Searching for words of inspiration the other day, I found this: ''When confronted by a difficult problem, you can solve it more easily by reducing it to the question, 'How would the Lone Ranger handle this?'''
''Who,'' the young punk looking over my shoulder asked, ''is the Lone Ranger?''
How sad our current state of affairs. First, we are raising a generation who has no clue who the Lone Ranger is.
Secondly, when I find a quote that sounds solid, it's attributed to a Ricky Gervais character. It frightens me when Ricky Gervais makes sense.
Disney plans to remind us who that masked man was with the release next year of its version of the Lone Ranger. Johnny Depp, in layers of garish black and white face paint and wearing a dead crow atop his head, plays Tonto.
That sounds shaky. It frightens me when Tonto doesn't make sense.
So what would the Lone Ranger do in a situation like this?
''Who,'' the young punk asked again, ''is the Lone Ranger?''
The Lone Ranger galloped across both old-time radio and early TV, a daring and resourceful masked man who, with his loyal native American pal Tonto, ''led the fight for law and order in the early western United States. Nowhere in the pages of history can one find a greater champion of justice!''
The punk shook his head. ''Sounds lame.''
It wasn't. In those thrilling days of yesteryear, the Lone Ranger rode into each episode on a ''fiery horse with the speed of light'' while some guys just off stage played ''The William Tell Overture'' on French horns, then he exited each show to the same French horns with a ''hearty 'Hi-yo, Silver, away!''' In between, he and Tonto saved widows, orphans, stage coaches and kittens, shot guns out of the bad guys' hands, and showed how getting along got us all along.
''So wait,'' the young punk said. ''How can he be 'lone' if he's always with this Tonto guy?''
Well, see, the masked man was the lone survivor when the Cavendish gang ambushed six Texas Rangers.
''Oh, Texas Rangers. I get it now. He's the great-great-granddaddy of Chuck Norris, the 'Walker, Texas Ranger' guy.''
No, no, he's the great-uncle of Britt Reid, The Green Hornet.
Never mind. The thing is, the Lone Ranger had a creed that all of us kids swore to live by. Things like ''I believe that a man should make the most of what equipment he has'' and ''that God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.''
''Or you could just turn up the thermostat,'' the punk said. ''Oh, wait, when he camped out, right? So how much firewood from Walmart could he load into that silver Texas Ranger SUV?''
Silver was a horse, not an SUV. And the Lone Ranger meant work hard and use the gifts God gave you.
''Or Dad's credit card, right? That's what I do. Did he use Chuck Norris' credit card?''
Suddenly, I understand the wisdom of a different maxim I learned from another series. From ''The Red Green Show'' - Quando omni flunkus moritati.
The young punk scratched his head. ''What's that mean?''
Loosely translated, I told him, it means, ''When all else fails, play dead.'' Then I lumbered to my chair for a nap.
---- Hi-yo Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.