After having now been in Michoacán for a bunch of months I am finding some amusement regarding the American view that being physically fit is somehow related to being tough. I think it is a popular culture movie thing that somehow got implanted in the collective American psyche that having muscles and a six pack also means that you’re a bad ass.

Being here and seeing truly hard men up close forces you at some point to cogitate that being tough just goes with this territory. They’re tough because they work hard every day. They scrabble together a dinner out of this hard earth which sometimes doesn’t amount to anything more than frijoles and tortillas.

And there is a fierceness that goes with some of their looks to me that says, ‘Gringo you aren’t shit as a man. I can out fight you, out screw you and out work you any day, any time.’

I am an old man now so my pride doesn’t get hurt when someone younger and tougher looks at me that way.

And there are a few old men that give me that same eye of contempt as well. But by the lean tough look of them I reckon that they’ve earned that right.

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