Halcyon days of the Kalashnikov
While I was in graduate school for my MA in Janitorial Science (a.k.a. creative writing), I worked summers up in Pingree Park, which is located just to the north of Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a wonderful, carefree time. I didn’t get much writing done, but I did get mountain hard.
What really made the summers exceptional were the human beings that chose to isolate themselves in the mountains. Everyone had their reasons – some were on the run from Johnny Law, others were looking to get back to nature, and some of us were just desperate for a job that paid in room and board.
One of the bosses of my trail crew was a staunch libertarian. He would spend his off hours tinkering with assault rifles and hosting movie nights (the film with women in bikinis shooting machine guns was always a hit).
Anyhow, while I’m a fan and friend to libertarians everywhere, the fringes of the movement always seemed more amusing than serious. And so amusement was the tenor of our road trip when a friend and I made the trek to town to a legal gun shop, laid down our summer’s hard earned cash and bought a Romanian AK-47, a few 30 round clips and several hundred rounds of ammunition.
Was there a point or purpose to owning an eastern-bloc assault rifle?
But, like the time I did the dyed hair thing, the experience was almost the point in itself. Given your finite life, is this something you’d care to add to your life’s resume? Some folks say no. Others say yes.
We used the rifle for photo shoots and set dressing for home movies, and generally did everything with it but actually shoot it. I learned to field strip and clean the weapon (never know when that might come in handy), and always behaved like a responsible gun owner.*
Fast forward several years. Last week I was driving back home over the mountains and the front tire on the Subaru blew out. I pulled over quickly but not before the tire had shredded. When I got home I discovered that in order to lessen transmission wear on an all-wheel drive vehicle, you need tires with identical wear. Unable to find a tire with the wear we needed, H and I elected to buy four new tires, deciding that $400 for tires was cheaper than new transmission in a couple years.
Sadly, despite being a highly paid gaming industry professional, even that $400 was a bit out of my range. And in one of those strange moments of synchronicity, a relative asked to buy the rifle.
And so it goes. I can no longer lay claim to being the owner of an assault rifle.
But I can say that I was once so poor that I had to sell an AK-47 to afford tires, and that’s a pretty fun story.
Besides, in the analysis of the tires vs. rifle equation, the sad truth is that I’m the sort of guy who would rather flee than fight, no matter what friends say. ;)
*Some things you just don't screw around with. Ever.