Opinion by Jim Duke
Special to The Sopris Sun
Editor’s note: Jim Duke wrote a column, “Kiss My Ass,” in the short-lived Roaring Fork Weekly Journal. His book, “Dances with Donkeys,” is available for purchase on Amazon.
Is it possible to get kicked out of a BurroFest for being a jackass? I think that’s what happened to me last weekend in Mancos. I’m really not sure why I got kicked out, but prefer to think that it was because I was being a badass of some sort. I was told I had to leave for liability reasons. It’s a little hard to believe that at 70-years-old, and while peacefully sitting on my ass, I was still the greatest liability in town. Pretty good braggin’ rights when, even in Mancos, “Where the West Still Lives,” and even during BurroFest, surrounded by unruly asses, I was still the most dangerous hombre.
And, all of this right when I was starting to feel down on myself for getting old. It’s difficult to maintain a hard earned wild and rowdy reputation when you can’t stay up after dark. What’s even worse is that as we grow older, we seem to slowly become invisible. Just as I was about to completely fade out of sight, someone not only saw me, but recognized me to be the badass I really am! Suddenly, I went from being a harmless old man to being a dangerous contender.
I never have minded getting kicked out of places. I’ve been kicked out of most of my favorite bars at some time or another, usually in the company of a favorite mule or donkey. The only times it’s been a nuisance is when they ask me to leave and invite my mule to stay. That leaves me hanging around outside waiting for my ride home. Other than that, I’ve never taken offense to being told to get my ass out of town and have always considered it an acceptable cost of my battle against gentrification.
But, I usually at least know why I’m being kicked out. In this case I was initially told I was a liability and they’d received a complaint. Later, I heard that one of the contestants had diagnosed my burro, Lucky, with Pigeon Fever. A quick look online and a discussion with my vet completely discounted that possibility. Lucky had a slight rub mark from her bitchen (rump strap for a saddle), but nothing that could reasonably be confused with a large, draining abscess characteristic of Pigeon Fever.
Having always had some of the nicest burros and mules around, I’ve often encountered ass-envy in my travels. While I’ve no doubt that I was out of line riding around with the contestants when I wasn’t entered and such, I can’t help but suspect there was a little ass-envy going on. Even though I wasn’t entered, I had received permission to bring Lucky to town to launch the sales of my new book, “Dances With Donkeys,” and at the perfect venue. Unfortunately, my books arrived too late for the BurroFest, which was probably for the best as it would have been embarrassing to get kicked out of my own book signing. But, I didn’t think I’d lost my invitation and, after having been a contestant in the past and having volunteered Lucky to pull the vendor wagon for soft drinks last year, I thought I probably had a little burro-cred. Maybe not.
Meanwhile, I’d like to thank the Mancos Creative District for elevating my status, at least in my own mind, from an innocuous old man to the baddest ass left in the Wild West! And, this without even trying to be bad! I might still have a bright future as a dark outlaw.
The Creative District members are all my friends and I hope they will accept this with the same humor with which it’s delivered. And to whoever I might have offended during BurroFest, I’d like to offer my most sincere apologies and an invitation to kiss my burro anytime they want.