Up until this morning, I thought Rob Roy was a Cowboy. Some sort of hop-a-long, mosey-on-over, kind of guy. About 6’3” with a bright blue bandanna tied around his neck, legs as bowed as a wishbone, with boots that jingle-jangled-jingled, merrily along. Rob Roy. Ten gallon hat, and all.
There was a restaurant, somewhere, named Rob Roy’s, I think. I pictured a big cowboy statue, standing out in front, with a lasso in hand. Twirling away.
That was, until I opened my email this morning and saw my news feed for today’s birthdays. There was his name. And his picture. A drawing of some guy in a tunic-looking thing, and a beret, sort of slung on his head. “That’s NOT Rob Roy,” I demanded. Of course, immediately, my wheels notch in gear, and I am already writing the letter in my head, to tell “The Birthday People” of this mishap. Yes, I can hear the wording now. “Someone in your birthday-delivery department selected the wrong .jpg to go with Rob Roy’s head. Fire that Stork.”
But first, I clicked on the link, to see what sort of Cowboy Things old Rob Roy must have done. And there, years of preconceptions, were whisked away with a single keystroke.
Rob Roy is not Cowboy-ish at all. In fact. He is Scottish. Rob Roy-ish McGregor-ish. A Scottish Outlaw who died in 1734. A folk hero, it said. I read briefly about his life then, and I couldn’t plainly see what the big fuss was about. It sounded like a lot a stealing, and cheating, and such.
Nonetheless, I am not so interested in the details of his non-cowboy life, as I am in the fact — that in my mind — I had it so very wrong, for so very long. Heck. Eons ago, I used to be a bartender. I used to make Rob Roy’s for people. Scotch Whisky, Vermouth, a hint of Bitters, topped off with a couple Maraschino Cherries. But every time I made the drink, I thought, “Geez. What an odd cowboy drink. Cowboys didn’t drink quasi-Manhattans.” That’s what I would think. Pacing back and forth behind the bar.
Anyway. The preconception, became a misconception. There was no in-between conception, as I never had a clear understanding of the subject matter. Rob Roy McGregor.
Of course, now, my wheels are really turning. It sparks me to wonder / worry about how many other things I have wrong in my “understanding” of this big, wide world. I mean, we are always right, aren’t we? In our own little heads?
And then. There they all stood. Right in that moment. All the people who I do not see eye-to-eye with. All the ones who have a different view of our political climate, the ones who cheer and support certain political figures, or perhaps the myriads of people who see the Bible differently than I do. The multitudes who see school shootings with their own guns. The ones who would like to see me dead, just for the way I am.
For all of the things that I hold true and dear and important, the things that I know I am right on. My principles. My values. There is someone on the other side of the line. Someone who opposes. The people who object. Our views are as different as night and day.
And I stand there and I look hard, across that line. And now I am wondering. Which one of us thinks a Rob Roy might be double-decker hamburger. Or a drink. Or a cowboy. Or a Scot. And which one is right?
“What’s the use you learning to do right when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?”
― Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.”
― Saint Augustine
“More evil gets done in the name of righteousness than any other way.”
― Glen Cook, Dreams of Steel