When I was in high school a musician friend wrote a song about his career aspirations. I only remember a few lines of the song, “Mountain Man”, that went something like this:
I want to be a Mountain Man
I want to get a real dark tan
I’m sure that there was more to the song, but what stood out to me was the idea of the mountain man. I don’t think that I had ever heard that term before. In the years that followed I read more about them, and it sounded like an ideal job- living in desperate poverty and loneliness in the mountains, always on the look out for danger, exposed to blinding blizzards and blazing heat, trading whisky and trinkets for the indifferent embraces of native women, and being swindled by The Man at the annual rendezvous. Awesome. I have of course always know that I was unlikely to be a real mountain man, mostly because I lacked two things that every mountain man should have: a big ass beard and a bad ass scar.
Luckily, a bit of open heart surgery earlier this year left me with a nice slice up the chest, and enough time off from work to develop the manly beard that I had wanted for so long. The scar is a bit faded, the beard is much trimmed, and I don’t wear cowboy outfits nearly as often now that I am back to work, but that was a good day to have a big ass beard and a bad ass scar.