Of guys and guns
That makes me feel safe
August 11, 2004
- I've decided I need to buy a gun.
J walks into my
office and makes that statement as calmly as if he's discussing
the weather. I look up slowly, trying to keep my expression blank.
- Why do you need a gun?
- For protection...
I try to stay calm ... maybe it's just his latest attempt
to get a raise out of me.
- Is somebody threatening you?
- Well, the world is full of psychos ... you've got to
I try to wipe the "are you shitting me?" look off
my face. We live in one of the safest towns in the US.
I think the last major incident here was a local cop getting
his bike stolen. I shrugged, hoping to put an end to the conversation
without getting into a long drawn-out argument ...
- Alright then ... Good luck and remember the bumper sticker ... "I
still miss my ex but my aim is getting better"
Bad joke, considering, I am his "ex".
- Well, there's this other thing I wanted to ask you ...
Christ... After 6 years in an on-again-off-again relationship,
I can smell it from a mile away ...
- ... Anyway, there's this gun safety class on Saturday.
It's an all day class that I have to take for getting my
concealed pistol license and I thought it'd be really fun
if we took it together.
- Yeah right! You know how I feel about guns! Spending my entire
Saturday with a bunch of gun freaks is not my idea of fun.
- Oh come on baby ... don't you want to do this with
your sweetheart? Plus, think how sexy you'd look with a
So I'm back to being "baby" now? I thought
we were currently off-again! Amazing how "sweetheart" and " sexy" creep
into our conversations whenever he wants something. Ah, hell ... he's
got that look on his face ...
Three days and three hundred dollars
later, on a blistering cold Saturday morning, I arrive at his
doorstep at 6 am. I really don't want to go to a gun class ...
give it one last try.
- The roads are completely iced up ... maybe we should cancel
the whole thing?
No such luck.
We decide to take my Jeep instead of his fancy convertible. When
you're going to some hick town for a gun class, I guess
you don't want to drive one of them "damn foreign
cars" ... We slip and slide down the icy highway to Starbucks
to refuel and then proceed on down the country road to Hicksville ...
I try to stay awake and keep the Jeep from going into a ditch,
I look over at J. He's clutching his coffee cup with one
hand, the dash with the other, squinting with that slightly panicked
look that he has every time I drive. The road seems to go on
Forty five minutes later, we finally pull into the parking lot
of what looks like an abandoned building. The lot is full of GM,
Chrysler and Ford trucks ... not a single foreign car in sight.
Good thing we brought my Jeep ... we'll fit right in. We
both look a bit uneasy as we walk towards the building. I look
at my watch.
- Shit! We're late.
- Don't worry. These things never start on time.
to sound reassuring but he looks as nervous as I feel. We walk
into the room, the instructor stops mid-sentence and a sea of
blond heads swivel around to look at the two dark haired foreigners
their Starbucks cups. We find our seats, mumbling apologies to
the instructor who's nice enough to let us off the hook
without too much fuss. As he continues his lecture, I look around
the room. There are two women, one black man and sixty seven
blond Midwestern men wearing trucker hats. Yeah ... forget blending
An hour into the class, I begin to wonder if we've stumbled
onto a secret militia meeting. Judging from their comments, it
seems like they all love guns, hate the government, and are convinced
that someone's out to harm them.
- Great! Paranoid gun freaks with concealed pistol licenses.
That makes me feel safe.
I move a little closer to J and he leans over and whispers in
- Well, at least they hate the government more than they hate
- I'm not sure I want to test that theory.
During the hour long lunch break, we attempt to get friendly
with the locals. I strike a conversation with a toothless, tattooed
gentleman with a long ponytail. He tells me he's in a motorcycle
gang and he's buying a gun because someone who had been
kicked out of their gang tried to kill him a few months ago.
I smiled, nodded and wished him well on his revenge odyssey and
he promised to be in touch and let me know how things turn out.
I bypassed the guy who was telling a story about his friend shooting
someone with a shotgun and missing cause "the damned guy
ducked"! Why the heck was he trying to shoot someone with
a shotgun? I didn't bother to ask.
I walked over to J and
found him talking to a Charlton Heston look-alike who started
lecturing us on the benefit of "one story". It took me a while
to realize that "one story" meant if there is an incident
with a gun, yours better be the only story that the cops hear.
After all, he smirked, dead men can't testify.
At the end of the 12-hour day, tired and starving, we dragged
ourselves back to civilization. Instinctively we headed towards
the only Middle Eastern restaurant in town for dinner. Sitting
there, with shish kebab on our plates and familiar music in the
background, we recapped the lessons we had learned: dead men can't
testify, duck if there's a shotgun pointing at you, and
most important of all, contrary to what you see in the movies,
never ever stick a gun in your back pocket or the front of your
... ... ... ... ... Say
goodbye to spam!