With author Rodney Strange
You just never know when the world as you know it is going to come crashing down around you. There I was last Monday merrily cruising through life with my Rusty Goat mentality just as I've done for years now. I narrowly avoided an accident down at the edge of town when I ran a red light while craning my neck to scope out a hot cowgirl putting gas in her Dually pickup truck. A skimpy little pink blouse that left most of her midriff exposed had caught my eye, but it was those exceptionally short blue jean daisy dukes that nearly caused the wreck. My heart rate had simmered down somewhat by the time I pulled into the parking lot of the local Walmart Dollar Store. On the way in to buy some dunkin' sticks and coffee for tomorrow's breakfast, I fiddled with a package of peanut butter crackers, finally managing to rip through the cellophane. I popped a whole cracker in my mouth and with the first crunch, felt a pinch on my arm. Turning around, I came face to face with a short brunette who has been shamelessly stalking me in recent weeks. Her eyes twinkled as they met mine.
"Can't you find anything better than that to put in your mouth?" she giggled and winked.
I smiled, my cheeks bulging with a wad of chewed cracker.
"When are we going to go dancing? I've been asking you this same question for three weeks? I'm beginning to think you're putting me off!"
Well, my mama taught me to never talk with my mouth full, which was convenient at the moment so I shrugged. Giving her the universal fingers-to-the-ear sign for 'call me,' I turned and scurried on into the Walmart, knowing she didn't have my number.
Once I arrived home, I plopped down into my easy chair, grabbing the laptop and checked my email, wondering what I was going to cook for supper. I took a deep drag off my e-cigarette peace pipe as I deleted everything. Then, with hesitation, I clicked on the link to a dating site. My eyes lit up as I discovered I had one message. Not bad for an old guy, I thought. My enthusiasm faded as I stared at the photo. The message likely had been sent from an out-of-state nursing home. I'm old but not that old, I muttered as I shook my head.
For reasons unknown even to me, I had spontaneously put my profile on a dating site the previous week and up until this moment had not had a single nibble. I didn't expect much. I'm pretty old to most women searching for true love. I'm beat up and rough around the edges. And then there is the issue of who I have become.
My fear is...can I escape that 'Rusty Goat' persona that has become so 'me' over the years? I am very comfortable in this skin. I drawl my Texas accent proudly. I conversate through tales and parables. I'm fond of words like ain't and ya'll and it's really hard to refrain from throwing a damn in here and there. My fear is trying to overcome who I am.
I reluctantly opened the message.
'Hello. I found you on the dating site and I think you would be a perfect fit for my daughter. She is single and apparently intends to remain so for the rest of her life. It worries me that she will end up like me, old and alone. So, I have undertaken the challenge of finding a suitable man for her and I choose you. She lives in your area, is a doctor and a very attractive middle-aged woman. Would you be interested in learning more?'
My mind spun out of control. A doctor? Shaking my head, I knew someone of such prestige would never be interested in the likes of me. I never wanted to be one of 'those people' and it's likely that throughout the years I've missed some golden opportunities because of my insistence to remain 'just a good ol' boy.' But, as I pondered over this, I realized that I thrive on challenges. I've accomplished much in my life and succeeded at most everything I've taken on, except finding true love and getting rich, and I haven't given up on either of them. So, I find myself excited at the prospect of yet another challenge. Perhaps the biggest challenge won't be escaping that Rusty Goat persona...perhaps it will be as simple as making 'those folks' love me for who I am...
My eyes sparkled as I typed my reply.
"Yes, please, tell me more!"