I’m getting close to doing away with the moral dilemma about selling my old firearms – or rather, my dad’s old firearms. My qualms about taking advantage of other people’s bigotry and ignorance for financial gain are being overwhelmed by the more pressing credo of “GIT MONEY,” and I think I’m pretty much OK with that.*
Of my remaining guns, two are the sort of beginner thing one gets at Western Auto or similar, a single-shot 20-gauge shotgun and a very old .22 which should probably be left for the Alabama nephews for when their father decides to take them hunting. Two more are going to be sold, and the last I’m keeping – a seventy-year-old Browning repeater shotgun that my maternal grandfather left to his son-in-law, which passed to me when he died.
I anticipate realizing a windfall in excess of a thousand bucks selling the two that I want to sell. Which is not a bad little extra to find in your bank account. The problem is, though, I don’t want to waste it, especially given the perspective – after all, that Sweet Sixteen is older than either of my parents, and the pistol I’m selling is basically a downsized version of the same gun Browning sold to the Army as the new standard sidearm in 1911.** If you want to know what kind of engineer John Moses Browning was, consider this: the armaments he designed for the US military in the WWI era were still in standard use into the 1980s, and a pistol he first designed in the mid-1920s (the Browning Hi-Power) is still the standard issue sidearm of about 50 countries to this day, just now starting to be replaced.
So I say that to say this: I don’t want to sell these things and trade the money for something that’s going to be gathering dust in the back of a drawer in four years. Which is not an idle comment – my personal laptop and home desktop computers have both cacked out; the former is no longer functioning (bad motherboard) and the latter is a pre-production design with a bad hard drive that cannot be replaced. The kinds of things I tend to sink money on – laptops and cell phones – are not the sort of thing one can buy and use continuously for twenty years, let alone seventy-five.***
It begs the question, though…what, in the modern world of 2010, can you buy that lasts until the next Olympics? Clothing, I guess, though I have enough DMs and outerwear to last me the rest of my natural life, and the tuxedo gets so little use I can’t imagine needing another one. Nor a suit for that matter; I have my one suit and it does for funerals and some weddings (this being California). Automobile? I have one, and even so, unless you get something superb, are you going to be driving it in twenty years?
Furniture, I suppose. Jewelry? Maybe.**** I could put it on the mortgage and say it’s part of the house, but that hardly feels like accomplishing much when it’s not even a whole month’s payment. Maybe invest in a new washing machine? (Hardly trivial since I do the laundry, but…not really what I had in mind, you know?) It begs the question…are our lives nowadays just that transitory? Are we permanently wed to this sense of impermanence? And is that lack of permanence the very kind of thing that provokes and worries the kind of people who have half a dozen guns?
* Well, maybe not OKAY okay, but I’ll live. Probably kick a hundred bucks to the Human Rights Campaign or something just to salve my conscience and poke a thumb in Cousin Pa’s eye.
** A Colt Government .380, if you must know. It amuses me how many gun-nut types consider the .380 ACP an inadequate cartridge for self-defense. My thinking is – you know what, I’ll take three shots at you with a .380, and then you can spend eternity bitching about how you can’t be dead because you were shot with a wimpy bullet. The “mouse gun” in my pocket trumps the custom match-grade .45 you left at home in a drawer by the bed.
*** To me, this is one of the ultimate indictments of our industry – at best, you can expect something you buy to last eight to ten years, because even if you have spare parts and extra batteries and take care of it, the technology will leave you behind in a decade. A laptop from 2000 might be feasible, if you had the presence of mind to pick up extra batteries and make sure to have the Wi-Fi option installed AND make sure it can run Ubuntu or something so you have a modern browser. A cell phone from 2000 might work IF you were on Powertel or Verizon or Sprint, and you’re in the right area and can get by on one frequency and no data, but if you have an AT&T wireless phone from 2000, you own a brick. I guess the moral of the story is if you want timelessness and permanence, major in history.
**** At this point I have given up on spending it on myself, as the only jewelry I would ever get at this point would be if somebody inexplicably voted me a championship ring. Which I don’t see happening. Then again, there’s always the tattoo option…