Near as I can calculate, this is my 100th column for Cowboy State Daily. And its published on my 72nd birthday. When I played football for the Rawlins Outlaws, my jersey number was 72.
The numerology boggles the mind!
A hundred columns adds up to 65,000 words, mas o menos. That equates to “Of Mice and Men” combined with “Old Man and the Sea”, with a column or two left over.
The difference, of course, is in the quality of the writing. And in that regard, I remain a mere slobbering literary groupie in the presence of Hemingway and Steinbeck, as does every other writer. But, I pay attention to word count these days
In terms of output, my meager product is dwarfed by the Joan Barrons, Bill Sniffins and Kerry Drakes of Fourth Estate Wyoming who have been cranking out great columns for decades. I won’t live long enough to get within spittin’ distance of a body of work like that.
Still, I’m the only one of us who got to wear #72 for the Outlaws!
And #72 lined up across the line from Chris LeDoux, when the latter played defensive lineman for the Cheyenne Central Indians, and “Mr. 8 Second Ride” would plant his scrawny elbow in your larynx, leaving you coughing and gagging on the ground, while he sacked your quarterback. And he would steal that buckle from you at Woodchopper’s, while you got your broken clavicle taped up.
Goose-egg. That’s a number.
And #72 considered James Isaac the fastest human he had ever seen. When the Outlaws scrimmaged the Hanna Miners, he was a mere blur in my peripheral vision. And he became a good friend. If you are wondering what this fact has to do with numerology, I’ll clue you in – google The Black 14.
Miller men are not known for our longevity, so 72 stands out for reasons of mortality. We Miller boys generally put in our three-score-and-ten, then play on house money for a few years before cashing in. So, I think I have a couple years of free chips in front of me, but who knows.
So here, in my twilight years, I find myself incredibly grateful to Cowboy State Daily for this opportunity to talk smart and act big in my columns. Thanks guys, for bringing me out of my shell.
The English language is a wonderful instrument, and an incredible tool for satire. It’s fun to explore the boundaries of our mother tongue’s capacity to inform and to enlighten through irony and humor. And its fun to see how many folks take that stuff too seriously and end up hopping around on one foot with their hair on fire.
And it’s fun to swap yarns with y’all, and to reminisce about my Wyoming experience. It’s like sittin’ around a campfire, spittin’ an’ whittlin’ with friends. And watching their bullshit detectors engage as soon as you start to talk.
I like that.
So 72, on his 72nd, tips his sweat-stained Stetson to Cowboy State Daily for the 100th, and gives thanks to y’all – the readers – for this ride. I love the dialog! From the snarky, knuckle-dragging, spittle-laced gnarliness to the ego-strokin’ attaboys, I think this conversation is worth having.
And I’ll close my one-hundredth column by quoting Lord Buckley, the godfather of stand-up comedy who, when closing his routine for the night, would call for the house lights to come up, and would stand humbly in front of his audience and say, “I hope that I won’t embarrass you when I tell you that I love you”.