I grew up a generic unimportant resident of a strange distant place called America. I had an utterly nondescript, boring, upbringing; which is about the best thing that can happen to a kid. It was a different world than the one we inhabit now. This post proves it.
A few months ago I found a treasure among the discarded things of childhood. I present to you the physical reminder of a happy childhood arms race:
Exhibit One (fun shooty goodness!):
Exhibit Two (smart kids know to double tap!):
Exhibit Three (hold my beer and watch this!):
I can’t remember how old I was when I made these. Clearly well before the discovery of trucks and girls. The reason I stopped was my Dad’s cheap little bandsaw. It wasn’t holding up to my abuse so I chose to stop using it on scrap plywood. I did this before it could give up the ghost and get me (rightfully) blamed for the expense.
Here’s the funny part. I sold these things. I sold them in school. I brought them to school, fired them in school, and sold them to other kids at school. (They immediately fired them back at me, to everyone’s mutual amusement).
It was good clean fun. I don’t recall getting into trouble (about the rubber band guns at least). I remember selling at least one to a teacher. I doubt teachers or administrators were delighted with my antics but they were sensibly indulgent. Apparently they let it slide. (Or maybe they hated me with a white hot loathing but I somehow eluded punishment. One can never be sure of their own memory and I was a slippery little punk. Or maybe I was punished and forgot? Being on a teacher’s shit list wouldn’t have bothered my young self one bit so it’s both a possibility and a moot point.)
At any rate, I was a manufacturer and purveyor of illicit homemade unregistered rubber band guns. Good for me! I’d forgotten about it until I found these plywood concoctions.
Incidentally, I’ve tested them and they still work. They don’t appeal to my kids but I can load and shoot a rubber band faster than they can run. (I did it as an empirical test. It was for science! Also it’s good to be a dad.)
It boggles the mind. I wasn’t expelled, pumped full of Ritalin, or carted off to a re-education camp. There were no protests, the school wasn’t evacuated, and no administrator had a hysteric fit. Nobody put an eye out, fatalities were zero, and I wasn’t carted out of homeroom in handcuffs. How rational life must have seemed back then.
Most of my memories of school aren’t so delightful. I mostly remember drudgery; a bored slab of meat chained to a desk being talked at by dull apparatchiks. I must have learned something but I doubt it’s anything I couldn’t have handled in six weeks a year. Even so I have proof of some fun times. Fun? At school! Such a strange notion nowadays.
Rubber band guns… who knew? It’s like stumbling across an old raft and suddenly remembering you were Huck Finn.