August 8, 2007

Things That Go Bang-Bang

Researching again. I need to learn guns. I need to learn them inside out and backwards. I shot a BB gun as a child, and later, I may have taken a few potshots at a trashcan with my brother’s pellet gun, but that’s about it. You may remember what happened the one time my dad and my brother let me go hunting with them… (If not, see #90 - # 94) So. Calamity Jane does not need to move over.

Although…once, at a local fair, they had a ROOTIN’ TOOTIN’ SHOOTIN’ BOOTH <----not kidding. They lined up 5 Miller and Bud cans, handed the next guy in line a BB shooting pistol with sights so wonky that attempting to use them to AIM would likely end in you shooting your own eye out, and told him he had six shots knock all five cans down. It cost fifty cents to try. Winners got five silver dollars.

The boy I was with got tired of waiting to see if we would leave rich---we had purchased a square in COW FLOP BINGO <----once again completely NOT kidding. The available games should indicate to you that this was not the state fair or even a county fair. This was a FAIRLET. A thirty booth hopeful carnival-wannabe with a livestock show and a single exhausted Candy Floss machine slowly grinding out strings of cotton candy in simple pink. They had no Ferris wheel, but plenty of homemade JAM competitions, right? They had one creaky old death trap of a carousel imperiling the lives of children, and a dunking booth, and a guess your weight guy losing money hand over fist.

So anyway, My Boyfriend---let’s call him Jim--- got bored waiting for the earth to move over at Cow Flop Bingo, and the Rootin’ Too—etc booth was right next door.

By the way, I said let’s call him Jim not to protect his anonymity, but because I can’t remember his name. It may well have been a Jim. A LOT of them were named Jim. Most of the boys I dated in high school have sort of RUN TOGETHER into an amalgamation, a floppy haired decent gent with slightly buggy eyes. In actuality I changed boyfriends about as often as I changed shoes; I dated a lot without ever really falling in love. I liked having a boy friend, but I wasn’t the sort of girl who knew exactly what one DID with one after you had him, and so I would switch out and hope the next one might know what to do with me.

My MO was to crush hard on a boy and then date him a few times, make out a little, and then I’d blink at him, puzzled, not sure what boys liked to talk about and not willing to let things progress any farther in the backseat. So I’d put him back where I found him, like a fisherman who is VERY excited about making his own lures and trolling, but who doesn’t know how to clean or cook anything. Most of the boys I dallied with WERE named Jim or James, though there was a Trevor and a Dillon and a Damien (Yes, really --- he must have been born BEFORE the made the Omen? One hopes?) and I think a pair of Michaels, and one I had for several months running with dark red hair and puffy lips – I remember him specifically because he had a black Mustang, was a dern good kisser without being too handsy, and often drove me through the Krystal Burger for a cheese off the grill and a coke after school; these three things combined made him last an inordinately long time for a boyfriend of mine.

His name started with a T and I THINK at this fair, I think it was him. It was a double date, so we must have been with Jennifer and her main squeeze, Billy, or no, my boyfriend was old enough to drive so maybe by then she was dating Len? Or maybe the others my boyfriend’s friends, and it wasn’t T, but one of the Jims, the one who went to a different high school? You see how it is.

Anyway, there were four of us, and we got bored at Cow Flop Bingo and My Boyfriend laid two quarters down at the Rooty Tooty Fresh and Shooty and picked up the pistol and through sheer animal will made a couple of the cans fall down. He couldn’t have SHOT them down because the sights were worse than useless and he was actually aiming instead of, you know, just pointing and hoping. AIMING made it harder with sights like that. He tried three or four times, protesting that he actually wasn’t a bad shot, before giving the gun up as a bad job.

Him: You want to try?
Me: Sure.

He paid the fifty cents, and I picked the BB pistol up casually, pointed the end with the hole in it at the cans, and squeezed the trigger rapidly, six times, so fast it was like blinking with my finger.

All the cans went down.

It was….bizzarre.

My Boyfriend: NO WAY! NO WAY!
Me; *casual shrug* My dad was in the Army.
My Boyfriend: NO! WAY!

I got my five silver dollars, and then they all wanted me to repeat the miracle, and of course I could not, but the four of us must have spent another ten bucks between us trying. Over at Cow Flop Bingo, the cow chose to grace a square that wasn't ours, so we stayed and we shot, and I don’t think I ever knocked more than one can down again. The best anyone else did was three. But it left me with the inexplicable belief that if I ever WERE to take up a gun, I would monstrous-superlative at it. Or monstrous-lucky, which can look a lot like the same thing.

ANYWAY – I am out of time, but..I find it interesting that I set out very deliberately to talk about SHOOTING and ended up accidentally talking about BOYS. Hrm.

Moral: Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but a gun is NEVER just a gun.

Posted by joshilyn at August 8, 2007 7:57 AM

Just caught up on the last few posts and I'm so glad your dad is okay. Mine had a stroke (thankfully minor and he is back to normal except retired) a few years ago, it is such a rollercoastery stressful time and you have so much on your plate! Miss Bookey will be climbing into the cheese box NEXT AUGUST and I am already stocking up on Kleenex and stiff upper lips.
Want to hear something funny? I THOUGHT ZAC'S FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL WAS TODAY. We just spent 30 minutes on the porch before I finally gave in and called a neighbor (waking her up of course) to find out that TOMORROW is actually the first day. Meh. I hear that laughing! Our heat index is already over a hundred and I am dripping with perspiration!

Posted by: Elena at August 8, 2007 8:49 AM

When I was in high school I seemed to attract (or be attracted to? either way!) Dougs. There were at least two Dougs in my high school dating history, maybe three. And when I wasn't going out with a Doug, there were other D-boys. I specifically remember a Donnie and a Danny. (Danny was pretty long-term as high school boyfriends go.) Weird!

I have been to exactly the sort of Fairlet you describe, but I didn't try the Rootin' Tootin' High-Falutin' Stomp-yer-Bootin' while-yer-Shootin' booth. I wish there was video of your moment of triumph!

Posted by: DebR at August 8, 2007 9:38 AM

Vas ist das "dating history?"

Posted by: Brigitte at August 8, 2007 9:56 AM

Is it totally wrong of me that I read "drinking booth" instead of "dunking booth"? I think we had one of THOSE at OUR fair! This is a great story, by the way! Could I USE more exclamation points?

Posted by: Leandra at August 8, 2007 10:12 AM

See, but I like when start off talking about one thing and end up talking about another. Especially when the story you tell is as entertaining as this one is. I've been thinking about guns a lot this week, because we had a shooting in our apartment complex. It's one of those things that was utterly preventable, and there's so much stupidity going around in this case that it boggles the mind. My husband and I keep looking at each other saying, "But why didn't they just...?" Anyway, guns are not my favorite things, but we've done spot research here and there for screenplays, and we have a rawther kick-ass forensics book that's helped us a lot.

Posted by: Aimee at August 8, 2007 10:47 AM

I had to learn stun guns about a year ago. I found a cop and he e-mailed me tons of information. I still haven't managed to get my hot little hands on one, though.

Posted by: Edgy Mama at August 8, 2007 10:49 AM

Oh lordy, I cannot wait to read this book.

Posted by: Jennilynn at August 8, 2007 11:02 AM

Researching GUNS, huh? I'm hooked:-) But I still prefer boys. But not boys that prefer guns. I saw a bumper sticker on a tricked out pickup truck the other day that says it all:

Faster cars.Younger women.Better Whiskey.Bigger guns.

Sounds like Willie Nelson's hilarious song, "Beer For My Horses."

Happy Hunting!

Posted by: susan cushman at August 8, 2007 1:07 PM

Not sure why you had to insert all the "not kidding" lines, LOL... those are commonplace even here in Calgary. They had a 'cow flop bingo' in DOWNTOWN Calgary. (The city that wishes it were southern)

I think I was a little more scared of boys. Because I knew what they wanted to do with me... so I stayed clear! Mostly. I read my diary once and it detailed about a half dozen crushes that i had ZERO memory of.

Posted by: Heather Cook at August 8, 2007 1:33 PM

I forgot to mention that I have dated four -- FOUR -- Bills! My dad is Bill and my brother is Bill. Don't even WANT to know what THAT means!

Posted by: Leandra at August 8, 2007 2:02 PM

I love that your response was a simple shrug and "My dad was in the Army."
Gaw ... I could have NEVER been that cool if I'd just downed those cans. That's like, a miracle.
Great post, glad you're back!

Posted by: timmi at August 8, 2007 6:52 PM

When I needed to learn about handguns (as opposed to guns in general) because I was going to be carrying one, I took a handgun safety class, available thru the local gun store & held at a shooting range. In the class they discussed all sorts of Very Interesting Things about killing people and staying on the right side of the law (exactly what is self-defense?) and then had many different handguns to try out at the shooting range: Automatics and revolvers; tiny purse-size gunlets up to Dirty Harry's 44-magnum.

What made the most impression on me was the idea they kept harping on: "If you draw your gun and point it at someone, you have to be sure you can kill them. Because if you're not sure, they can & will get it away from you & kill you with it (or worse)."

What made almost as much impression was their advice: "When you shoot someone, shoot to kill, because if you just wound them, you'll end up in court where it's your word against theirs and you could lose, whereby you'll be in worse trouble than if you just kill them and claim self-defense."

I recommend handgun safety classes for EVERYONE, not because of the killer philosophy, but so you know what to do if you find a gun (no, not shoot to kill) -- how to pick it up safely, how to tell if it's loaded, how to unload it, etc.

Posted by: Lulu at August 8, 2007 7:40 PM

Lulu has some great points...I also took a handgun saftey class when I decided to get a concealed handgun permit. I was on a capital murder jury in Texas and the murderer called his fellow gang members on the pay phone in the jail and told them to follow me and another juror. Yes, the phone calls are recorded, but not monitored 24 hours a day. That night a concrete block came thtough our bedroon window with a note attached. I called as soon as the trial was over and got in the first available class. It was taught by a retired Texas Ranger. His advise was the same as Lulu stated above. Do not carry this gun if you are not willing to kill another person, and shoot to kill. OK....and I got the car painted and changed jobs and moved to another state.

Posted by: jean at August 8, 2007 8:48 PM

I too, have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. I too, took the class and was told the same thing as LuLu and Jean. I'm in Tennessee. Whether you want to carry a gun or not, if you are researching guns, that would be a great class to take. If there is a skeet or trap shooting range near you, that also would be a great place to learn about guns. The state wildlife commission, it's called different things in different states, offer hunter safety courses for all ages. In my state, to get a hunting license, it's required.

Posted by: Rhonda at August 8, 2007 9:30 PM

Ah my day has been made. Joss you never fail to crack me up and make me think. It was Bobs and Dougs. :)

Posted by: Cele at August 8, 2007 9:38 PM

u r such a BADASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: sara at August 8, 2007 10:19 PM

"Things That Go Bang-Bang" You were referring to guns, right?

Posted by: Melisa at August 9, 2007 11:50 AM

Up here in the Great Lakes region we have fairlets with cow PIE bingo. Now THAT'S excitement!

Posted by: Erin at August 10, 2007 12:07 PM

In many states they have an organization called "BOW" ... "Becoming an Outdoor Woman" ... one of the many courses they do is shooting. Rifles and shotguns, and maybe? pistols. I just took the sections on Rifles and Shotguns to "refresh" my non-existent skills from childhood Pheasant and Deer hunting.

Another resource will be hunting clubs in your area ... yes - there will be TONS of them. They like cute young women who want to listen to stories and ask questions. They usually meet monthly - and also "do things for the community" <-- which is to point out they are Civic Minded.

Or ... you could just ask my Dad. (that's what I do) ... I mean, if you own a GUN SAFE, and make your own bullets and shotgun shells, you must know SOMETHING, right? (to which he replied, "Yes, I know something, but nothing about black-powder darling daughter. Go do your own research". But I'm sure he'd be much nicer to you - with your cute southern accent and all)

Posted by: MitMoi at August 11, 2007 10:16 AM