Sometime during First Raygun Nancy said that himself had gifted her with “my little gun.” The remark always amused me and seems especially appropriate for a title.
Despite growing up in what my Bostonian mother sarcastically referred to as The Great State (Dallas actually) none of the family, CONservs all, had any use for guns nor would my mother have tolerated one in the house. Both my father’s brothers had served in the Navy in WW ll; the older had served in WW l as well; my father’s service in the Army during that war was most noteworthy for his having managed to get in despite his two (or more) 4-Fs. The Army had the good sense to make him a supply sergeant keeping him stateside for most of the time. Nevertheless he was on a ship for the invasion of Japan when the bombs were dropped. As part of the fresh troops for that action he expected to be early to the beach and unlikely to return. Whether these facts resulted in a complete lack of interest if not disdain for firearms never was expressed, but none of them possessed or saw any reason for possessing one. Conceivably I may have pulled as many as three triggers on a total of perhaps five occasions. So in the context of such ignorance and inexperience it still is surprising that for a short time I once owned a gun.
The summer I graduated from college, I worked for a small armored car service in Texas. Despite the fact that I once napped on three quarters of a million dollars in currency in the back of the truck—my assignment was not to leave under any circumstance and consciousness never was mentioned—most of the time we carried papers of value only to the depositing businesses and a few tens of thousands of dollars in coins which is to say that the size and sophistication of the gang required to knock us over on the propitious day would’ve been too great to justify the effort. Put another way, the guns were primarily for show in order to dissuade any delusional punk who saw an opportunity for unjust enrichment. Frankly, I couldn’t have cared less if robbers wanted the coins so long as I didn’t have to carry them! Them bastards was heavy!!! To illustrate, in the ‘60s a television panel show cast was paid in pennies for a joke. Brinks crews wheeled several carts containing bags of the coins onto the stage. Similarly we had to use carts to deliver our coins to various establishments in need of same. More than once we’d laughed at the prospect of someone attempting to relieve us of this treasure. Nevertheless it was necessary to look the part (albeit without uniforms), but what to do.
One need not be a psychiatrist to be aware of the sexual connotations of weapons. Really all one need do is observe men playing with their guns—a universal exercise I’m convinced. Aside from law enforcement officers I’ve worked with, I’ve never known of a man having a gun that did not make an appearance at least once during whatever our association. For example, a very successful lawyer of my acquaintance saw fit to exhibit his gun in a restaurant one afternoon during the “three mart lunch” era. So I had to have a gun, piece, side arm, penile….
Aside from myself and one other, the crews at this establishment were all long retired military, police, etc., The two of us probably didn’t reduce the average age much below 60. They were especially fond of their weapons displaying them often, handling not to say caressing them, taking them apart, passing them around…Indeed, it was amazing to me how often handguns seemed to be removed and on display. Several people wanted to sell me their weapons in order that they might justify purchasing something of grander nature. Thus, the curiosity over when and what I might procure to enhance my manhood was a continuing subject of conversation.
Knowing next to nothing about armament, I reasoned that I should obtain a (semi-) automatic pistol because if there were no bullet in the chamber and the safety were engaged, it would be less likely that I might somehow shoot myself in the foot. So, I betook myself to a pawn shop where I purchased an ancient .32 caliber automatic handgun for a relative pittance thereby disappointing sundry colleagues. As I took my gun and a holster therefor, it dawned upon me that the piece being merely for show, there was no reason to invest in bullets; thus not only would I avoid clumsily shooting myself, no one would take my gun from me and shoot me with it. Brilliant, except for the single flaw in the ointment…
Naturally my flawed reasoning came to bite me the afternoon following my acquisition. Sitting in the lunch room with about 20 colleagues, I was asked to “let me see your gun.” Amused, I handed it to the man. He hefted it appreciatively as in a porn flick one might a woman’s breast then sighted down the barrel before stroking its blue steel finish and the rough grips. As the others present watched voyeuristically, he toyed with the piece for a considerable time before to my horror cocking the thing! What the hell kind of precious goddamned fool puts a bullet into the chamber of a gun in a crowded lunch room??!!! Horror of horrors, he then cocked the weapon again. When the bullet wasn’t ejaculated from the chamber, he did it again and again fruitlessly! Finally, he pulled the clip from the butt. Seeing that the clip was empty, he roared and announced that “The kid’s got no bullets for his gun!” whereupon the room broke out in prolonged, derisive laughter. Needless to note, I was ordered, however logical my protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, to obtain cartridges for my extension. On the way home I stopped at the pawn shop and bought four bullets for a dollar (never the hell mind how long ago this was!).
When not worn, my gun was on the top shelf in a hall closet. Police (and others) I’ve known have said that they sleep with their weapons under their pillows, on their nightstands, between their mattresses and springs. (Apropos of little, a DC policeman who joined the force to avoid “the Nam(!!)” told me he had an acquaintance of the distaff side of the docket who required him to wear his to bed. She apparently had other kinks to her coil that gave the relationship a little longer duration than might be expected for what it’s worth.) That closet and its contents haunted my dreams. Whatever monsters might’ve resided therein previously, only its current contents manifested themselves in my subconscious. Given the perspicacity of the audience, I shan’t relate ANY of those except to note that among other things the distance to the closet often varied, but suffice it to say those dreams were suitably sweaty. When I departed for graduate school that fall, I sold the gun to a neighbor who in an acutely drunken state had terrorized me with his rifle during final exams, but that is another story.