Friday Night Funnies – “Nice Guys”

by Bruce A. Smith

I didn’t see their arrival when the three Colorado cowboys entered the Steamboat Springs aprés-ski bar. 

Nor did I hear my friend whisper, “Who let those damn cowboys in?”

 But the cowboys heard it and the lead-of-the-three walked up behind me and put a large hand on my shoulder.  With a firm grip, he pulled me around and out of my chair.  As I swung,  straightened my knees and stood up.

 “Are you the guy bad-mouthin’ cowboys?” he asked.

 “No, buddy.  I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I replied.

 “You didn’t say something about ‘damn cowboys’ when I walked in here?”

 “Nah.  I didn’t hear anybody say nothin’ about cowboys.” 

 The blank, naive look on my face convinced him I was telling the truth.

 Then. the cowboy lowered his head and put his chin whisker-close to mine and said, “Whoever did ain’t got no right to be talking about cowboys that way, and I’m gonna see to it that they don’t.” 

 Then tapping me on the chest with the back of his knuckles, he smiled and said, “I wanna fight so bad my teeth are chattering.”

 I smiled back, and put my hand on his shoulder.  “You must want to fight pretty bad,” I said, chuckling.

 He continued grinning for a moment, but then quickly lost his smile.  Squeezing his mouth tight, he said, “Shoot, I can’t fight you, you’re a nice guy.”

 Yes, I’m a nice guy.  I’m a former altar boy, peace-nik, force-for-love-and-righteousness-in-the-world type of nice guy.  I’ve been a Boy Scout, environmental activist, and a healer-in-many-a-hospital.  I’ve helped raise a lot of other men’s children.  Several of my step-daughters told me I’m the role model for the kind of guy they’d like to spend the rest of their lives with.

 But when I left the mother of those children, she and several of her daughters exploded with a rage I didn’t know possible by the human species.

 When I ended my relationship with my next partner – on the day we were to leave New York and relocate to Santa Fe – I spoke for her as she stammered, trying to express a white-hot rage.

“I’m not a very nice guy, am I?”

 “You certainly are not, BUSTER!”

 Later, I learned at work that several of my female colleagues had refused to directly work with me because my large physical size and “masculine-presence” triggers flashbacks of sexual abuse in their childhood.

 Further, the boss who relayed that information to me also announced that my arrogance “terrifies” her, and I didn’t even know I was arrogant.

 For a nice guy, I’m triggering a lot more havoc than I anticipated.  I wonder how much trouble that cowboy has caused in his life? 

 More than mine?  Less?  Is his simply more blatant, and mine more random, hidden by a New Age-Nice Guy sanctimony?

© 2011 Bruce A. Smith

By the way folks, have you heard about another kind of “nice guys,” the nineteen fellows named Phil Campbell who desecended upon the town of Phil Campbell, Alabama recently to help repair the place after it got blown to smithereens by the tornados last month?  I’d love to post the story here, as I’ve just read about it on the online version of the New York Times.  I absolutely loved the piece.  But, of course, I’d be tangled up in a lot of copyright issues and reprint costs, so here’s the link:



This entry was posted in Culture, Entertainment, Folk tales and stories, Friday Night Funny. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Friday Night Funnies – “Nice Guys”

  1. Paula Morris says:

    Geez Bruce! I just have to comment on this article. One of my favorite subjects is “Gender Issues.”

    First, I don’t quite understand why your friend would have made a derogatory comment about a cowboy? I thought men like cowboys? As for at least some of us women, a cowboy signifies this: “Well howdy ma’am. You’re lookin mighty pretty today.” Then, wham bam thank you ma’am. Then, time to ride off into the sunset once again…all this within a week or maybe even a day! Yes, they’re sure pretty to look at but you have to look quick. Cowboy’s bring to mind a picture of hard ridin, hard shootin, hard lovin he-men. But then, their restless nature wins out over consistency, stability, commitment and perseverance under pressure.

    As for you Bruce, the situations you related are outright sexism. No one should be “judged” by their size or looks. I suppose it’s normal to “feel” intimidated by any very large presence, especially if one is a smallish female. But then, the persons’ character and conversation would normally put most people at ease especially if it was pleasant.

    It sounds a little like you are identifying with that cowboy? Do you think your “persona” is reflecting the nice guy you think you are? Are you maybe a bit of a “New Age cowboy? Just askin.

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