Peggy Sanders: Cowboy codes of ethics unfortunately don’t say much about removing your hat | TheFencePost.com

Peggy Sanders: Cowboy codes of ethics unfortunately don’t say much about removing your hat

Cowboy ethics is a popular phrase that came about from a book penned by James P. Owen titled, "Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn from the Code of the West." Owen, a lawyer, is not the originator of the idea, he is just capitalizing on it. Zane Grey is credited with the first written record when he wrote "The Code of the West," a 1934 novel. Gene Autry had a written code as did John Wayne.

The codes generally follow the same basic path of "be honorable," with specifics spelled out — good guidelines even for those of us who are not cowboys. Sifting through several lists I found common links.

1. Your word is your bond. Don't tell lies.

2. Feed your horse before you feed yourself.

“If you are addressing a member of Congress, take off the hat. You look inconsiderate and, well, just plain dumb, when you leave it on.”

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3. Don't brag. If you did it, you aren't bragging.

4. Be loyal to your employer. My dad always told me if I was being paid to work, I'd better not be bad mouthing the company or the boss as long as I was taking their check.

5. You can say more with actions than with words.

6. Help others.

7. If you start something, finish it.

It seems another one would be in order but it is related to manners, not ethics. It is the wearing of big hats inside. Have you ever attended an indoor meeting where you were trying to see around a big cowboy hat?

Cowboys, cowmen, wannabes, please remove your hat while in indoor meetings. Yes, if you are walking around the stock show you would wear your hat, but when you stop into a gathering where there is a speaker that the audience would like to see, please remove cover. Or if you are addressing a member of Congress, take off the hat. You look inconsiderate and, well, just plain dumb, when you leave it on.

Wearing cowboy hats can be overdone. I have seen guys wearing hats walk 50 paces into a church then try to figure out what do with it once inside. If there is a place for hats, it is not a problem. When there is not, the men have to hold their hats on their laps. Why don't they just leave the hats in their vehicles?

I even wonder if they sleep in their hats. And if so, do they wear their big black dress hats or the everyday ones, the one with the sweaty ring around the crown? As a gal, I just don't understand the need to wear a hat anyway. Is it a version of a sign stating, "I am a cowboy?" There are a lot of "cowboys" out there who never have even sat on a horse, so that doesn't hold water.

Men get after women for being slaves to fashion, but what else could you call this hat phenomenon? ❖