Life Lessons from Baxter Black

As we promised, here is the next Baxter Black blog in our series. Baxter is a wordsmith, no doubt, and he also offers lots of incredible life lessons. He even went so far as to write a book about it! (Find that book here.) Enjoy these life lessons from Mr. Black and maybe try to put some of them into action soon!

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Sometimes you’ve got to glitz and glam them (to keep ‘em hooked until you can deliver the punch line)!

When Baxter gets on stage he wants to make sure everyone knows he’s the program. A friend named Mary Davis from Dodge City would make him a shirt every year. A Roy Rogers-type shirt. He said about performances, “So I’m walking in and I look like a clown. If they like you, it doesn’t make any difference.” Now he did mention it’s most likely not admiring stares he receives, but more curiosity. But curiosity holds the audience until he can start performing. And then there is nothing but appreciation and entertainment.

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If life crashes and burns, you just get back up.

Life has a way of taking you to places you never imagined you’d go, both good and bad. Baxter instilled upon us that the most important part is to get back up. Don’t sit in the ashes, smoldering. Pick yourself up, dust off your boots (or sandals or whatever footwear you might prefer) and get on with life. There isn’t a whole lot of time to sit around and pout.

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As a young man, Baxter worked on a large feed yard. His new boss walked into his converted office (previously a storage room) two days after he started working at previously mentioned feed yard and handed him a manila folder. It was the rations (feed mixture cattle eat). Baxter had plenty of experience from his time spent at other feed yards, but this had always been a specialist job at those other jobs. This new boss didn’t bother to ask if he’d even taken a class in nutrition, which he had not. He just assumed he could do it. Using this confidence (false or not) to his advantage, Baxter got it done!  Point of this story? Lesson #2 from his “Lessons From A Desperado Poet” book, “You will be amazed at how capable people think you are if they don’t know you well.  Don’t waste that advantage.”

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How to make decisions? Do it the way you want and see what happens. Even if you’re wrong! The previously mentioned boss taught Baxter not to fear making decisions.

When given the opportunity to decide, Baxter says you should do it. Obviously, use your best judgment and do your research but make that decision. Without the chance to make decisions, you won’t have the opportunity to learn.

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Baxter told us a story about a ranch he went to help work some cows in Utah. He was staying at a house about a mile up this big mountain from where the ranch was keeping their cows. He left in his vet truck to head down to the working area one morning and was about a half mile away from the ranch headquarters on the plain. It was a spectacular morning. As Baxter said, “One you could just steal.” From his point of view he can see everything down below. The cowboys were bringing the cows into the working area. The herd looked like a backwards tear drop. It was a beautiful sight. It was so quiet and peaceful Baxter could hear the cowboys hollering at the cows to move them to the corral gate. Well, as he was watching, the point of the tear drop seemed to hit the gate and the cows splattered back!  Baxter said he could hear them a mile away yelling, mooing, some colorful language and over it all, “Git outta the gate you no good sofa ditches I’ma gunnin’ 4 yo shoes a musta linka booda nina tens!”

He said it inspired him to write a poem, one of his first, leanin’ on the hood of his vet truck.  Later that morning when they took a break from preg-testing, he read the poem to the cowboys.  They all laughed and said, “Yea, I know a guy had a dog like that!”

He discovered right there, that he could pick on cowboys, sheep herders, veterinarians, horse people, farmers, and all the wonderful characters that make up his world because…he is part of it.  He’s been there!

He explains that it is the truth in humor that makes it funny…that’s the reason there are no science fiction jokes!

And a bonus from our friend, Baxter, the previously mentioned poem. This poem is part of his column, On the Edge of Common Sense.

by Baxter Black, DVM

There’s a scene that is really pictorial
That’s been here since time immemorial
The cowboy out riding, his dog right beside him
Somehow it’s almost historical.

They come in all colors and sizes
From dingos all full of surprises
Blue-eyed scene stealers and Queensland blue heelers
And collies that win lots of prizes.

He responds to your love and affection
And waits on his master’s direction
You say, “Put’em in!” and watch with a grin
While he obeys your command to perfection.

And just when you start to go braggin’
On that cow eatin’ wonder, you’re draggin’
The dog you admire, will pee on a tire
Or go lick his nuts in the wagon!

There’s nothin’ that makes me mad quicker
Than a dog in the wrong baliwicker,
You can’t find your niche, you son of a gun!
Go git in the pickup, pot licker!

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