At long last, I find out I'm not alone. It's a scientific fact. Men take more risks when pretty women are around.
When I met The Cowgirl in Austin, I was at the top of my game, way above it all. I was fond of saying about myself: This is not my first rodeo. She was 25 and I was in my 40's. We became good friends.
I had a girl friend younger than she was, and she was in love with a part-time politico named Rex. He was a real cowboy. Broke horses and took rich people on hunting trips in Montana. She used to tell me: Billy, I could never respect a man who didn't wear a suit and tie to work, and I could never love a man who wasn't a cowboy. When I'm with Rex, I feel like I'm the luckiest girl in the world.
She was a fantastic dancer with long blonde hair and that perfectly smooth skin some blondes have.
But I was above all that.
I ended up on my knees in a parking lot, using a little fire extinguisher from a shoe store to battle a fire that was blazing around the muffler of her white Pinto. I had it whipped, too, until the fire extinguisher ran out of foam.
I was walking away from the car in disgust when a fire truck pulled into the parking lot.
The firemen put their truck between them and the Pinto and drowned the fire with a million gallons of water or so. They got a kick out of my little fire extinguisher. They'd look at me, then they'd look at the young blonde and say things like: Was probably good the tank was full. Not as likely to explode that way.
The cowgirl warned me not to marry my girlfriend. Texas women do that. Even if they don't want you, they know they're the only women good enough for you. I didn't heed the warning, but, after 30 years of marriage, when my wife composted my white bread the other day to keep me from eating it, I remembered the Cowgirl's warning.