I had just started my run when a cowboy in a nearby field hailed me to stop.  He rode up to the edge of the road and asked me how often I came out to the valley to run. I had exchanged pleasantries with him before and now just like then his small mongrel bitch made a lunge out of the tall grass only to get the business end of a rope slapped upside and across her head. It would be curious to learn if her bias was racially oriented or if she were naturally ill-tempered or if somewhere along the way she had gotten a taste of gringo flesh and liked it. His Australian Shepard mix was more polite and wagged herself over to me to get petted.

I asked him what his horse’s name was. He looked down sitting atop his pretty fine looking stallion and told me he didn’t have a name. I said, ‘What do you mean, he doesn’t have a name?’ Thinking that this must be the only horse outside of that one song back in the ’70s that was nameless. Every horse since the beginning of time has had a name. How can you not name a horse?

He said, ‘He has problems with names’ (‘tiene problemas con nombres’). I laughed, thinking that was the craziest damn thing I had ever heard concerning a horse.

I said, ‘What do mean he has a problem with names?’ The cowboy ignored my question and pointed to all of his cows that were grazing in the field and said that they all had names. He pointed out a half dozen cows and one by one told me their names.

I asked if his dogs had names and he said yes and proceeded to point at each one and tell me their name.

I got on with my run and laughed over and over to myself at the joint absurdities of coming upon a literal horse with no name and that somehow the horse was to blame.

‘He has problems with names’ will join the shortlist of the other crackerjack nutjob things I’ve heard. Like, listening to the radio one summer day while driving from DC to North Carolina and hearing the announcer describe a boating accident to where he called the one fatality as [having been] ‘seriously killed.’ The unnecessary adverb. Not to mention the unintended over the top hyperbole. What’s it like I wonder to be seriously killed?

Or an Intel colleague in a meeting struggling to describe something, interrupted by some manager in attempt to forestall more useless rhetoric offered a suggestion to which my colleague said, ‘It’s exactly like that,’ then paused, ‘but different.’

Or the time just a short year ago down here in Mexico when a huge unleashed pitbull started his way across the road and as I was picking up a big rock his owner standing just a few short feet way on the other side of the road quietly advised me to put it down saying, ‘He doesn’t like rocks.’

All memorable events seemingly untethered from what we perceive of as normal daily life.

 

 

 

 

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