Overheard at the Ocala Public Library:
Old Man, “There’s some good stuff about gun laws in here.”
Old Man with Navy cap, “Where?”
Old Man, “In the paper.”
Old Man with Navy cap, “Hmm.” Pauses looks generally at the pages harboring rows of squirmishing black font, “You think they're gonna take our guns away? I think Obama’s gonna take ‘em away.”
Old Man, “Nah, there’s too many senators working for the NRA.”
Smugly, I sit in the Ocala Public library absently following hipster newsfeeds & liberal doctrine. Libraries can also double for Unitarian Churches in Florida. It’s quiet, they care for the elderly and the homeless, the texts are mostly unread, there is a donation box with $3.98 in change and a gift card for Shoney’s (yeah it’s still open). So even in a church, retirees from (the blue cap says “Korea 1951”) the military industrial congress flout the intent of the founders and have not beat there side arms into plows or walkers or anything really besides hope. Hope, that willful little angel of the mind mushing and clawing her way thru the slush and ruts of despair. Hope's sled of anticipation gets you thru to that night foretold (coming very soon!) when an intruder will enter your hut loudly enough to be heard by your deaf ears and over ambient hum of the air conditioner & sleep aides and not so late at night so you are really dead asleep but in the early stages of slumber and before the pre-morning pee and moving slowly enough that you, the man of the family (for it goes without saying that men fight in wars, put out fires, work the thin blue line and do other actions in keeping with the ways of James T. Kirk) has enough time to find his revolver only it’s not a revolver any more its a Gloc semiautomatic with 12 shots, and you will take late night, demented, fear spackled aim at this ISIL invader (hopefully a man of color with his lusty intent for your defenseless wife) and finally to the swell of a brass & strings section, guiltlessly blast the motherfucker thru the wall just as he is about to pounce. It’s as American as Ammon Bundy!
Guns are hope. They are the hope of agency. A gun is a wand of power whispering to these poor men who must manage the unfortunate realities of their turgid expectations. Perhaps they were soldiers or perhaps they think soldiering is really cool, kind of like the NFL. (Go Team!) In any regard, they were simply doing what was done in their day the same way a Roman centurion might hurl himself into a line of whirring metal blades to be run thru like a sack of shit and seawater and to bleed out wretchedly on the plains of Thermopili all for Rome & the Emperor or whatever. That day is now over. It's notcoming back. And yet, we are all still the children of our first decade waiting for simpler answers.
We've been told not to fashion idols by more that one version of God of Abraham. But I think we've ignored more crucial texts than that. Anyway, I’d wager that the Gun is the American male crucifix. As these two heroes in the Ocala Public Library have told me, it’s just not fair. It is not fair and they are coming for you. That funk of outrage drifts downward and gets into the drapes & carpet so that nowadays it’s not just old dudes angry about creeping Obamas.
The amygdala, that nasty little almond of anxiety, spritzes atomized fear into his sleepless night. The wily mind of the hunter gatherer magically transported to a subdivision near Tampa, struggles with the images from the television (coming directly into the hut!). The blue box tempts the angry almond with rage wrapped in scantily clad virgins and torments his simpler mind to no end. They are coming for your stuff, and that stuff is your freedom.
The gun is a right wing version of death with dignity. I mean (Spoiler Alert!) you are gonna die and if you are gonna die and you sort of have come to terms with that, then you might want to skip all the poop yourself & pain and just skedattle on up to those lusty virgins. It might be irrational but so is porn. The gun rests heavy & warm in the palm waiting to be squeezed. Cocked 'n Ready (sounds like a Homicidal Hamburger Helper). If they decide to come for you, (yes YOU! Moses! or Harry Potter! or whoever the fuck you are!) you will make that last stand like Davy Crockett or David Bowie or whatever and die in a shoot out so awesome that Clint Eastwood can make a movie about you and your man-ass-ness.
I respect and understand this need for control. It’s why I gather (I'm lousy with a spear) in an RV in the plains of the WM. There is some mace hanging behind the air freshener in case bitches start shit.
While I recognize that I will end up the same as the above two soldiers in the Ocala Public Library. I will have my own personal torment as l read the editorials in the NYT. (Will organic tea really help my 401k? and improve literacy in Uganda?) Stumbling thru life carrying the indelible dreams of my first decade; the knots will not be undone. A scotoma in my worldview is growing to eclipse all rational thought. In the chill of fear, I wrap ever tightly in my hate binkie. Maybe it won’t be my pistol stealing black president. Whatever it'll be, it won't matter, hope will see me thru.
Puzzler: if "god" backwards is "dog", and "gun" backwards is "nug", what is the secret message I need decoded? Maybe just get a pet, light a bowl and futter about the tomato plants.