The Western Method

Reaction to the Sycamore Shadows school district’s “Boys into Men” campaign has been overwhelmingly positive, despite isolated complaints from parents disapproving of John Wayne movies as instructional films, usually those intent on raising pantywaists. To enable parents to decide the issue for themselves, I have studied the movies shown by the school district and present a list of six lessons contained therein:

1. Whiskey is a powerful painkiller. Taken for medicinal purposes, it is a miracle drug. A mere pint will facilitate the removal of bullets and arrowheads from deep in the body cavity with bearable discomfort. A quart is adequate for leg amputations. (Present this column at Fingus Drugs, 202 Kishwaukee St., for a 10% discount on the pain-killing whiskey of your choice.)

2. For some men, fist fighting is a hobby, and the greater the number of participants, the more enjoyable it seems to be. Aficionados prefer crowded saloons for the ready availability of whiskey bottles (see 1), tables, and chairs, all of which may be broken over the heads of opponents.

3. The life of a sidekick is hazardous. They are invariably shot or roasted by Indians, and seldom get to kiss girls. When they do kiss a girl, it’s often an ugly one. If you cannot be a leader and wish to live, stay home.

4. Men who mistreat horses are bad guys. While not all abusive men have beaten a horse, those who have will not hesitate to strike women or children as well.

5. The most effective way to deal with bullies is retribution on an appropriate scale, adding 10% for emphasis. Though not a requirement, it is ideal if the bully is standing on a balcony, in front of a large window, or near a stock tank when they receive the retribution. Real-life bullies are not cinema bullies, but the principle is the same: bullies enjoy victims who allow themselves to be bullied. If a bully receives two punches for every punch they throw, they will do the math and seek prey elsewhere. If enough people resist, the bullies will retire and find more peaceful means of entertainment. Some parents suggest authority notification (called “tattling” in the school yard) as a solution, not considering that one day their precious powder-puff will find himself in peril with no authority nearby. Violence must be commensurate with the infraction, however; no one would advocate using a ballistic missile on a schoolboy who swipes a peanut butter sandwich, nor would they consider pushing an evil dictator into a sandbox.

6. There is no substitute for practice. Practice shooting until you can hit your target while lying drunk in a gutter during a rainstorm with your arm in a sling, a slug in your leg, and a patch over one eye. This is the standard of good marksmanship. Although traditionalists prefer a .45-caliber with mother-of-pearl grips, Joe Ballard at Ballard Guns and Bibles, 402 Kishwaukee Street, will assist you in finding the firearm that works best for you. Free box of ammunition with every gun purchase.

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