An Award-Winning Disclaimer

A charming little Magpie whispered this disclaimer into my ear, and I'm happy to regurgitate it into your sweet little mouth:

"Disclaimer: This blog is not responsible for those of you who start to laugh and piss your pants a little. Although this blogger understands the role he has played (in that, if you had not been laughing you may not have pissed yourself), he assumes no liability for damages caused and will not pay your dry cleaning bill.

These views represent the thoughts and opinions of a blogger clearly superior to yourself in every way. If you're in any way offended by any of the content on this blog, it is clearly not the blog for you. Kindly exit the page by clicking on the small 'x' you see at the top right of the screen, and go fuck yourself."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Aw, Shewt...

So, I've been learning a lot about myself lately.

One thing that I've learned, looking at my resume (as I have been doing quite a bit lately) is that I've had many jobs, but no careers. A dear old friend of mine has been trying to convince me that many people my age are this way, and that, if this were the 1920s, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

He's probably right on both points. A great many people my age flit from job to job, wandering directionless well into their late twenties, searching for a place where they fit, whilst spinning their wheels in a lot of places where they don't. And, were this the 1920s, I most likely would have apprenticed in some trade, and stayed with it for the rest of my life, or perhaps changed paths once, if at all.

This friend, by the way, decided that he wanted to be a physician when he was 24, requiring a post bac year to get himself up-to-speed. So I guess he knows what he's talking about. As much as anyone I know, at least.

But I still can't help feeling, I don't know, insecure. Singular in my inability to prove myself on a career path. Different. I guess that what comes from your parents telling you you're special, unique, apart. Didn't your parents tell you that, too?

And so I've got my job, and I'm using it as a place-holder until the career in law enforcement starts. To prep myself, I've been lifting weights-- turning my spindly little arms into, um, less spindly little arms? I've been running, jogging, sprinting, sit-upping....

Oh, and shooting.

A month ago, I had never fired a gun. Seven years ago, when I tried to become a cop the first time, I took apart a 9mm semiautomatic handgun, and I put it back together again in a small classroom in front of a retired police officer. Oh, and I also did a fill-in-the-blank ditto sheet, identifying the parts of the gun. I never fired it. Realizing that I would be amongst individuals who are ex-Army types, and huntin' types, and people who've been popping off rounds since before they had any peach fuzz to speak of, I decided that it was time to bite the bullet.


My wife and I are fortunate enough to live in what I feel is a sort of neighborhood that is on the cusp of upper-middle class. In any case, you have to drive for a while before you can arrive at a destination where people shoot guns on a regular basis. The closest firing range open to the public that I know of is around fifty minutes away. I've been twice, and Mrs. Apron went with me both times. The first time was after a very strenuous hike, and Mrs. Apron had slid down a rocky embankment, mostly on her butt, but some of it on her arm, which she managed to gash up.

"Did he do that to you?" the gun shop clerk asked with a wry grin on his face the first time we went. We were covered in dirt, gravel dust, and sweat. He was dressed in a denim collared shirt, denim shorts, and he wore a Glock in a holster on his hip. I guess it's like waitresses at Flingers needing to wear 36 pieces of flair. I was surprised he wasn't wearing 35 other guns. I'm sure there was at least one other one that we couldn't see.

Mrs. Apron vacillated on whether or not she wanted to shoot or watch. Finally, she capitulated. The clerk was very friendly, in spite of the Tea Party literature all over the place and a sign that said, "Gun Control = Two Hands on a Gun" and he didn't make us feel like the incompetent Jews that we were. He started us out on a .22 caliber handgun, which felt extremely dangerous.

Until we went back the next time and fired a .38. That motherfucker was big, and heavy, and loud.

Firing a gun is very strange if you've never done it before. Then again, I guess anything is strange if you've never done it before. While we were at the firing range the first time, I can remember putting the bullets into the gun and thinking about my "firsts." I couldn't remember the first time I was behind the wheel of a car, and what that felt like. I do remember the first time being behind the wheel of an ambulance, totally convinced that I would kill my partner, the patient, and myself. I remember the first time I had sex. Let's just say shooting the .22 went better. It lasted longer, too.

I felt much more confident the second time we went, and I kind of got a little smitten with the .38, even though the ammunition cost a LOT more. I'm, of course, ashamed about the fact that I enjoyed utilizing an instrument of death and destruction. In Tad Friend's book, "Cheerful Money: Me, My Family, and the Last Days of Wasp Splendor" he writes of a choice abbreviation that his mother frequently employed: "NFOCD."

"Not For Our Class, Dear."

When I first approached my mother at the tenderish age of 22 and announced my intention to take the police officer exam and enroll at the academy, that is, essentially, what she said to me.

"That's not for you," she informed me seriously.

"Oh, it's okay for some other mother's son, but not for your son?" I asked, expecting that to be a retort that would sting her into a shocked silence. It didn't.

"That's exactly right," my mother replied, before descending into the basement to do laundry, which was, and still is her way of avoiding any unpleasantness more unpleasant than laundry.

She's doing a lot better seven years later. Now, she actually asks me questions about my preparations, she wants to know timelines and takes an interest in where I am faxing resumes and when tests are coming up. When I told her I had applied to the FBI, she didn't flinch. Maybe it's because I'm older, or because she's older, or because my middle sister is the squeaky wheel-- with a baby that my mother is basically raising and a marriage on its way to dissolution, and my eldest sister having moved back home under topsy-turvy circumstances.

"I guess I just don't know where to start worrying first," she told me this week.

"Oh, mom," I said, "you started decades ago-- and you'll never finish, so just kind of start in the middle, in the thick of it all. Maybe you'll stop worrying when you're dead."

She laughed.


"I guess that's why some people call it their 'sweet release'," I said, pushing out the screen door after a brief visit with her and my nephew.

"Well," she said, ever the pragmatist, "I'm not especially looking forward to that either."

1 comment:

  1. I guess firing a gun for the first time is a lot like sex -- shooting too soon is never a good thing.

    I've never fired a real gun. Which isn't that much of a surprise, except for the time I lived in Utah. I remember talking to a very clean-cut Mormon girl, who was telling me excitedly about the gun show she was going to the next day, and the new gun she'd be getting the next day, and how unfair it was she couldn't have her guns in the dorms.


Got something to say? Rock on with your badass apron!