An old prospector shuffled into town leading a tired old pack mule. The old man headed straight for the only saloon to clear his parched throat.
He walked up and tied his old mule to the hitching rail. As he stood there brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.
The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying, “Hey old man, have you ever danced?” The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, “No, I never did dance, never really wanted to.”
A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said, “Well you old fool, you’re gonna dance now,” and started shooting at the old man’s feet.
The old prospector, not wanted to get a toe blown off, started hopping around like a flea on a hot skillet. Everybody was laughing fit to be tied.
When the last bullet had been fired the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon. The old man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double barreled shotgun and cocked both hammers.
The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air. The crowd stopped laughing immediately. The young gunslinger heard the sound too, and he turned around very slowly. The silence was almost deafening.
The crowd watched as the young gunslinger stared at the old timer and the large, gaping holes of those twin barrels.
The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man’s hands as he quietly said, “Son, have you ever licked a mule’s ass?” The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, “No sir . . . but I’ve always wanted to.”
There are a few lessons here: never be arrogant; don’t waste ammunition; and whiskey makes you think you’re smarter than you really are.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.