Real- James Wesley

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  • Songwriters: Neal Lee Coty, Jimmy Melton

Five-hundred channels and there ain’t much on tonight
Except reality shows about some folk’s so-called lives
A pretty girl cries ’cause she don’t get a rose
But she’ll find love next year on her own show

And they call that real

Real is a hand you hold fifty-seven years
Real is a band of gold tremblin’ with fear
It’s the first long tear down an old man’s face, watchin’ his angel slippin’ away
His heart’s so broke, it’s never gonna heal

I call that real

Where I live, housewives don’t act like that
And the survivors are farmers in John Deere hats
Our amazin’ race is beatin’ the check
Prayin’ that the bank ain’t ran it through yet

Real, like too much rain fallin’ from the sky
Real, like the drought that came around here last July
It’s the damn boll weevils and the market and the weeds, the prayer they’re sayin’ when they plant the seeds
And the chance they take to bring us our next meal

I call that real

Real, like a job you lose ’cause it moves to Mexico
Like a mama and a baby with no safe place to go
Like a little dream-house with a big old foreclosed sign
Like a flag-draped coffin and a twenty-one gun goodbye

I call that real
Man, I call that real
Oh, I call that real

Cowboy Wisdom

  1. There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence.
  2. Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from any direction.
  3. When a cowboy’s too old to set a bad example, he hands out good advice.
  4. Letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back in.
  5. Don’t squat with your spurs on.
  6. A decent cowboy does not take what belongs to someone else and if he does he deserves to be strung up and left for the flies and coyotes.
  7. Never miss a good chance to shut up.
  8. If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.
  9. Conflict follows wrongdoing as surely as flies follow the herd.
  10. If you get to thinking you’re a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else’s dog around.
  11. Never drop your gun to hug a grizzly.
  12. If you’re riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.
  13. Broke is what happens when a cowboy lets his yearnin’s get ahead of his earnin’s.
  14. Worry is like a rockin’ horse. It’s something to do that don’t get you nowhere.
  15. Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.
  16. Keep skunks, lawyers, and bankers at a distance.
  17. Don’t corner something meaner than you.
  18. When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
  19. Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance
  20. Don’t worry about bitin’ off more’n you can chew; your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger’n you think.
  21. Only a fool argues with skunk, a mule, or a cook.
  22. There’s two theories to arguin’ with a woman. Neither one works.
  23. Speak your mind, but ride a fast horse.
  24. There never was a horse that couldn’t be rode, there never was a rider that couldn’t be throwed.
  25. An old timer is a man who’s had a lot of interesting experiences — some of them true.
  26. Never drink unless you’re alone or with somebody.
  27. A full house divided don’t win no pots.
  28. No one but cattle know why they stampede and the ain’t talking.
  29. An angry bull is less dangerous than an angry woman.
  30. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Teenage Rebellion

Most of the time, what my Mom wanted me to do was for my benefit.  She did want me to get a perm.  Not sure why, but for years she kept telling me to get one.  I never did give in on that one, and I am glad that on that point I held my ground.  There are embarrassing pictures of my youthful rebellion floating around, but no perms.

My hair is naturally curly.  I hated it.  The cool hair in junior high was the Shawn Cassidy hair, parted in the middle, straight, and feathered back.  That was never going to happen with my hair.  Fortunately, times changed, and later in the ’80’s I could do all kinds of things with my hair.  The curl was good, and as much as I could never feather it, I sure could get a pretty good pompadour.

It would be nice if hair was all there was to teenage rebellion.  I would be fine with whatever hairstyle or clothing.  Unfortunately it doesn’t always express itself that way.

My oldest son is 16.  He has managed to find his way into all sorts of trouble.  He does not go to regular high school.  He has done drugs, stealing, and hanging out with the wrong crowd.  He has even been arrested for possession.

I use to believe that kids go that way because of bad things that happened in their lives.  I’m sure that is a cause for some, but I no longer believe that is always the case.  I’m not a psychologist.  As much as I am vesting in my child and trying to figure out his motives, I cannot do so.  If there is something I don’t know of, he isn’t sharing it.  Boredom and companionship seem as much a driving force as escaping pain.

As a parent that it is easy to blame yourself.  We have made mistakes, as no parent is perfect, but this isn’t how we raised him.  I want so much more for him.  I can reason through the pain, as I do not control him.  He is an individual who makes his own choices right or wrong.  That does not erase the pain.  I think too many parents beat themselves up over their child’s choices.  It is easy to do, but it doesn’t make it right.

I can share my values, and talk to him about why they are important.  I can love him deeply, and I do.  I can and do impose rules and force compliance.  What I can’t do is force him to embrace truth.  That must come from him.

I believed strongly that if we could move him to a different place it would change the direction he was heading.  I am not sure of that anymore.  There is that element everywhere, and as he has made his home among a certain group, he will likely seek out that group no matter where we are.  It has become his comfort zone.  It is up to him to change that.

I have seen kids I grew up with go that same direction.  Some turn out fine, but many handicap themselves for years.  Some never make it out at all.  I wish he had chosen better.

I wish his rebellion was saying no to a perm.