Friday, November 04, 2005

Gunslingers and Canoes

Most people have no idea that the relationship between Squinty-Eyed Gunslingers and canoes has been so strained and mutually savage over the years. But Latigo Flint knows. Latigo Flint knows it all too well.

History texts and cinema have glorified and in many ways exaggerated the friction between Squinty-Eyed Gunslingers and Native Americans, yet completely overlook the hundred-years-blood-feud between gunslingers and canoes--a feud that some say continues to this day.

See, the thing about canoes is they enjoy nothing more than dumping Squinty-Eyed Gunslingers into freezing rivers. And this sort of behavior tends to become rather irksome after a while. But that doesn't absolve gunslingers--because the thing about gunslingers is they refuse to remove their spurs when going for a canoe ride, and many a canoe has suffered deep scratches and scores to tender hides and polished gunnels as a result.

A letter from famous lawman and Squinty-Eyed Gunslinger, Wyatt Earp, to his second wife, Celila Blaylock, contained the following passage:
"Darling, as you know, I am often called a killer of men and would not lament it so but for accuracy. However, I am rarely called a burner of canoes and of all my deeds, it is that of which I am most proud. My Love, you cannot know true hatred and upswell of vengeful thoughts until you have experienced a ride in one of these fiendish contraptions. I pray you never do."

Tensions between gunslingers and canoes escalated into all-out war on July 3rd, 1888, when over the course of several attempted crossings, a canoe by the name of Founder McSwamp, managed to single-handedly dump the entire Dalton Gang into the West Fork of the Colorado. They responded with a brutal rampage that left every canoe for miles in either direction slashed and sunk at the bottom of the river, along with nearly a dozen innocent rowboats, four skiffs, two small barges and a blacksmith named George who picked the wrong time to bathe and practice his backstroke.

The authorities were called in and order was soon restored. But the incident left a blight on the wild innocence of a young land and set in motion a new wave of technological innovation that would soon see both gunslingers and canoes slowly fade into obsolescence; never again to be anything more than a charming yet functionless diversion.


At 12:31 AM, Blogger ThePaula said...

Latigo my darling

Your last four posts have all had
"and" in the title!

I wonder how long you can keep that up!

At 2:48 AM, Blogger Sharon said...

Well, gunslinger, I guess this is a bad time to tell you my great-grandmother was a full-blooded Native American.

At 6:54 AM, Blogger Peter said...

Whew!! I thought sharon was about to tell you her great-grandmother was a canoe Latigo.
They certainly are a contrary breed, (canoes) and not to be trusted by anyone, especially anyone wearing spurs I would think.

At 7:41 AM, Blogger fourth_fret said...

Well, gunslinger, I guess this is a bad time to tell you my great-grandmother was a full-blooded canoe. [/brilliantly stolen and subtely changed]

At 8:16 AM, Blogger Ari said...

"a canoe by the name of Founder McSwamp"

(giggling ensued)

At 8:44 AM, Blogger tabitha jane said...

the mcswamps . . . yes, i am well aware of that family. my grandparents hail from colorado you see . . . my grandfather has a bit of squint in his eye and used to entertain us as young children with ghost stories of the mcswamp canoe family that haunted the river above his trailor park . . .

At 9:33 AM, Blogger Blog ho said...

the haunting of slingers by ghostly canoes must surely scare a normally brave man.

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Monkeypotpie said...

I stay away from canoes as a rule. I don't trust 'em. Nor do I trust anyone who asks me to "Go on a canoe trip". I'm pretty sure that it's a euphemism for butt sex.

But I did like the line from Tombstone "You're friends might get me Ike, but not before I turn your head into a canoe."

Which just goes to validate your theory.

At 10:15 AM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Except, of course, for this one fella, a squinty-eyed guy down in Burbank. And, possibly, his sidekick, Kid Relish. Squinty eye's age about 120 I'd say, but still can shuck iron with the best who ever lived.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Junkie70 said...

To tempt a canoe, especially one from the McSwamp heritage, with a scratch from your spur is a likely cause to recieve an instant death wish. It seems that only one aspect of the many hidden dangers gunslingers have faced was touched upon today. I applaud your bravery Latigo.

At 5:17 PM, Blogger greta said...

I agree Latigo,
You just can't trust any sort of pointy water-based mode of transport. I used to go out with a canoe. Bastard left me for one of those inflatable banana thingies tied to the back of a speedboat.

At 8:24 AM, Blogger Dave Morris said...

But what alternative does a squinty-eyed gunslinger wearing spurs have, pray tell? Certainly not an inflatable raft... it would be a whole new century-long feud with more bloodshed and freezing water.

At 6:08 AM, Blogger Amandarama said...

I love that I learn new and interesting historical tidbits every time I visit here. I had no idea that the relationship between gunslingers and canoes was so troubled.

At 12:16 PM, Blogger Cindy-Lou said...

I'm sorry I've been neglecting you lately, my charming diversion.

At 9:11 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Oh, dear Paula--the subjects can't know they're being observed. You had to have known you were dooming the streak the second you clicked.

Actually Sharon, history texts and cinema have greatly exaggerated the friction between Squinty-Eyed Gunslingers and Native Americans.

Verily Peter. It's quite tragic really, and everyone weeps in the end.

Danger Fourth... nothing but heartbreak and blood wait at the end of that trail.

I know Ari... beer spewed from the noses of all four people who know the definition of "founder".

I'd drink a beer of comfortable comradery with your grandfather Tabitha Jane. Yes I would. Probably more than one.

I'm uneasy all the time now Ho. I twitch and shudder when I should be resting.

Exactly Monkeypotpie, euphemisms are not to be trusted. Ever.

I walk the streets of Burbank every night Old Hoss. I'm haunted by something I cannot define.

Thank you Junkie. I am exceedingly brave, this is true. Brave people see some of the things I do and they say, "Damn! That's pretty fuckin' brave right there."

But I'd be willing to bet Greta, that in the end it made you tough and dangerous and also sexy.

Yes, exactly Dave. There's been enough bloodshed--at some point the healing must begin.

It tore innocence in two Amandarama, and burned the ends.

I was at the very edge Cindy-Lou. You've commented not an hour too soon.


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