Thanksgiving As A Verb

While cycling through a sliver of five countries in Africa, I happened upon a mobile flea market/art fest.

51HArTIk9uL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The cars and makeshift cargo bikes and pushcarts formed a wagon train circle brimming with handmade crafts and folk art and recycled wares that could all be closed up and rolled on at a moment’s notice.

Khumbu stood at least 6 ft 3 or 4, but his laugh made him taller. I took a shine to his work and he could tell. When I pedaled back around a third time he said, “You coming in for a landing or more circling?”

The clothe these were painted on… mismatched sizes, draped from the tailgate of a VW van older than me –  and carrying the man’s worldly possessions was my guess. When I asked how much for the bike shack, he grinned, then actually reached out and tossled my hair the way Bill Murray did Glida Radner on SNL, stepped  back, drank something out of a flask I had not noticed until then, offered me a swig, when I waved it off, he threw out a ridiculously low price. I countered with four times his asking price and said I would like the one of his van as well, if he’d part with it.  He looked at me for what felt like a long time, like the first time. Still smiling, he asked,

“You’re so money, then?”

For a second I could see my white privilege on full display. I’d just announced, to the entire market really, that I didn’t need to bargain. In fact, I would pay above asking price. I felt like I’d farted in church…. the embodiment of A Bull In A Pushcart China Shop.

I lowered my voice a notch to outdoor level and pointed at my bike. “I’m American so of course I’m loud and graceless and act like I’m money… but among my people, I’m the opposite of money.”

It was silent for too long. Then Khumbu was joined by his friend one pushcart over, and without missing a beat they proceeded to do the “Baby, you are so money!” scene word for word from the film, Swingers. At this point, relieved but suffering serious cultural vertigo, I closed it out with a solid, “Vegas, Baby, Vegas!”

Laughter and nodding all around. Khumbu made a place for me on the bumper. We chatted for the next 20 minutes. He ask me if I wasn’t money, then who was I? I explained about my travels and my writing and the charity bike ride I was embarking on for Children In The Wilderness, and the cover story for Bicycling Magazine. We bonded over the creative arts. Photo on 11-25-15 at 8.23 AM

In the end, Khumbu got me to drink from that flask, and as I choked down the liquor he said, not unkindly. “So we are the same, except you have the world.”

I told him I would try to get my publishers to use his artwork on the cover of the anniversary edition of my first book. I asked him if that would be OK and where we could send payment if it happened. He explained that most of them were artists exiled by Mugabe and on the run. Some had family running with, but his, a son and a wife, were back in Zimbabwe. “It’s no good running or staying, but I had to run.”

Only a few minutes earlier I’d been romanticizing the idea of a life in the traveling arts and crafts mercado. In those moments, I know that I know next to nothing about the nature of suffering.

“It is a lovely thought,” he said. “But I have no address.” He patted his van.

I paid my price for the artwork. He tossled my head one more time.

“But I do have an email, and Yumbo, he has Paypal.”

When the money was sent, I put the agreed upon subject line in the email.

Subject: Nigerian Bankers Are So Money!

Khumbu’s idea.

If anyone wants signed copies of any of my books this holiday season just email me at mtcowboy@teleport.com or message me on FB for pricing and shipping info. A portion of the proceeds goes to help send kids to our summer bike camps.

 

 

Joe Metal Cowboy Kurmaskie Headlining Dec. 4th Benefit for The Oregon City Trail Alliance

metal_cowboy1smlHoliday Kick-off Benefit Event Just Added

Chance to catch my antics live, and support quality community walking and biking programs.

Live show, advocacy, music, book signing, food, drink, prizes.

Benefit for The Oregon City Trail Alliance, Friday, Dec. 4th, 7:00 PM. These folks help out with my summer bike camps, and deserve all the support we can give em!

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images-27Venue: Theater inside The End of The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, 1726 Washington Street, Oregon City.

Benefit for The Oregon City Trail Alliance. A non-profit promoting better biking and walking in the Oregon City area.

I’ll be doing new material, classics, video, slides and Q&A. We’ll eat, drink and be merry!

This will be a ticketed event. 12239973_10153374987414858_845409811768822964_n-1 I will post an update with any cover charge/cost or purchasing info. A chance to catch my act before next spring when the book tour launches. Come on out and kick off the weekend and the holiday season right!

more info: www.metalcowboy.com

And if you haven’t signed and shared my petition yet to save lives affected by iron overload disease, click here: Petition

New Portland Date Added To Book Launch 2016 – Broadway Books May 24th 7pm

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New Date Added To The Metal Cowboy’s Book Launch/Performance Tour 2016

Broadway Books Tuesday May 24th 2016 7pm

563500_10200579667675178_1307083711_nShow, Signing, Mayhem for: A Guide To Falling Down in Public – I’ll cut loose and do my bar/club material, so it might get a little blue, but we’re all grown ups… and it’s  more of a pastel blue.
I once did a hint of my bar show during a week of events in Missouri. Next day Morning Radio called me a button downed Dave Cappelle. I told them they needed to get out more. If anything, I was a button downed Bob Newhart.

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Whoever I show up as, we’ll have a grand time at my favorite local Indie Bookstore.
See you there.
And be sure not to miss Indie’s First Day at Broadway Books, on November 28th 2015.
I’ll be there much of the afternoon with some of Portland’s best and brightest writers. We’ll be recommending our favorite books for holiday gift giving.

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http://www.bookweb.org/indiesfirst

What A Difference A Year Makes!

Exactly one year ago today I stepped back from everything… thought I was wearing out when I was actually being poiso11218929_1068196623199249_4008655004449843682_nned with iron by my own body. I would have been dead outside of a year or two

Luck, a sharp Doc and my big mouth kept me in the land of the living, feeling 25 again, running an action network, a series of bicycle camps, 3 books coming out… a second chance to make what remains an experiment in kindness and service. Joe's bio picture

Help me pay it forward – take a few seconds to sign our petition to save others. http://ironitout.org/reasons-people-signed-petition-are-sobering-heartbreaking-your-turn-to-stop-needless-deaths-and-suffering