Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

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The solution to the problems of all crafty vocationally frustrated people

Here on LJ, one theme that hits home over and over is how many LJ users are incredibly good at crafts and incredibly frustrated at their non-craft professions. The part of me that, in the words of a recent country and western song "wants to talk about me, me, me" is tempted to render a post about how, being more untalented at crafts than the cowbird (who builds no nest, but merely lays eggs in other birds' nests), I qualify on LiveJournal as
an Under-Represented Skills Shortfall Group (URSS) member, and that
as an URSS member, I should be entitled be entitled to particular perks, such as acclamation as moderator of a community called "shunned without talent". But today I am out to changeyourworld, so I put aside the five paragraph post about the travails of being a URSS (not to mention the post about how I was a stepchild for 6 weeks once), and offer to the LJ world this incredible new insight I have gained. I already offered it to burninggirl, who is also of the privileged crafty LiveJournal majority (PCLJM), but I realize this gift is so large I must share it with all.

It all began when something (my sister's fiance would say "God", but, theist though I am, I tend to go with less interactive choices like "intuition" and "whimsy") TOLD me to stop by the Tom Thumb grocery store for something to read on my way to Boston Market [for those of you who are geographically challenged non-Texans (GCNTs), I'll explain that Boston Market is a place where they serve you chicken or turkey and vegetables on plastic plates really quickly for money, and Tom Thumb is a "greengrocer" gone mad.

I found myself in the Tom Thumb, guided by the Voice of Whimsy (VOW), when Destiny spoke. Destiny has a gravelly, Willie Nelson kind of voice, and he said "buy that damn magazine, podner". I looked down and there was the Dallas glossy magazine. Now there's much for the elite in our local glossy (lg). The articles tell us about statewide politics, fashionable people, vacations at hotels more expensive than even the VOW can afford (particularly when the VOW lived on carpenter's pay, and apparently did not do much foreign travel, other than, in one faith's "additional gospel-style account" (AGSA), a side trip to Mexico), and which fashions from London the local Dallas matron should be wearing (okay, so we look over the eastern waters here--Stanley Marcus, rest in peace).

In such a resource, I would not expect to find what I now freely offer to the crafty among you. But there it was, as if divinely planted for my Boston Market excursion. There it was,
on the cover just below the blurb about the article how a bunch of rich donors are rediscovering the cowgirl (who had apparently become lost, and now is being appropriately commemorated in a museum, museums being much less expensive and much more fashionable than, say, pay equity for women today).

I will say it all in two words: Cowboy Boots. The article was about the lost art of hand-crafted boot-making. You see, most cowboy boots, practical, workmanlike things, are made by machines, largely in Mexico (which the article was hinted was somehow bad, but assuming that working conditions there are acceptable, I'd proudly stand in the charro tradition in my boot choices anytime).
The article pointed out that there is another alternative:
hand-made cowboy boots.

Now the last time I went to the Tony Llama store factory outlet in
El Paso, I was able to get attractive and stylish "roper" cowboy boots that I wore for years and my brother wears still for something like 50 dollars (in Dallas, where we look to the east, boots are a weekend thing; in Fort Worth a mere forty miles and a universe away, they look to the west, and boots can be business attire). But these "hand-made" boots are not trifles available for a pittance. They retail for five hundred to a thousand dollars a pair. It's no surprise that the people who order the boots include people like Sting, Sheryl Crow and more Talentless Young Actors (TYAs) than you can shake a stick at, and the poshest Austin and Hill Country places have waiting lists for new boots that can stretch as long as three years.

What is the job calling in this, my crafty reader is no doubt asking? It turns out there is a Texas (and that means for all practical purposes the whole world in this context) desperate shortage of Qualified Handmade Boot Makers (QHBMs). Here is where you come in, my crafty friends.

Ah, the joys of leather boot-making. The hand-crafting of the
heels, the sewing on of the little Ado Annie flowers, and the
stitching of the calf's head skull along the sides. This is not a mere job, this is a Calling!

It turns out that only one school in the US teaches this lost art of cowboy boot-making. It's the Okmulgee technical branch of
Oklahoma State University. You can read more here.

So I say a simple phrase to all of you of the PLJCM who are frustrated with jobs in which you cannot write your inner novel,
paint your inward Sistine Chapel, or save the world through macrame. That phrase is: "Make Boots". I will come visit you all in Okmulgee, a charming rural Oklahoma town, once you are all settled in. Then I expect to see hand-crafted cowboy boot stores spring up world-wide, and domestic happiness among the
PCLJM to skyrocket. I look forward to the day when I can join, as a purely honorary member, the new community "craftyhipbootpeople".

This has been a public service announcement by Gurdonark,
"where lack of talent has never meant a lack of posts".
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