I have been fascinated with cowboys ever since I was a small child of only 24. In the year since then my infatuation with cowboys has grown into an obsession with collecting more and more information about this mysterious people of our nation's ancient past. Who were these pioneers that set out from the landing pods and forged a path through the Indian-infested sulfur mires of Arkansas? I hope to show you exactly who they were!
Let's begin by taking a look at three of the most famous (or infamous) figures from cowboy history. Their deeds range from the nearly saintly to the profoundly villainous, but I promise you that being interesting is one thing these characters succeed at.
The Conical Cowboy
Epitaph: Dared like Icarus to fly too high.
Life Story: No one is quite sure where the Conical Cowboy was born, only that he was said to have been born an orphan in 1823. His cone-shaped body and neckless head terrified the other children at the orphanage, and at the tender age of 10, the Conical Cowboy set out into the world to make his fortune. For a time he wore a diamond hat and worked as a drill bit in the coal mines of South Dakota. He purchased his first gun belt in 1834 and began work in the mining town as the closest thing to a lawman it had.
His first claim to fame came in 1837, when devilish desperado Jicama Hank rolled into town with his gang of thugs known as the Feisty Five. They spent days drinking and womanizing in the local schoolhouse before the Conical Cowboy managed to unscrew himself from his funnel-shaped bed. He confronted the Feisty Five and in a harrowing gun battle shot them all dead except for Jicama Hank. The Conical Cowboy pursued Hank off all the way to West Dakota, and with the help of local marshal Snake "Pete" Waders, managed to arrest Jicama Hank.
Hank was hung the next week and the Conical Cowboy bid his life as a town sheriff adieu so that he could focus on being a marshal with Snake Waders. From 1838 to 1846 the two men kept West Dakota safe from bandits, outlaws, bloodthirsty Indians, and alcohol. Then in 1846 Snake was shot down while investigating identity theft in Summer Pines Falls by a mysterious outlaw known only as "Sniper Jane". Armed with just her nickname, the Conical Cowboy pursued this villain tirelessly throughout the entire year of 1847. At last he confronted her in an abandoned factory and they battled on rusted catwalks using various cowboy fighting arts lost to time. The Conical Cowboy barely bested her, finally shoving her into a huge industrial smelter. Unfortunately, when the Conical Cowboy emerged from the factory he found that someone had stolen his beloved horse That Horse and he is said to have died of a broken heart.
Today we can reveal that "a broken heart" was actually a brain-fluid overpressure disorder called "magno hydrocephalous" caused by the shape of his skull and no doubt excruciatingly painful.
Giant Breasts Guthry
Epitaph: With swollen pecs she walked the line, but at just 27 they broke her spine.
Life Story: Giant Breasts Guthry was born Katherine Guthry to loving parents in the small town of Boston, Massachusetts. When she was born she was apparently normal, but the day she hit puberty her breasts and lips began to swell at a painfully fast rate. Wracked with agony, the 13 year old Guthry fled into the woods near her home where she found a cave to curl up in and endure the weeks of blinding pain as her body changed. Three months later she emerged with a 106 inch bust and lips that were reported to weigh at least three pounds a piece. Realizing that her future was virtually spelled out by her freakish anatomy, Guthry accepted the moniker "Giant Breasts" with a bulging upper lip and began working a brothel called Whore-La-La in Boston's seedy red painted building district.
Things went smoothly for a while, despite Guthry's continued back pain from having to haul around more than half her weight on her chest. Then in 1882 she was attacked by a gang of thugs called The Feisty Five while returning home from the mall. These were not Jicama Hank's Feisty Five, this gang was lead by a fat drunkard named Jicama Holden. Guthry managed to beat one of the men unconscious, steal his double barrel shotgun, and shoot and kill the rest of the gang including their leader. Instead of being welcomed as a hero, the law set out after Guthry and wanted posters went up all over Boston County that wrongfully accused her of murder. Guthry fled Boston and set out on a spree of train and bank robberies throughout the middle part of the country.
In New Oklahoma she met her match in the form of sheriff Drooly Twochins, who possessed a freakishly oversized pair of testicles. Their romance flourished despite the rift of lawlessness between them and they began a relationship that would launch a thousand historic fetish fan fiction websites. In 1889 Giant Breasts Guthry was struck by several dozen prams as they slipped from the pram docking arm at the top of Willow Hats Hill. She was badly injured and her spine was wrenched out of place. While she was able to walk again the pain was so great that she lost the will to live and expired in the fall of 1889.
Baby the Kid
Epitaph: Baby outlaw on the run, didn't have the fastest gun.
Life Story: Baby the Kid was born with the body of an adult man and the oversized head of a baby. While he did not possess the reasoning power of an adult his bizarre countenance drew him to a life of crime. While crawling around the inside of a general store with his mother he managed to pick up a gun belt and two Colt peacemakers. He used these to rob the general store and then stumbled into the street carrying a bag of money. Screaming because he was hungry, Baby the Kid ran to a restaurant and began shooting into the ceiling until a terrified waitress brought him a bowl of oatmeal. He ate half of it and then vomited all over himself and shot the waitress dead before once again fleeing into the street.
Thus began Baby the Kid's brief but terrible life of crime. He stole a horse and left the town to relocate seemingly at random to different towns along a eastwardly course. Baby the Kid shot three dead at a spoon store in Pasco, Illinois and was seen staggering out with a smoking gun in one hand, a bag of spoons in the other, and half of a dinnerware set in his mouth. Indian trackers were employed to follow Baby the Kid's unmistakable stench through the woods of Indiana and wherever he went he left bodies in his wake. Federal marshals confronted Baby the Kid outside of a crib store in Fort Wayne but the criminal managed to somehow shoot his way out.
Baby the Kid was finally cornered only a few miles from Chicago. Barricaded inside an applesauce factory, an entire regiment of the US Army was called in to surround Baby the Kid and ensure escape was not an option. After six hours the infant outlaw waddled out of the front door of the applesauce factory and was instantly shot dead by two Gatling cannons and some 30 repeating rifles. His last words are recorded in this dramatic tale from Captain Augustus Pierce, the commanding officer of the 174th Infantry Regiment:"Ten high caliber shot struck the mewling, hideous creature all at once and he staggered back as if merely slapped. We could all see plain as print the blood flowing out and mixing with the debris of six months of food and filth on his clothes. His stench was unbelievable, like the sewers of hell wafting downwind at us, and a few of my men gave up their lunch into the dust. The rest of us welcomed the smell of burnt powder as we discharged round after round into Baby the Kid.Captain Pierce did not remember for long as he shot himself through the temple only a week later.
At last he collapsed to the ground, struck between the eyes by Private Conner, yet still he was not dead. He writhed there in a pool of blood stuttering out a high-pitched wail that still chills me when I recall it. I ordered first platoon to approach and see if he could be apprehended. Lieutenant Dunprey drew too close to the creature and it lashed out, grabbing his ankle and pulling him close.
With a gasp it said "Boooo booo, baaaah" to him and then fell back on the ground, dead at last. I will not forget this day as long as I live, and may God have mercy on us all for what has transpired."
Well ain't that somethin'?! Cowboys don't do their work without the proper accessories though, so let's take a look at what the wild men of the West used to get by.
Baked Beans - Cowboys frequently ate a type of food called "baked beans" that were actually parts of plants usually mixed with salted pork and a barbecue sauce and then tinned. I know, it sounds primitive to us, but for the saddle-worn cowboy it was his best friend next to the now extinct Pizza Cactus.
Boots - What we call "cowboy boots" today were actually referred to as "dancin' boots" by real cowboys. There were also "work boots", "killin' boots", "pianoin' boots", "sleepin' boots", "boot makin' boots", and "dyin' boots". All looked fairly similar to the naked eye, but subtle microscopic differences allow modern day anthropologists to differentiate the types of boots.
Chaps - The origin and purpose of chaps is still shrouded in mystery. Some physicists believe that they might have been a shield for micro-meteorites that struck the thighs of cowboys while on the trail. Others in the scientific community believe that they may have actually occurred naturally as a sort of callus on the cowboys, forming because cowboys were known to nearly constantly roll cigarettes on their legs.
Cowboy Hat - The cowboy hat or Fedorus Texyoarkana Brimoptera was a type of bird that formed a symbiotic relationship with the cowboys. Even though the highly aggressive cowboy was known to feed on birds and even small children, the cowboy hat was able to land safely on his head because it constantly preened through the cowboy's thick coat of hair searching for parasitic insects.
Friendship Bracelet - Cowboys value nothing more than friendship and anyone who makes their acquaintance was asked to give the cowboy a woven string bracelet to commemorate their friendship. As long as the cowboy remained friends with this person he was obligated to wear the bracelet and one cowboy (Gregarious James) supposedly had both arms and both legs completely covered with them.
Gun Belt - These all leather belts sported loops for bullets and one or two holsters for pistols. Some gun belts were also designed to accommodate shotguns or rifles and a few have even been recorded with loops for bananas along the waist.
Horse - Horses were four-legged animals roughly the same size as cows but two feet taller and much heavier and also longer. Most cowboys used horses to get around because it was faster than walking. During the late 1800s horses were gradually phased out and replaced with the much more efficient giant spiders.
Indian Guide - When cowboys were traveling through difficult terrain or potentially hostile areas they would frequently buy or rent Indian Guides to ensure they took a safe path. In the event of an attack by crazed bloodthirsty Indian tribes the Indian Guide would always bravely sacrifice its own life to protect the cowboy or his horse.
Neckerchief - Similar in purpose to the gorget of medieval plate armor, the neckerchief served to deflect arrows, broadswords, and even great axes from slicing through the vulnerable neck of a cowboy. Sometimes cowboys placed iron bands inside their neckerchiefs to protect from shotguns.
Photochromatic IIS Goggles - These invaluable goggles from Occutech provided excellent protection from sun blindness and even sudden light changes. The lenses of the IIS Goggles were actually two panes of shatterproof plastic with a semi-liquid suspension between them which would react to electrical stimulation. A sensor on the top of the goggles detected light levels and the lenses became more or less opaque depending on need.
Respirator Mask - The earth was still quite new when the cowboys roamed its surface and as continents shifted and strained vast subterranean pockets of toxic gasses could be seen venting into the wasteland above. To combat this lethal environment the cowboys wore a variety of HER or Hazardous Environment Respirators. The earliest of these were made from hollowing out a small cat, filling its head with charcoal, and its body with pure oxygen. Cowboys would then strap the cat to their face and breathe in the through the anus and out through the mouth. This very crude respirator quickly gave way to machined respirators like the one pictured above. These used rechargeable chemical cylinders that filtered contaminants out and gave the wearer hundreds of hours of livable - if very stale - air.
Six Shooter - Also called a "gun" or "revolver", these extremely simple weapons functioned in a similar way to our modern day phazon projectors. Instead of firing negatively charged phazon streams and cooking targets instantly, the "six shooter" used explosives to propel small rocks into the enemies of the cowboy. While not nearly as lethal as phazon bursts, the rocks (or "bullets") moved rapidly enough to put holes in the skin of people and cause them to bleed to death.
Slaved-AI Reconnaissance Probe - This simple semi-autonomous probe drone was frequently used by cowboys to scout ahead of their party while traveling through hostile terrain without the advantage of an Indian Guide. It is believed that one cowboy carried a crude AI processor to control the drone while out of visual range, although little evidence remains of these AI units.
Spurs - When riding the trails on horseback cowboys attached these surprisingly sophisticated devices to the heels of their boots to establish control over their mounts. Archeologists believe that the spur actually entered the flanks of the horse and unspooled lengths of neural-conductive micro fiber into the tissue. This allowed cowboys to create direct neural connections with their horse much in the same way we use deep tissue augers on our children to prepare them for school.
Don't that just beat all?! I surely reckon so! Before we finish up this little journey cowpokes, let's take a look at the terminology in use in those crazy days.
Abe Lincoln: The most famous cowboy ever, also used to refer to cowboys who kiss black people. Ex. "I don't know about Slim von Eisenkreutz, he's been a real Abe Lincoln with all those negroes."
Bronco: A wild horse. Ex. "That Bronco just boarded the rocket without puttin' on its suit!"
Chuck: Food. Ex. "Give me more chuck to put into my face."
Cinch: To close a bag or sack; see also "Fuckin' the Cretin". Ex. "Quickly Lieutenant, cinch the duffle before the eggs hatch!"
Dogie: A calf whose mother has left it. Ex. "C'mere dogie, c'mere! Good dogie! Yes, whose a good dogie? You are, you are! Aww, now stop lickin' my face afore'n I split in half with a shovel!"
Fuckin' the Cretin: A phrase cowboys scream when they close a feedbag. They have to scream it or they are fired from cowboy. Ex. "Fuuuuuuuuuuccccccccckiiiiinn' theeeeeeee creeeeeettttinnnnnn!"
Gumby: When a cowboy dies and falls on top of a book he is called "Gumby" or said to be "Gumbyin' Up". Ex. "Those Blockheads came in here with a ray gun and he just went all Gumby on us."
Hackamore: A specific type of parachute that also has built in solar panels. Ex. "Hackamore deployed, awaiting further orders My Lord."
Humidors: Stetson brand cowboy hats. See also: "Stetson". Ex. "Was that a Stetson or a Humidor?"
Kidney Pad: Refers to a small saddle used by Easterners. Ex. "Owwww, my kidney pad!"
Internet: When someone steals cattle. Ex. "Yup, those cattle got Internet alright."
Maverick: An unbranded cow whose owner is unknown. Ex. "Maverick to Goose, eject! Eject! Nooooooooooooooooooo! Goooooooooooose!"
Moisten the Sand Bar: A phrase used to describe helicopters and dragons. Ex. "Oh my goodness Deadeye Pete, look at all those Moisten the Sand Bars that are out tonight."
Muley: A hornless cow; cowboys do not like to herd mulies. Ex. "Shut yer damn mouth a' fore I shut it for you muley!"
Mustang: A wild horse. Ex. "We don't know the secret of their sorcery but the mustangs will be stopped."
Necktie Social: A hanging in early days. Ex. "Pardon me madam, but will you be attending the necktie social on the fortnight?"
Nester: A squatter who settled on government land, usually to farm. See also: "Nintendo Power". Ex. "This damn gonorrhea is like a bunch of nesters farming acid on my dick."
Nintendo Power: A squatter who settled on private land, usually to farm. See also: "Nester". Ex. "You ain't nothing but a lowlife Nintendo Power."
On the Dodge: Hiding from the police. Ex. "I left my coffee on the Dodge and it spilled on the roof and fell in through the window and burned me something fierce and I swerved and hit the house and flew through the windshield and that's the story of how I met your mother."
Outlaw: Any animal that is particularly wild; the term may also be used for a criminal. Ex. "There is an outlaw. Hurry. Get him."
Paint: A horse with irregular patches of white. Ex. "That's no moon, it's a Paint."
Pope Tuesday: A kind of knot used for setting snare traps for pigeons. Ex. "Our only chance to defeat the pigeons is about fifty spits of hemp and a half dozen pope Tuesdays."
Quirt: A cowboy's "whip" or car. Ex. "We be rollin' in our quirt to the south side."
Remuda: A range outfit's collection of saddle horses; no mares are permitted in a remuda. Ex. "Scramble all fighters, condition remuda."
Road Agent: Cowboy slang for a robber. Ex. "During the 12th century, much of Europe was controlled by road agent barons."
Road Muffins: In the old west bakers used to leave muffins by the roadside because of an alliance between bakers and cowboys. Cowboys liked getting the "Road Muffins". Ex. "OMFG, road muffins! LOL!"
Rustler: A cattle thief. Ex. "Saddam Hussein was an evil madman, a cattle rustler, and a villain in league with Al Qaeda terrorists."
Shindig: A cowboy dance. See also: "Super Shindig" Ex. "I hope this shindig doesn't turn into a super shindig because I lost my whole family at a cowboy dance last year."
Sold His Saddle: If a man has "sold his saddle," it means that he is disgraced or, alternately, that he literally sold his saddle. Ex. "How much you reckon that shop would give me if I sold my saddle?"
Stetson: Any cowboy hat, regardless of the manufacturer, except for Stetson brand hats which are referred to as "Humidors". Ex. "That ain't no Stetson, that's a humidor!"
String: A cowboy's mount, or line, of horses. Ex. "This string is to remind me to punch Old Joe Cottonteeth in the jaw when we get to Tuscaloosa."
Super Shindig: A really fast cowboy dance that sometimes killed people. See also: "Shindig". Ex. "This just in; 19 dead, 43 injured in the aftermath of last night's super shindig. No cowboy has stepped forward to claim responsibility yet."
Tenderfoot: A person who is new to a job. Ex. "Watch the teeth tenderfoot, the skin is real sensitive there."
Waddy: A temporary hand hired when a ranch is short of help. Ex. "A waddy is a temporary hand hired when a ranch is short of help."
Whip: A cowboy's car. See also: "Quirt". Ex. "I just installed hydraulics in my whip."
I love cowboys! Not in the sexual or romantic sense, but I definitely have a whole passel of affection for the hardworking men and women that made our nation what it is today. Let's all tip our hats to the cowboy!
Your Band Sucks: Q&A With Dr. David Thorpe
This week, Something Awful's own adorable egomaniac Dr. David Thorpe has opened up his mind and his heart to the good people of the Something Awful Forums. Dr. Thorpe has condescended to answer their questions about all things music-related, from who you should sleep with to gain indie credibility to who would win in a fight between two former Genesis frontmen.
" In reality, listening to Boston makes you a "man's man," which is not to be confused with homosexuality. On the other hand, I suppose that due to its complicated harmonies, it would be easier to sing "Don't Look Back" in the shower if you had several other men with you. "
Be prepared to learn! But don't worry, it's not the kind of sissy-learning you get from things like "books" and "important life experiences." We promise that this is 100% FUNDUTAINMENT!
A brave pop culture addict puts his foot down once and for all.
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The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.