!



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