Cowboy movies.

In my previous life as a retail manager of a large chain bookstore, there were a lot of meetings.

A. Lot. Of. Meetings.

Meetings for the staff.

Meetings for the management team.

Meetings for the store managers.

Meetings.  Meetings.  Meetings.

One of the most notable meetings was the annual store managers conference, held in the fall each year.  It was usually a four day drunken affair with interesting sponsorship - "This omelet breakfast brought to you by the people who service your light bulbs!" - fascinating speakers (Lemony Snicket was my all-time favorite) and authors and publishers galore.

One entire day we would be carted around, thousands of bookstore managers, into small rooms where book publishers and movie and music producers would provide a fascinating slide show presentation of what would be out in time for the upcoming holiday season.  What!?!? James Patterson has a new book coming out??!?!  I can't believe it!!!   If we were really, really, really lucky, sometimes there would be a movie trailer.

On this particular day, we were so lucky.

The lights dimmed, and a movie trailer began.  It showed sweeping scenes of the West, men on horseback, men with cowboy hats... you get the idea.

My boss at the time, let's call him Bossman P, was sitting in the row behind me.  

There are a couple things you need to know about Bossman P.  First, he was never able to be quiet.   He mumbled pretty much incessantly.  About anything.  About nothing.  Words poured forth from his mouth at an amazing and alarming rate all the time.  Second, he was a conservative.  And he was really, really, really passionate about his conservatism.  Not only was he conservative, but he was something of a closet racist as well.  He would often refer to groups of people as "The Whatevers."  You know, like "The Mexicans" or "The Gays" or whatever.  Like they were all on the same baseball team or something.

So anyway, this movie trailer starts up, and Bossman P starts mumbling.  "I love cowboy movies." "Clint Eastwood made good westerns." "I used to watch westerns with my dad when I was growing up." "I sure do love cowboy movies." "There just aren't enough good cowboy movies being made any more." 

At this point, the rest of us had gotten something of a CLUE that this wasn't just a great cowboy movie.  

Bossman P, never one to be particularly observant, did not.

"That guy, he looks like a real cowboy."  "Some of the westerns being made aren't all that authentic.  This one looks authentic."  "They sure don't make cowboy movies like they used to."  And on. And on. And on.

I looked at my friend Jen who was sitting beside me, and we both burst out laughing.  It was like a contagious disease at this point.  The laughter began to spread.  First to those sitting closest to us, and then to the next row back, where Bossman P was still waxing poetic about cowboy movies.

Pretty soon, pretty much the whole room was rolling with laughter, except the presenters, who looked quite confused - it wasn't a comedy, for goodness sake - and Bossman P, who kept talking about what makes a cowboy movie a good cowboy movie.  Finally, toward the end of the movie trailer, Bossman P got it.  


Abrupt dead silence.

He was right about one thing, though.  Good cowboy movies are hard to find.

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