First, Be a Cowboy

I’m not saying this is the only life plan one could cleave to, but it’s working for me so far.  I’ll let you know how the fishing goes, if I get there.

I think most of us, guys anyway, start off as cowboys when we’re kids.

I conceptualize this as a spirit of innocence and adventure, black and white morality, and a freedom (at least a supposed one) from real consequence.  I know for myself, this phase lasted until early adulthood.

Then I became a Myrmidon.  The word “myrmidon” once referred to the classical Greek race of Myrmidons, from Homer’s Iliad, who were the most feared warriors in all of Greece (more so even than the Spartans).  They were led by their king, Achilles, in the Trojan War, and were said to have been formed by Zeus from a swarm of ants.  “Myrmidon” literally means “people of the ant”.  The word was a compliment as recently as Shakespearian times for brave, loyal, and fearsome warriors.

However, over time, the word has lost it’s luster, and in contemporary times it usually refers to a mindless and unscrupulous follower of orders—a thug, or a disreputable vassal of some sort.

I’d say this phase of life (at least mine) is open to interpreting “myrmidon” in either context, depending on situation, time of day, and mood. The great hope, of course, is in the phase of life where one gets to do what one really wants to—that the days of the cowboy and the myrmidon are behind us, and though they continue to inform us, we can finish up our span doing that which is dearest and most restorative to us.

In my case, I dream of fishing.

About Todd Mauldin

Todd Mauldin (@mrtavo) is a musician, writer and artist living in Reno, NV. He blogs at

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