Yesterday, Texas Rangers invaded the office of McLennan County’s tax assessor-collector and removed his files and computers. He is accused of cheating on his income tax and not paying $1,300 on a deal he made by selling a county vehicle. The investigators are going to spend a million or more in the investigation that will probably result in his resignation and a jail sentence. The thing that struck me about the news coverage was seeing the large number of Texas Rangers required to invade his office. I always thought it was one Ranger per mob, but for a simple tax evasion crime it takes a dozen or more. The main thing that caught my interest about the story was seeing the Rangers. They all wore cowboy Stetson hats, big belt buckles, hand cuffs and pistol strapped to the belt and white shirts with a pot belly hanging over the belt. It’s the classic dress for the Texas lawman.
I love how folks dress like cowboys. The hat is the key for the cowboy look. A big belt buckle and boots are also essential. A pot-belly hanging over the belt is a must. At the first football game we attended in Temple we saw a fat man dressed like this walking around the track before the game started. We inquired about his identity, and sure enough he was the sheriff. He was a classic.
Some novices don’t know how to properly dress. One weekend when I was in a local feed store a doctor acquaintance was in line behind me. He was from another country and came to shop with the other cowboys. He thought he was dressed in the right cowboy attire. He wore a towering hat like Hoot Gibson, had a red bandana tied around his neck and wore cowboy boots with the pants legs stuffed into the top of the boots. At first I thought it was a joke or he was in some sort of costume. But no, he was for real and thought he was dressed like a cowboy. He looked like a clown. He wasn’t a rhinestone cowboy like Roy Rogers but a throw back to the silent movie era.
I have known a few real cowboys and they don’t dress anything like Texas Rangers or the movie characters. They usually wear old jeans, a work shirt that may be plaid and some scruffy looking boots. They commonly have a western type straw hat that is stained from sweat and dirt. Their belt buckles aren’t even that impressive and they are usually lean people with flatter bellies than their drug store counterpart.
Our mental images and impressions are really heavily influenced by the media. The media is mainly responsible for myths such as one Texas Ranger per mob and superhero rhinestone cowboys. Anyway, I feel a little sorry for that tax assessor-collector being invaded by an army of cowboy Texas Rangers for cheating the government out of 1,300 dollars.