I guess blood runs true. I grew up on cowboys. John Wayne. Clint Eastwood. Those guys: tough as nails and fast with a six-shooter.
Now TNT has a new series on Tuesday nights (Justified) that features one of Elmore Leonard's signature characters: US Marshal Raylan Givens, a hard-fisted Kentucky lawman that rolls Old West style.
Tonight was the third episode. My 12 year old called to me from the living room. "Dad, let's watch Raylan." Meaning it had taped on the DVR.
Chandler has grown up with video games, cartoons, mutants, and superheroes. I've tried to get him interested in action movies before without too much success.
But something resonates for him with Raylan. There's something about the quiet dignity, the passion for getting to the truth of the matter, the refusal to back down or give up, or the willingness to lay it all on the line in a showdown that appeals to my son.
As a hero, Raylan is incredibly simple, yet incredibly complex. He has rules that he will not break, and yet he's constantly thrown into situations where those rules get challenged. The problem is, if you break the rule, you break the man. And Chandler gets that without me explaining it to him.
Everybody keeps looking for new heroes, but I'm seeing evidence that the old ones remain a standard that even kids who grew up without them understand on a deep psychological level. I believe that Chandler knows there has to be someone in every community that will stand up to challenge the darkness no matter how rough the going becomes.
But I'm crossing my fingers that he doesn't want to wear one of those big cowboy hats!