When I taught myself how to engrave silver conchas I practiced on coins. Most of it was foreign coinage but occasionally I’d practice on U.S. coins. And yes, it’s legal as long as a person doesn’t try to defraud anyone. Turning nickels into quarters would be a good example. This is why little kids who squish pennies on railroad tracks aren’t arrested and thrown in the slammer.
Back when homeless people were called “hobos” some tramps used nails to engrave on buffalo nickels and produced remarkable art they’d then trade for a meal. Today such coins are called “hobo nickels” and they can be quite beautiful and very valuable.
While the hobo artists turned the faces on nickels into remarkable likenesses of Marylin Monroe, clowns, skeletons, cats and self-portraits, I turned my nickels into cowboy coinage. You should see the look on people when I hand them one of my coins with the head of a horse where Abraham Lincoln (penny), Thomas Jefferson (nickel), FDR, (dime) or George Washignton (quarter) should be. My favorite coins to engrave on are newer dimes because they haven’t been made of real silver since 1964 and if you scratch one your mark will turn to copper and you can get remarkable two-tone effects.
In the course of turning George Washington and his cronies into cowboys I made a rather remarkable discovery: all I had to do was engrave a cowboy hat on all the former Presidents and every single one looked much more handsome. This was especially true of Abraham Lincoln who, let’s be honest, had a face that could keep the crows out of 100 acres of corn.
I was mesmerized by how much better people look in cowboy hats. I gathered up all my wife’s magazines and drew cowboy hats on everyone from Queen Elizabeth to the entire Kardashian clan and they all looked better. Even Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Nancy Pelosi, who both need extra large shopping carts when they shop in the beauty-aid aisle of a drugstore, looked better. And if that isn’t conclusive proof that everyone looks better in a cowboy hat I don’t know what is.
I even went to the store and bought some magazines for men and drew cowboy hats on all the males which were surprisingly few and far between because most male magazines are filled with photos of guns, trucks and naked women. Everyone from Snoop Dogg to Miss January looked better in a cowboy hat. And I hope this isn’t blasphemous but may I say that even the Pope looked better in a Stetson.
Try it for yourself. Get yourself a Sharpie® and some magazines and start drawing hats on everyone. If you can’t draw, cut out the picture of a cowboy hat and put it atop everybody and you too will see that everyone looks better in a cowboy hat. It really is an amazing transformation. Although I must warn you to be careful because, speaking from experience, some wives get a little touchy when you defile their Vogue, Family Circle or Good Housekeeping. But they’ll get over it. Eventually.
I remember a few years back when the entire U.S. Olympic team was outfitted by Ralph Lauren and every athlete wore a cowboy hat in the opening and closing ceremonies. I don’t remember the medal count that year but I clearly recall that we easily won the award for “best dressed” and it was all because of the cowboy hats. I think it would make a great advertising program for Stetson, Resistol or some other hat company to put one of their hats on photos of high profile people. If they did so they could extend their market beyond just selling hats to cowboys, truck drivers and country western singers.
Speaking of country western singers, can we please lose the earrings and pony tails guys? Willie Nelson can get away with it but can you imagine Johnny Cash, Tennessee Ernie Ford or George Strait wearing an earring? Although I don’t think anyone looks better in a cowboy hat than George Strait, I still can’t get the image out of my mind of him wearing a pony tail in that movie he made. Guys, take it from me, we’d look a lot more manly if fewer of us were wearing earrings, tattoos and pony tails and more were wearing cowboy hats. wwwLeePittsbooks.com