Yesterday at the UMY (United Methodist Youth) yard sale, I spotted a piece of wood carved in the shape of a pistol. On the butt of the gun was fastened a clothes pin, the type with a spring, so that when one squeezed the ‘trigger’ one also applied pressure on the wooden pin attached to the handle. I knew what sort of toy this was, so I bought it to take home to show my youngest son. I wondered if he knew what it was, but when he saw it, he said, “Oh a rubber band gun.”
When I was a child most boys had one of these (girls didn’t) – larger, probably made from a 2×4 piece of wood. We called them ‘rubber guns’ because the projectiles they fired were made from sliced inner tubes and when they struck their mark they left a whelp as thick as your finger. Both my brothers had this particular weapon, as I remember, and though Mother admonished them to not point it at people … well … how do you think I know about the wound it left?
Having been the victim, I wanted to be the victimizer. So one day I found one of the unattended guns and attempted to load it. I had seen my brothers hook the piece of rubber on the barrel, pulling it out the length of the wood until it was held in place tightly with the clothes pin. I tried this, but because the strip of inner tube needed to stretch about twice as far as it was ever meant to, it wasn’t as easy as it looked. The rubber slipped off the end of the gun and slapped me on the side of my face. When Mother noticed the red mark, this caused some questions and brought the pronouncement that I could have put my eye out.
I suppose this is the basis of my lack of interest, avoidance really, of any sort of weaponry. I don’t want to put meaning to the words, “This will hurt me more than it does you.”