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My friend e-mailed me a couple days ago a dozen of cowboys’ proverbs included in the book titled, “Don’t squat with your spurs on” by Texas Bix Bender.

Though I presume this proverb (Don’t squat with your spurs on) admonishes not to do everything impetuously, I can’t figure out what’s wrong with squatting spurs on, as I’m utterly ignorant of cowboys, horse, riding boots, spurs, et cetera.

The question may look naive to you, most Americans, but I don’t honestly understand the "figurative" meaning of the phrase.

Does it mean projections of spurs can hurt you when you squat inadvertently with spurs on?

I was unable to find out a concrete answer in Google Search, though I find the phrase in a row as a heading.

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if you search google images for "boot spurs" you will see why squatting with them would be a bad idea. I've never heard the proverb, but I would take it to mean "be aware of your condition and surroundings or you will hurt yourself". – Jason M Jun 8 '14 at 5:16
@kris. Thanks. Seeing is beleiving. I see. – Yoichi Oishi Jun 8 '14 at 10:28
Correction: beleiving → believing. – Yoichi Oishi Jun 8 '14 at 11:42
Why the downvotes? Seems like a reasonable question to me. – Ben Crowell Jun 8 '14 at 14:43
up vote 5 down vote accepted

These are boots with spurs attached:

enter image description here

You might see how squatting while wearing them could inflict damage on oneself.

"Don't squat with your spurs on" is another way of saying Don't do something without thinking; it's dumb, and could bite you in the ass. All for want of a slight consideration of your circumstances.

This man is kneeling, not squatting; you can get away with kneeling.

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+1 for "you can get away with kneeling" – oerkelens Jun 8 '14 at 22:24
Squatting with your spurs on is, I guess, a slightly less violent and dangerous parallel to shooting yourself in the foot or sawing off the branch you're sitting on. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 8 '14 at 23:12

A spur is a sharp object used to "encourage" e.g. animals, to run faster.

Squatting on a spur would have a similar effect as say, sitting on thumbtacks.

It's not something you want to do unless you are interested in giving yourself the "encouragement" sometimes meted out to animals.

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