Rumor’s been there’s a shortage of ammo due to the pandemic. Strange, but it seems under threat of shit hitting the fan, both ass wipes and firearm rounds become hotter commodities than last year’s craze in Christmas toys.
Anyway, I was out today and close to the gun store, so I went there to see. They are open during the statewide lockdown. Apparently they’re considered essential.
I went in and explained to the salesman the rumor about a run on ammo. He said they’d been short, but supply was coming back. He said there was a good chance they’d have whatever I’d need.
So I wandered around and picked up a few boxes of various calibers just in case.
The cashier rang me out. I paid. He handed me the change, then sent me on my way with a friendly, “Thank you. And live confidently, sir.”
I didn’t have the heart or guts or even the need, really, to tell him that I was living pretty confidently, with or without my firearms or ammo. That I’d probably live much the same with or without them – before, during or after a crisis. Knowing he wasn’t trying to be an asshole, I didn’t wanna be an asshole by talking back. Didn’t wanna upset him by contradicting his assumptions, since, in truth, it wasn’t very upsetting, just sort of cringy. Like I don’t need or expect slogans to go along with my purchases. I don’t want or need to be stereotyped by my purchases. I don’t expect a slogan associated with buying grass seed or a new pair of sneakers. I don’t need a slogan to go along with a haircut or an oil change or a prostate exam.
But, to be fair, there’s fair enough assumptions and associations that go along with purchases. I mean, if I went to Jimmy Flynt’s Sexy Gifts and bought a giant strap-on dildo, it’d be fair, I think, for the clerk to make an assumption. Maybe it’d be right. Maybe wrong. But it would probably be fair. Maybe his “you’ll be pleased since that one’s really snug and balanced” wouldn’t quite match my “it’s just a gift”, but the presumption was fair enough.
I sensed the ammo clerk’s send-off, more than anything, was meant to bring me back. It was code or a dog whistle acknowledging our clan. See, there’s a culture to being “gun guys”. It was a statement assuming a way of thinking and feeling we shared. Something acknowledged and shared which helps nurture a solidarity between me and him and all our fellow “sportsmen” – our Band of Brothers of 2nd Amendment Enthusiasts. But I’m not that. I hate groups. I hate being a part of anything with expectations attached, unless I’m getting paid. Or getting laid. At best, I’m a 2nd Amendment practitioner, but hardly an enthusiast, let alone a zealot – the latter of which are far too many of the rank for me to want any association with the ranks. NO to the gun nuts, conspiracy weirdos, and paranoids ready to flip-out and panic at a sneeze from the local, state or federal governments. No. I’d rather be saddled with the stigma of belonging to a nudist colony than saddled with the stigma of being one of THEM.
I’m a gun guy in that I like guns. Other than that, I’m just a sheep in a NRA wolf’s clothing. Not guilt by association, but patriot or libertarian or contrarian or constitutional fetishist or some other kind of shit by association. Hell, I don’t even know what the fuck they’d have me be!!!!
Likewise, I’m a guy who really likes beer, but it doesn’t mean the 21st Amendment gives me a hard-on. And I don’t expect a wink and a “psssst…by the way, fuck those Prohibitionists” from the clerk when I buy a six pack of Moosehead.
For me, firearms are fun. When I was a kid, we played Army by firing sticks, pretending they were guns. And we had fun pretending we were Rambo and Charles Bronson from the Deathwish movies. But it was all pretend. As pretend as most of the weekend freedom fighters believing that just cause they can jog on a treadmill, they could give most high school track kids a run for their money.
I didn’t have the heart to tell the clerk that for a few of us our guns aren’t about living confidently. Or they have little to do with a noble cause to attach ourselves to, since otherwise we’d be mostly lacking in identity. Our guns aren’t about freedom or liberty or doing our part to uphold The Constitution. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that, for a few of us, it’s mostly about fun. Shameful, inglorious fun. The shameful frivolity of fun that is ignoble Cain to the pious Abel of some honored cause. Little more than fun for the kid that’s now grown up and doesn’t have to pretend sticks are something they’re not. And doesn’t need to pretend that simple, sordid fun is anything more than what it is either.