A good horse is a good horse. It’s a way of life, bein a good horse, of keepin your own nose clean for real and for what’s called a “metaphor’ (meanin a thing that ain’t really what y’all think it is), and also of maintainin your own general peace and quiet. Good horses got it a lot easier than bad horses overall. We get less spurs stuck in our sides. We quit workin for the day first, as we brought our cattle in first instead of playin up under saddle or runnin our riders’ legs into cactus. We ain’t got to get schooled nor rode back out for a li’l attitude adjustment before we can turn in for the night. That also means we’re first to the feed troughs. We get to eat the first, soft, sweet, melt in your own mouth leaves of alfalfa hay. Bad horses get the leftover crunchy, sharp, stabby, bitter stems.
I’m for sure a real ranch horse. I’m also kinda a metaphor, like I said it above. Even I, Whiskey, ain’t always what I seem. Hold on to your hats or your bucket-helmet heads, ‘cause I’m about to lay it out for ya:
Good horses ain’t always good.
We all make a break sometimes with our own good selves. Just enough to remember we’re real horses and know what it feels like to be a real horse without all the people-rules we live by. I take my own bad breaks real literal, I guess. But I ain’t never broke bad on purpose, and that’s likely a fact. Once the deed’s been done, though, a good horse ought at least to enjoy it while he can.
Likely you’ve heard how much I love bucket time here on the County Island. Buckets is practically the best thing about bein here. Buckets is good. And I, also, am good. But. Well.
My name’s Whiskey. And I break buckets.
So far, I surmise I broke a dozen in as many years, which really ain’t all that bad if ya think on it. Well, at least a dozen. Original Coors and Coors Light together broke none in that same amount of time, to which I say, good on them.
I have broke the shallow black rubber kind. The tall bucket rubber kind. Regular bucket kinds. Buckets with fancier, more durable — which is to say horse-proof unless you’re me— handles and such. The kind that’s flat on the back, both with normal handles and also those big hooky handles that sit upon the fence rails. Those break on me the most. Then they get wrapped with a thing called duck tape and I break ‘em again, and worse until ducks can’t fix ‘em at all. I have broke big ones, small ones and all the in between ones.
Bring me any kinda bucket ya got, and I can guarantee to break it for ya.
It ain’t much of an appreciated skill on the County Island, seems to me, especially not by our own bucket gal. I also ain’t doin it on purpose. Breakin buckets just kinda happens when I’m around. If I set my actual mind to it, surely I could break ‘em even more.
I’m a horse that eats with gusto. And I pour all my own gusto into the contents of my feed bucket. I like to bury my nose in my feed to thusly inhale it with my gusto as well as eat it with my gusto. And then I fling it. I sometimes run it up the wall where it’s hung and scrape it back and forth to try to get all the best tiny bits stuck in all the deep corners and lick the entire flavor of my feed off my bucket. I used to be able to fling my bucket off the wall and shove it around in the proper dirt. But I ain’t supposed to eat off the dirt no more on account of the bucket gal’s convinced I eat dirt. I ain’t no dirt eatin horse! But one time the sweet talkin’ but evil vet lady said there was lots of dirt and sand inside my own self, and after that, my bucket got damned near chained to the wall so I can’t move it much nor fill it up with proper dirt.
And then, after some spell of endurin all my gusto, even chained-up buckets break. It’d be a whole sadder for a horse except the bucket gal always brings me a new one. The first time I broke one, I had no idea it’d be replaced. I figured well, Whiskey, that’s that. Good thing ya enjoyed bucket time while ya had it. And I was prepared to move on — to eatin from Coors and Coors Light’s buckets, that is. And then it was replaced! I was so happy, I ate with twice my normal gusto. It felt good, havin broke my bucket and gettin a new one. I learned to like the pattern. It got to be a challenge for a horse. Good horse, good bucket, bad break, and kind of a strange rush, and then good horse and good bucket again… I set to seein how much gusto I could pour into each bucket to try to break it faster. I ain’t generally a thrill-seekin horse, but a horse finds his thrills where he can.
The point is, ya should still be a good horse, of course. That should go entirely without a horse sayin. But if ya got a particular vice, maybe that’s alright here on the County Island, assumin it ain’t somethin that’s bonafide bad such as bitin, boltin, buckin. Also probably not rearin nor kickin. Or jiggin while wearin your saddle. Or tossin your head a lot. Or rootin at the bit. There’s a long list.
But breakin bad with your bucket will always get ya a brand-new bucket to enjoy and then to break all over again, sure as my own name’s Whiskey. And I know y’all will remember my name.