Unmasking Cowboy

Copyright 2002
By John L Patton, AKA tiltjlp

Andrew Croll, who goes by the moniker of Cowboy, has also been known as mR cYcLoPs and Mr C within the VP community. Why is anyone's guess, since he never told me why, and it didn't seem important enough to ask. But as you'll see when you read this profile, he surely wears a white hat, and as I unmask him, you'll find that he is truly one of the good guys.

Thoughtful and reflective, Cowboy has sought out not only the purpose, but also the meanings of life. Divorced and nearing 40, Andrew has "one absolutely wonderful 8 year old son for whom I would give up my life". His e-mail replay to my request for an interview reveals a lot about the complex personality that is Cowboy. "I'd me more than happy to be profiled . . . long as no fingerprints are involved . . . I was a problem child, lol. At the risk of seeming immodest, I have come by my world view through a great many of life's trials and tribulations. I have traveled the Dark in search of the Light . . . and I have found it. No, I'm not at all religious, just proud of the fact that I'll never let the bastards keep me down . . . in that regard it's nice to meet a kindred spirit. As for the Spiderman themed table, I was hoping to have it out by 9/11, since it is a dedication table, but I'll miss that release date. I think you'll find that I am one of the more unique and interesting folks you have ever run across. Think Will Rogers and Frank Capra, and you'll know a little bit more about me."

A man of high ideals and honor, Andrew is not adverse to fight for what he believes is right and proper. Among his battles have been an effort to change the Canadian courts attitude concerning the visitation rights of fathers, and the improvement of the plight of single mothers, issues he feels cannot be considered as separate problems. He has also championed the causes of worker's rights and better worker, employer management cooperation, which he believes can and usually does lead to more loyalty on both sides of the paycheck.

Cowboy describes himself as "5" 11", green eyes, and 180 pounds, okay . . . okay, 185. I have a Bachelors of Arts Degree, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Sociology and post graduate work in Marriage and Family Therapy, and a Human Relations In Organization course. I went through University to learn more about myself and the world around me. I formed my views by virtue of incorporating various contradictory truths from a variety of disciplines into a dynamic congruent and cohesive whole which made a hell of a lot more sense than when each was taken by itself."

"There was nothing particularly pragmatic about my choices of education. For me the more profound objective was and is in the pursuit of truth to provide myself with the tools by which to better understand both my existence and my journey through life. In many ways I have found that elusive truth I sought, and it is indeed poetic."

Andrew lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and is employed in the Wastelands of his municipality. He enjoys traveling to scenic landscapes, and learning about new people and the differences in cultures. And anything about the outdoors, be it camping, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, house boating, or even waterslides and theme parks. "Mountains, oceans, or Lake of the Woods, any other natural vista, they are all my sanctuary of beauty and awe, offering contemplation as well as inspiration."

"Though my spiritual nature encompasses the core of most all major religious beliefs, it tends toward a more Native Spirituality. I am a Man of high integrity, with honorable character, a good conscience, and a noble heart. My creed is to learn and grow and evolve, to become a better person than I am today. I have developed a deep insight into not only what some of the root problems of our society are and the ills of the world, but also believe I understand a few of the solutions."

"But such things require that the information becomes part of the social consciousness if such paradigms are ever to shift. An appreciation of the differences between truth in substance and mere propagandized images has to be found in order for real change to come about. Such information does not simply tell us what the problems are, but also point us to the answers. Without that, people tend to be apathetic, believing they can't change a damn thing. Answers empower us to action only when those costs of doing nothing are so extreme that they leave us no other alternative."

"Over the course of the past fourteen years or so, I have fought two such battles. The first is ongoing, and is the struggle to obtain Democracy in the Workplace. This is the concept similar to Deming's Japanese Management Principle which involves front line workers in the decision making process. I believe very strongly that this concept offers benefits for employers and workers alike. If people have a sense that their contributions are of true value, they will find satisfaction in their labors, which is often denied a majority of workers. Companies need to assure that each of their employee know they are appreciated."

But men of conscience can be and sometimes are also men of leisure, and Cowboy has a deep fondness for VP and pinball, finding Visual Pinball in the spring of 2001. " I began to download what tables were available, waiting as I still do, for each new one to be offered. Aside from on enjoyment of collecting tables and playing them, I've also developed a passion for making them myself. The first table I made was Buccaneer '76, a Gottlieb creation I fondly recall playing during my adolescence."

"Although I had no knowledge of VBS language whatsoever, I gradually began to understand the underlying logic of it as I studied other folks table scripts. I found the challenge both analytically and creatively, quite rewarding. It has allowed me to utilize both hemispheres of my brain in ways that my workplace tends to discourage. As such, it became an avenue by which I could reverse the atrophy my brain has been slowly succumbing to lately."

"I love a good challenge and this one met all such needs. I also consider myself quite fortunate for all the assistance I've received from the shivasite community in developing as well as honing my skills, and in enabling my creativity to take form. Most of all, I'm grateful for the good people I have met through our mutual love of pinball."

"Although there are certain pinball eras for which I have a great affinity for, such as the '60s and '70s (love those electromechanical sounds and the game play), my focus now is on innovation . . . and I look forward to a time when we can create a Pin table that couldn't possibly take place on a real live tabls. The possibilities are as unlimited as is the imagination of the human species. That's what I like most of all. However, that doesn't preclude the possibility of making original tables reminiscent of the older eras of pinball history and lore."

As we all watch the progress of Cowboy's "Spidey" table, I'm stunned with Andrew's attention to detail, and how much he seems to keep adding. There looks to be enough features and ideas in that table to keep us learning the ins and outs of Spiderman for months on end.

As always, I hope you've found this profile enlightening as well as entertaining. I welcome any and all comments, which you can send me.

I thank Roland for his enthusiastic support and appreciation of my profiles, but the focus of the spotlight should be on each of the members who have permitted me to invade their corner of the world asking endless questions. Links to all my writing at shivaSite and Digital Playfield can be found on the Home page of this site.