“Yeah! All right, you primitive screw-heads, listen up. See this? This…is my BOOMSTICK! It’s a twelve gauge, double barreled Remington; S-Mart’s top-of-the-line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That’s right; this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan, retails for about $109.95. It’s got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel and a hair trigger. That’s right. Shop Smart. Shop S-Mart. YA GOT THAT!?”- Ashley J. Williams: the chainsaw handed, time traveling, anti-hero as portrayed by Bruce Campbell. From Army of Darkness the 3rd and final film of the Evil Dead trilogy.
Who wants to play GUNS??? Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, many moons before virtual reality, online battle formats and first person shooters, if you wanted to pretend like you were shooting someone you had to get off your a** to do it. You called it playing cowboys or soldiers or spies and sometimes you just called it for what it was- let’s play guns!
If you were lucky then perhaps your parents could afford a plastic replica with battery powered sound F/X. You were envied by your peers, but missed out on a whole lot of imagination. For most of us it meant scouring the woods, searching for the perfect wooden imitation weapon. With time on a slow summer day, you might modify your initial find. Painting it black, then wondering why it stuck to your hand; whittling a little detail into it with a pocket knife. Or duct-taping two broom-handles together for barrels, adding a third below for the stock and butt, then driving a nail in and bending it over for a trigger guard. The last allowed you to spin the gun on your finger- total badassery there.
Most kids sported a faux M-16 or rifle (caliber optional often fictional) or “just a pistol”. Mine always came back to that last one- a double-barreled, 12 gauge, sawed-off, broom-stick shotgun. Sadly there is no recollection of how or why this became my preferred pretend weapon of choice. Maybe in comparison to an M-16 or “just a pistol” it sounded more impressive to say the full name in one breath.
With age we put childish things aside, but sometimes we replace them with the real thing. Over the years I’ve owned a number of DB shotguns. Many of them were cut down and/or chopped up – countless fire-arm experimentations, looking for just the right combinations of modifications. Later to be resold at a loss, given away or discarded. With the price of older shot guns rising and the scarcity of the side by side DB, so too was my hobby and quest.
It wasn’t until years later, when I laid hands on a Stoeger IGA side by side DB coach gun that my interest resurfaced. With no cutting down or sawing off this gun just felt right. No, it was more than that; there was an emotional satisfaction, on a material level. It felt like completion, it felt like a concurred hurdle in my mental well-being… it was f-ing groovy!
It was a gift, off the shelf, out of the box brand new and during its 12+ years in my possession it was never loaded or fired. All the while it hung on a custom made rack, dusted, polished… waiting to find purpose. Wanting its first firing to be momentous, to have history, to mean something, it waited. Why not fire it off for the first time succeeding my only child’s matrimony? That’s it, that’s perfect.
When she got married, it was a shotgun wedding, only me and mine were not invited. And so the gun continued to hang and in time a feeling of despise grew around it. It came to represent what was and what would never be with a loathing disregard. Thus when that last bit of cash was needed to purchase the engagement ring which would seal the union with my beloved Lil Red (current spouse BTW) it was sold without hesitation or emotion – with the understanding that someday it might need to be replaced.
Nine… years… later…
Wandering about pawnshops, always looking for something, never really sure of what until you find it and finally I did. That the gun was already bought the moment the broker handed it across the counter was a given. Used, fired countless unknown but that was o.k. there was no pressured need for inauguration or ceremony. It carried no memory or meaning other than what it would come to be.
Was it a sense of power, the rush of holding a weapon of mass destruction in mine own hands that drew me back? No. Was it a sense of spiritual cleansing and emotional cleansing that could only be healed by facing ones demons? No. Was it the sense of security that goes hand in hand with a weapon that… let’s be honest… is pretty damned scary to an intruder (pshaw I gots chainsaws). So that’s a no.
We find that as we journey down life’s highway, there will be people, places and yes, even things, that have an impact on our lives. Sometimes purpose is apparent, obvious or necessary, but sometimes it’s not. Questioning it is futile though it makes for great conversation and writing. When it comes to anything especially things, (because we can’t control the people and places have a way of changing) the choice of making them a part of our lives, a part of who we are or just something we like having around is ours.
This makes me feel better about today, this is something that brings me peace and contentment, this is something I like having close at hand that makes me feel a little better about being me. Keep searching, it may not be a Stoeger, side by side, double-barreled, 12 gauge, coach shotgun (it may not be a fire arm at all) but everybody needs a boom-stick.
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Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya!