Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Calix Meus Inebrians

It means "My Cup Makes Me Drunk." Now why would you want to ruin a perfectly good cowboy sight with a Latin phrase? If you were thinking that then I have a answer for you.

Often cowboys are portrayed as simple, stupid folk with little knowledge outside of roping a steer and riding a horse, but the truth is much more complicated. Trail drives, bunkhouse life, and line work could be tedious events filled with long hours of boredom. To fill this time many cowboys would find themselves reading all types of literature. One story puts a cowhand in a line shack wall papered with old newspapers for an entire winter. After reading the north, south, east, and west walls he was just starting on the ceiling when the weather broke. He doubted he would have made it another week.

From can labels to pulp fiction cowboys would read or find someone to read to them to pass the long hours, but the truly prized works were true literature with Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Sir Thomas Moore are but a few of the prized authors. Having read and reread these works cowboys would often recite favorite passages, memorize favorite lines, and quote specific works. The more knowledgeable this made them appear the happier they seemed to become.

This affectation was not lost on purveyors of sin in the old west. Many saloons, dance halls, and taverns would spice up their names by chosen Latin phrases to attach to their signs, or by taken names from great works and using it for their business. The Oriental, The Alhambra, and the Arabian Nights are but a few examples.

This brings me back to our title. In the true fashion of the old west I propose a title change:

Amigo’s Cantina
Calix Meus Inebrians

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