Walking on the Fightin’ Side of Me

Merle Haggard

This year I participated in a scholarship committee for an Aggie organization I am apart of here in San Antonio. Anyhow, this committee consists of 15 or so Aggies, classes spanning from 2012 (me :)) all the way back to class of 1958. That a 54 year spread. Pretty impressive at that.

When we were conducting interviews a few weeks back, it was our job to ask questions to get to know these candidates a bit more beyond what grades, test scores and a résumé will tell you. These questions were mainly about why they wanted to attend our beloved Texas A&M, what are some of their passions and hobbies, accomplishments and so forth. We basically, are trying to find those well-rounded almost-graduated high school seniors that are going to be highly-successful at A&M for a number of reasons. Well, Ken on the committee, who is class of 1958, likes to ask one question. Not everyone was asked this question in particular. At first when he asked me his question I thought it was funny and didn’t really see the point of it. But after I saw it asked to a couple of the candidates I realized the purpose. Ok here is his question:

“Who is Merle Haggard?”

Merle HaggardSo do you know the answer? Of course when he asked me this question ahead of time, I knew the answer of course. I spouted off, “He was one of the Highway Men,” I continued with, “he sang some of my favorites, Silver Wings, Okie from Muskogee, and Fightin’ Side of Me.” Needless to say, I passed his test, but the seniors he asked during the interviews weren’t so lucky.

No this is not a pass/fail question. We actually awarded a scholarship to one of the guys who had no clue. But it was more of a question to test that “well-roundedness”, if that were a word. A high school senior doesn’t necessarily need this characteristic trait, but it will definitely come in handy as time goes on. For the same reason that as an adult, no matter of age, or college student should be educated in many different things, not just a college major or occupation. It’s what makes us interesting and keeps us far away from that awful label of “ignorant”.

My answer to the question went into specifics, but a good answer would have just been, “He’s an old country music singer from a couple of decades before I was born!” It’s sort of like when you go to vote, you should know what principles that your candidate is running on not necessarily his middle name. Or the teams that play in the all of the major league championship games. Not that you really need to know all of their offensive/defensive stats, but knowing the basics can come in handy in the event that you find yourself in a conversation about it. You don’t want to look clueless do you?

Being well-read both on books, newspapers, twitter, the internet, etc. says a lot about someone. Just know what is going on in the world! You don’t have to be an expert but just knowledgeable. That’s what is key in life. I am no expert at anything and never do I claim to be! I didn’t go to college for enough years or have enough discipline to be one, but my goal has always been to be able to be an active member conversations on a variety of subjects.

Merle HaggardBut back to good ole Merle. Talk about a stud! His music spanned decades but is still extremely relevant to today’s world. The video above was from this year’s ACM Presents: An All-Star Salute to the Troops, in which Merle Haggard along with George Strait sang one of Haggard’s classics, “Fightin’ Side of Me”.

But here’s to my Top 5 favorite Merle Haggard songs:

  1. Silver Wings
  2. Mama Tried
  3. Pancho and Lefty
  4. Big City
  5. Today I Started Loving You Again

** Honorable Mention going to the always fun song, “Okie from Muskogee“.

If you haven’t heard of these songs or Haggard, do yourself a favor and click on the links above or just hit play on the playlist I have put together through Spotify. Happy Wednesday folks!

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