Firearms VS. My Skull

Shotgun

Have you ever had your head blown off with a 12 gauge shotgun?  I have, almost, and it still gives me shivers when I’m reminded of it!  Actually, that’s a silly question.  If you’d had your head blown off, you wouldn’t be here, answering this silly survey.

Children in my small hometown owned weapons. 14, 15, 16-year-old boys possessed rifles and shotguns.  It was not unusual, of a warm, sunny summer Saturday, to see a group of armed youths, ‘going hunting’, if hooting and yelling, and telling jokes while clomping through the near-by woods could be called hunting.  All the animals were hiding behind trees and snickering.  The only things that got shot were trees and fenceposts – or old appliances and food tins, if we reached the city dump.

One well-armed wight once boasted of ‘bumping off a chickadee’, as if he were a mob hit man. From a distance of 20 feet, he blasted away with a 12 gauge shotgun, leaving nothing but a fine pink mist.  He was also the genius who found an arm-thick, wild apple tree amongst the evergreens, and ‘chopped it down’ using three blasts to its base.

The rifles we owned were mostly little .22 caliber plinkers, capable of very little serious damage. Those who carried 12 gauge shotguns though, were far more dangerous.  .22s are only 22/100ths of an inch wide.  Even .45s, a large handgun shell, are less than half an inch.  12 gauge though, is .730 inches in diameter. And the power comes from the ‘squared’ portion of the Pi/R/Squared formula.  See the size comparison below.

Gauge

I had moved away to get a job, and had returned for Christmas. I’d been able to get presents for my Mom and Dad, but admitted to him that I had no idea about what to get my brother.  He told me that my brother wanted to be armed like his friends for ‘hunting season’, and also told me where there was a bolt action shotgun for sale, much like the one at the top, only in far better shape.

Bolt-action, for a shotgun, is quite rare. It cocks, ready for the next shot, when you lift the bolt handle, rotating a wedge-shaped section backward.  After you manually insert another shell and close the bolt, it is fired by pulling the trigger, to release the spring-loaded portion….usually.

After I had presented it to him on Christmas Day, the brother oohed and aahed over it, and took in into his bedroom, ‘to put it away in his closet.’ I had a small repair chore to do for my Dad, and stepped out into a shed, attached to the back of the old, frame house, with a work area in it.

I was standing close to the house outer wall, with a file and screwdriver in my hands. Suddenly, there was a loud bang, and my head and shoulders stung from small impacts.  I thought at first that a two-bulb, 4-foot fluorescent light fixture had exploded in the cold….but no, I still had light.

I turned, and there was a head-sized hole in the wall, right beside my head.  I could see my brother inside, with the shotgun in his hands, and a dismayed expression on his face.  By the time I’d left home, I’d acquired almost 300 hours of gun-handling and safety training.  Not so my brother, and his gun-toting friends.

He just HAD to know how the gun operated, and inserted a shotgun shell.  Apparently the gun had a 6-inch split, at the back of the barrel.  Instead of cocking, as the bolt was raised, it allowed the cocking cam to slip out of a groove, machined into the barrel, and hang up on the barrel’s rear edge.  When the bolt was pushed forward, it stretched the firing spring, and when the bolt was cranked down, to lock it, the cam snapped back into its slot, and suddenly flew forward, firing the gun.

A couple of fortuitous degrees of angle, or inches of difference in where he, and I, were standing, were the only things that prevented me from becoming a Wisconsin Swiss-Cheese-Head. The gun’s vendor had not wanted to lose a sale by mentioning the flaw, but had to refund my money, and got a good blast from both me and my Dad.  My brother never did end up owning a gun, and it’s probably just as well.

Do any of you have an almost-died story that you wish to share?  This is not my only one.  My brother also almost drowned the both of us one time.   😯  I’m alive and safe now, and look forward to hearing from you again soon.

 

 

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Smitty’s Loose Change #7

Smitty's Loose Change

I bought some Salvador Dali bagels today. I got them from the Chernobyl Unicorn bakery.

Bagel 1

Bagel 2

They’re created from multi-colored dough with food dye in it. The son tells me that he heard that rainbow bagels will be an upcoming fad among Millennials, but I’ve not seen them, or any mention of them, since.  These were made of a bread dough, rather than a bagel dough, and didn’t toast worth a shit.

***

In reading what others had to write about the blog-tag, ‘Truth,’ I was not surprised to find that 2 out of every 3 blog-posts was about God, or Jesus, or Christianity, or Church.  Those ‘Good Christians’ are sure full of something.  They call it faith.  I have a different name for it.

***

When they discover the center of the Universe….A lot of people are going to be surprised that it’s not them.

***

I wrote a post where I mentioned ‘double’ names like Todd Craig, Bradley Joe and Mark Terry, where either could be a given name or a family name, This happened because some male first names became family names.  I’ve thought that it only applied to male names, but recently I’ve been introduced to Stephanie Virginia ELLEN, Edna RHODA, Susan MARGARET, Barbara HILARY and Ann BEVERLY.

In my home-town, in the 1940s and ‘50s, boys were commonly given names like Beverly, Shirley, and Lynn. I knew that ‘Lynne’ was a girls’ name, but didn’t know that ‘Lynn’ was also considered only a girls’ name until the wife commented about it.

***

Photo0048

Photo0049

Photo0047

The son went to our Osteopath recently, and got some shots of the ride of another customer who had not made it to the ‘Cruise Night’, downtown. It’s a rebuilt, 1934 Buick, according to the custom licence plate.  Love that vibrant color!

***

I knew that I was really stressed, when I started getting on my own nerves.

***

I recently hit a blog-site where the English Nazi nit-picker must have been a Colonel, not a mere private like me. He ranted about those who use ‘lie’ when it should be ‘lay’, and vice-versa.  Okay so far.  Then he attacked a nursery rhyme, and insisted that, “Now I lay me down to sleep.” was incorrect.  It should be ‘lie’.  Better men (or women) than him wrote that verse.  I ‘lay’ my book down, and ‘lay’ my child down to sleep.  I ‘lay’ my pillow down, and then, correctly using a reflexive verb, I ‘lay’ ME down to sleep.

I was reading a post about ‘Eggcorns’. Like Mondegreens, they’re those things that you don’t hear right, and then don’t repeat right, like “curl up in a feeble position,” “fire excape,” and “hone in on.”  The name Eggcorns itself comes from someone who didn’t even know about ‘acorns.’  The writer was doing fine until he started ranting about ‘conversating.’  “There’s no such word!  You’re not ‘conversating’, you’re conversing.”  It’s been an accepted, idiomatic word since 1965; even WordPress’s SpellCheck accepts it.

I recently used the Latin phrase, Caveat Emptor, and noted that it translates into English as Buyer beware.  GrammarCheck insists that it should be ‘Buyer bewares’.  (There, see?  It just did it again.)

***

In my You Don’t Say post, I wrote of timid linguists who won’t say or write things they regard as “swear words.” Like Amsterdam, ‘I don’t give a tinker’s dam’ was a perfect replacement for the word damn, it being a small rivet-like stopper to repair a hole in old, non-stainless steel pots, without the damning N that could keep you out of Heaven.  Twice in a week I ran into, “I don’t give a tinker’s curse.” as a euphemism for a euphemism.  I need to (re)find the word which describes errors like this caused by advancing technology.

***

 

Flash Fiction #150

Twins

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

DOUBLE THE PLEASURE DESTRUCTION
DOUBLE THE FUN

To have one rambunctious teenage son was….interesting. To have two – and twins – was stressful.  So different, and yet so much the same – and so competitive.  She almost needed a counsellor on speed-dial, and Valium in a Pez dispenser.  One for her; one each for the boys.

The contractor had said that the cost to repair the “Me first! No, Me!” front door would be reasonable, but would take a week.  Their automobile dealer said that the now-air-conditioned car would financially be another matter entirely.

Smart Car???! If they’d been smart, they’d have bought an old Police van with handcuff restraints.

***

Got to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Flash Fiction #67

Whirligig

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

OUROBOROS

Why is a mouse when it spins?
The higher, the fewer!

***

There’s a hole in our wooden bucket, dear wife.
Then fix it, dear husband!
With what shall I fix it?
With wood, dear husband!
How shall I cut the wood?
With the axe, husband!
The axe is too dull.
Then sharpen it!
But how shall I sharpen it?
On the stone!
With what shall I wet it?
With water, DEAR husband!!
How shall I get water?
In a bucket!!
There’s a hole in the bucket…..

***

Blessed are those who run around in circles, for they shall be called Big Wheels.

***

Neither original nor fiction, but a pastiche of quotes to show the frustrations of modern commercial life. First, all due credit to Robert Heinlein, for his vaguely worded mouse reference which means that, loosely translated, the higher you rise within any organization, the more numerous and strange your problems become, and the fewer of you there are to solve them.

Secondly, apologies to Harry Belafonte for slightly rewording his Caribbean ‘lazy-husband song’, which shows how one problem flows into the next, and finally back to the starting point, with no resolution.

And lastly, to the prolific philosopher, Anonymous, whose apt quote shows how we so often have to run harder and faster just to stay in the same place, chasing, but never quite reaching, solutions which are forever just out of reach ahead of us.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Who’s That Knocking At My Door?

Avon

I had thought that sociological changes would have rendered the art and practice of door-to-door sales and solicitation obsolete.  I am surprised (and disappointed) by the number of folks who still ring my chimes.

We recently replaced our front door, and now have no outer storm door, through which I can talk at unwanted callers.  If I open the door too wide, the stupid dog takes off to water all the light posts.  I must seem a strange paranoid sight, suspiciously peering out, and talking through a six-inch gap.

I was just dozing off for my 6PM nap recently, when the front door was thumped on strenuously.  When I peeked out, I saw an 18-year-old male.  Ignoring his immediate verbal presentation, I saw a belt-mounted ID badge for UNICEF.  Did I also see confusion and disappointment as I closed the door?  Put on a mask and costume, and I’ll put a dime in your collection box, as I do with the rest of the kids collecting at Halloween.

The doorbell recently rang at 3 PM.  After I shut the mouthy dog up, and stepped onto the porch, a middle-aged male handed me a coupon from Culligan, which would have him inspect my water softener for “Only $14.95.”  I’m also sure I’d be inveighed to replace my antique, which is paid for and works just fine, Thank You, and rent one from him at $29.95/Mo.

In a time and culture where both parents often work, I found 3 in the afternoon a strange time to be calling.  Wouldn’t he have done better, coming around early in the evening?

The one with the best line, and the best delivery, was a 20-something male who showed up in the middle of a Sunday afternoon.  He was dressed in a very official-looking uniform, with a very official-looking laminated badge – which didn’t actually identify his employer.

When I opened the door, he informed me that he was from, “the inspection division.”  (Of what?)  He was there to, “ensure the integrity of my home,” (My home’s integrity is better than yours!) and he would “just leave my shoes, here on the front mat” – and also looked so confused and disappointed, standing there in his socks, as I shut the door.

Governments of any level, phone, email, or send letters to inform of any such “inspections”, and damned few of them pay people to work on Sundays.  I don’t know what his game was, but the look on his face told me that I was one of the few who didn’t just unquestioningly let him in, to later wonder where the laptop, or family silver went.

It is not my job to make uninvited solicitors happy.  I don’t always try to make things hard for them….sometimes it just turns out that way.  Early of a recent evening, the doorbell rang.  I played Rock, Scissors, Biscuit with the dog – and lost.  When I gapped the door the regulation six inches, he was still barking in one ear as I tried to hear what the female of a well-dressed 20ish couple was saying.

Jehovah’s Witnesses??  No, I managed to make out that she would like me to step out, so that we could talk about my telephone bill.   Was I  ‘J. Smith?’  Kicking the dog back, I stepped out.  I didn’t confirm or deny that I was J. Smith.  I’m not the one the phone is registered to.  “Why do we need to talk about my phone bill?”

I’d already spotted ID badges, but she informed me that they were from Bell Telephone.  They just wanted to be sure that I was happy with the company and their service….was I?  “Well, it’s better now.  I had to call the repair department, and they sent a tech around this morning to do some repairs.”

That caused some consternation.  “But he got here with no problem?”  “A couple of years ago, when we had a different problem with your service, the tech arrived a day earlier than promised.  Scheduling said this one would be here the standard ‘between noon and 5PM’; he called at 10 AM, said he’d be here at 11, and showed up ten minutes later.  What if we’d been at a doctor’s appointment?”

Hmmm…no comment.  She referred to a clipboard.  “I see here that you have only a land line with us.  I assume you get your cable and internet from Rogers.”  “No, and No!  Directly above you, on the porch roof, is my Shaw satellite dish, from which I don’t get cable.”  “I’m too short.  I didn’t see it.”  Not even from the sidewalk, where you should be??  “I’ll boost you up so that you can see it.”  “No thanks!”

This is not going well – for her….I think it is.  “Bell is installing new fibre-optic cables, and we’d like to know if you’d like to pay to upgrade your service.  Are you J. Smith?”  “No, I’m not.  That would be my wife.”  “Oh, could we speak to her?”  “No, she’s upstairs in bed.”  “Oh, I hope we didn’t wake her by ringing the bell.”  “No, you set the dog off, and he woke the whole neighborhood.”  “Ohhh…”

The guy with her never said a word.  One of them was probably training the other, though I’m not sure which was which.  I told them I was already being charged too much for the amount we use their services, and shut the door before one or both of them broke down and cried.   😀

#447