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While it’s true that first impressions count, I’ve seen firsthand that second impressions are just as important – if not more so.
The other day, I saw a man strutting down the street in some pretty wicked cowboy boots. This guy had a vibe and I’ll be damned if he didn’t completely own the footpath under his boots. His face was well-worn and kind of dusty. It fit the likely story: he’d been up for a few days attending to important cowboy business and was just searching for a shaded corner to rest his weary head. He’d seen things. You could just tell.
Oh, then he shoved his hand into a parking ticket machine in search of loose coins, and everything changed. When he realised that the machine was empty, he progressed to the next machine. Each time he grew more and more impatient and increased the rate of his strut, which made him look desperate. By the time he reached the end of the street, he was frantic and had started waving his hands in the air like he cared. In case you didn’t know, cowboys aren’t supposed to care.
So the man I first thought was a cowboy was in fact no cowboy at all. As it turns out, he was just some guy foraging for coins in his cowboy boots. I felt deceived and even a little violated by his silent assertion that he was bravado personified. I guess if he had just rifled through ONE machine, I could have given him a pass. Cowboys can be opportunists, too. BUT, he needed to do it in a ‘devil may care’ manner and look completely chill upon realising there were no coins. That would be totally cowboy. But he didn’t do that…
Hell, if he had found a coin he could still have maintained his cowboy image by giving it a flick to a passerby in exchange for a cigarette (it’s OK for cowboys to pay for goods and services), or by stomping on it with his boot – pulverising it into its liquid state and soldering it into his spurs with his bare hands. He wouldn’t even feel the pain of the molten metal because his hands would be calloused from the many years of such bravado. Not only would this be DIY cowboy, but it would also be totally badass and would have restored my faith in this cowboy who had lost his way.
But this isn’t what happened. My experience was with ‘cheapskate cowboy’ – skating along on his deceitful boots, hunting for free money. You know, the money probably wasn’t even for cigarettes; he probably just needed to pay an overdue library fee, do his dry-cleaning or something similarly sad.
Such was the disappointment of Cheapskate Cowboy.