Is there anything more heartwarming this time of year than the story of a boy and his first gun? Well, maybe, but why talk about that?I want a Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time. Jean Shepherd, A Christmas Story
Mine was a Daisy. I still remember sneaking out into the living room on Christmas morning and seeing it under the tree. All the other presents could wait.
A few days after Christmas, my friend Jeff came over. We were plinking aluminum cans from the front porch steps. I set a can up on a tree stump about 20 yards from us. Fancying myself quite the rifle man, I jacked a Copperhead .177 BB into the chamber, pumped the fore grip, and was about to take aim.
"I bet you five dollars you miss." Jeff said.
"Huh," I replied with disdain. "You're gonna regret saying that."
We shook hands. I rechecked the chamber, spat on the sidewalk, squinted my eyes and drew down on the can. Slowly I released my breath and squeezed the trigger. Pop! To my heightened senses, the sound of the BB leaving the barrel seemed louder than usual. The shot was off. The can didn't move.
"You missed!" Jeff cried.
"Bull $#!+." I replied. "These sights must be off."
"Son!" My father had been standing with us on the porch the whole time. "It's a poor craftsman who blames his tool. To make matters worse, you're looking for a reason to welsh on your bet. You made a bet and you lost. Now pay the man."
Grumbling, I went inside, popped the plug out of my Mickey Mouse bank and counted out five dollars. I went back outside and reluctantly handed it to Jeff.
"Well, that's the last bet I'll ever make." I said, with a certain degree of newly found resolve.
"I'll bet you ten dollars you don't make it twenty four hours." Jeff said.
Merry Christmas, everybody!