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!
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.
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
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
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!