Rod Miller: Naked Campfire Politics in The Big Empty

Columnist Rod Miller writes, "Hey, did y’all hear that Rep. Wood Chip is gonna introduce a Genital Intimidation bill? It's a law against intimidatin’ other folks with yer equipment."

Rod Miller

January 21, 20244 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Building a campfire in January out on the winter range is always an iffy proposition, but sometimes it needs to be done. The whole crew was cold and hungry when the sun went down, so we shoveled off a patch of ground and dug firewood out of the snowdrifts.

When we got a blaze going to cook s’mores and boil up some Arbuckles, our fingers started to thaw and the campfire chatter turned to Wyoming politics. Since the legislature was fixin’ to convene shortly, there was a lot to discuss.

“Hey, did y’all hear that Rep. Wood Chip is gonna introduce a Genital Intimidation bill?” Johnson County Johnson’s lips had warmed up to the point that he could talk again. “I kid you not, I ain’t makin’ this stuff up.”

Latigo piped in and said, “’Bout the only thing that intimidates my genitals is the damn saddle horn.”

“No, no”, Johnson retorted, “it's a law against intimidatin’ other folks with yer equipment.”

The blank stares in the circle of firelight clearly indicated that none of these broncpeelers had ever considered that disturbing possibility. 

Trail Boss set us all straight when he explained that, “It ain’t about that. Wood Chip aims to make sure that folks keep their britches up at the mailbox, that’s all. He’s with the Freedom Caucus, an’ he wants to make sure that nekkid people don’t make it uncomfortable for the rest of us to mail letters.”

Little Joe the Wrangler looked confused. “What does that have to do with freedom?”, he queried.

“It ain’t about freedom”, Trail Boss said pedantically, “it's about folks bein’ comfortable goin’ to the mailbox. It's for the children.”

“Ahh, so he’s an Emotional Support Politician, sorta like my ma’s puppy. The li’l feller is trained to lick ma’s face when she’s fixin’ to have a panic attack. God bless Wood Chip!” Little Joe seemed to finally grasp the concept of genital intimidation and it's threat to the general welfare.

One weird political topic deserves another, so Cookie told us, “That ain’t all. This Freedom Caucus gal is gonna introduce the “What Is A Woman?” bill. That oughta clear things up pronto.”

“Wait! I’m confused again.” This from Little Joe. “She’s a woman, but she needs a law sayin’ so?”

“Maybe”, Trail Boss stroked his handlebar mustache as he explained, “But it could be about outlawin’ dudes ridin’ sidesaddle. It might be some sorta Gay Caballero bill.”

For several long moments, we sat around the fire lost in our thoughts. We stirred the embers with sticks and watched the sparks dance in the night.

Eventually wise old Cookie broke the silence. “Waste of goddam time,” he said, “they should pass laws givin’ free eye exams to brand inspectors an’ heart transplants to bankers instead of this damn fool nonsense.”

Stetsons dipped in agreement all around the circle of light.

“But," Little Joe asked in a worried tone, “does this mean I cain’t ride sidesaddle on the trail no more?”

Trail boss stood and stretched his back. “Stop frettin’ Joe. Them folks is from the Freedom Caucus. They’re here to protect our freedom to do as we damn well please...mailboxes, sidesaddles an’ everything.”

There were sighs of relief all around as we kicked snow on the ashes and saddled up again. We pointed out mounts into the dark, ready for another long ride into that uncertain Wyoming night.

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Rod Miller

Political Columnist