Rodeo in Lebanon

I'm an outlaw, not a hero. I never intended to rescue you. We're our own dragons as well as heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves ~ Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker

There's no question when it comes to my affinity for Tom Robbins. My (since '87) beloved friend Halli Sue introduced me to Still Life With Woodpecker a lifetime ago, and it's been a source of what is real and true for me... in an escapism kinda way. I mean, the main characters in this gorgeous novel are Leigh-Cheri, a redheaded vegetarian liberal princess and former cheerleader, and Bernard Mickey Wrangle, an outlaw bomber with a penchant for tequila known as the Woodpecker. Leigh-Cheri believes it is everyone's job to make the world a better place. Bernard thinks that life is meant to be lived and, on occasion, shaken up. This fictional-not-really story takes place inside a box of Camel cigarettes, cozied up to my very own life's philosophy: be kind. leave a mark. give, at the very least, an awkwardly too-big hug. and enjoy the ride.

So imagine my delight upon hearing of Johnny, a real-life one-man Wild West show in Lebanon. You read me right. I was bee-boppin' along in my grocery-getter listening to an NPR story on the Hezbollah in Lebanon and bam!, Johnny calls in to save the day. Here's a guy who apparently produces the only rodeo show in the Middle East and called in to add his thoughts on the Lebanese people and his experiences there.

OK, just Googled this to see if I could get a quote*:

JOHNNY: ...The people have been nothing but welcoming and wonderful. I guess, my one experience with Hezbollah is that during my trick shooting, I use blanks and, of course, can't get them in that country. I use blanks filled with a wax bullet for audience safety. So I get real bullets on the black market and take the bullets out and make them into the blanks that I need for my show. So basically...
JOHNNY: ...people always ask me what I'm doing, you know, with these, and I tell them I'm disarming Hezbollah one bullet at a time.
CONAN: Johnny, thank you very much. Be careful.
JOHNNY: I will. Thanks a lot.
*NPR, February 26, 2013

Johnny basically opened up my world, once again, to the probability of the existence of Wild West showmen in Lebanon, tequila loving outlaws, and redheaded vegetarian princesses.

I live my life embracing the coexistence of the crazy and the mundane. (I truly have no other choice.) My life is this mix. In my vision of this mortal box of Camels, some of us are trying desperately to make the world a better place; bombers exist; shaking up is necessary; tequila drinking and cheerleading should be required sports; and escaping, just a little bit, to embrace the possibility of rescuing myself from bullshit dragons and saving others from boredom is quite the outlaw's dream.

And so it goes... I've got this rodeo I wouldn't trade for the world. One filled with disarming bullets, and loving all of the outlaws and the princesses.
It's never too late to have a happy childhood ~ Tom Robbins


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