a shooter

Elevate those guns a little lower .       ——Andrew Jackson 

Woman shooter in 1914 :woman shooter 1914I was flying to Europe a few years ago ; first lap was to New York . I didn’t get my requested aisle seat and had to sit one seat in . The guy who got an aisle seat , the one who I would have to be crawling over to get out into the aisle all through the flight , was a talkative fellow . Young guy from Nevada . His wife had the aisle seat across from him , on the other side of the aisle . That was a smart move ; good planning .  They had  paid twenty bucks extra each  for the aisle seats .

I might should have paid the 20 bucks , too , but for the nagging thought in my mind that this kind of nickel-and-dime stuff perpetrated by airlines is wrong . Ryan Air , in Europe , apparently went so far as to  consider charging for the use of restrooms in flight . That’s too much , isn’t it ?Airlines charge for the seats near exits because they have a few inches of extra leg room . They’ll sell me a beer on board  for seven dollars . Well , they won’t sell me  the beer . I’m sensitive to the nagging notion that I’m being taken advantage of .Jail la police museum 005

A flight is not a vacation . It’s not an amusement park , either . It’s not one of those occasions when someone might forget the family budget . The flight might be on the way to a vacation . It may be , for others ,  a business trip .  A flight’s not one of those  times a person might say : ” Oh , what the hell ! Let’s forget the cost and have fun ! ”  ( I might have paid extra for an isle seat if the isle was nice )  It’s transportation . I paid for  my ticket , and now my wallet’s shut down for the flight . All those extra charges are annoying . They’re bait I won’t bite , mostly out of sheer stubbornness .

Anyway . I guess that’s neither here nor there . This post is going elsewhere , I think .

I ended up sitting next to a guy who , evidently , didn’t share my views on paying for an aisle seat . He bought himself a beer , too. Maybe he was right . I’m not saying I was right . We could still be civil toward one another nevertheless , I decided . It’ll be a long flight , one way or another .

This guy was talkative . He had pictures on his phone , too , to illustrate his chatter . Guns .   He showed me hundreds of tiny photos of his guns ; not of his kids , or of his wife , or of his home .  He seemed especially  proud of his M-16 .  I glanced at his tiny photos and pretended interest .

” What we went to Vietnam with ,” he said , pointing to the M-16.   He was too young to be of the Vietnam War generation . ” It replaced the Garand rifle of WWII .”    At this point I contributed to the discussion by saying that the U.S. issued M-14s in Vietnam before M-16s .  I tried to sound knowlegeable .  I didn’t have a phone to help me illustrate my chatter , however .

”  Are you a shooter ? ” he asked . ” You look like a shooter.”

At that moment I discovered that , to a shooter , I look like a shooter . Is that a good thing ? , I wondered .

I looked at this guy again and decided that he was not of my crowd . ” Shooter ” to him was , I suspected , something of a distinctive category of human being , with sharp edges , intolerance as a watchword , hate as a basic ingredient . Remember , I was the one who listened to his chatter from LAX to JFK . I took the measure of the man . He may have been a kind , tolerant , Mother Theresa – sort of a person . Might have been , but I got another impression . He is what he is . That doesn’t matter much , of course , since I’ll never see him again .

I won’t go into the factors contributing to my impression . It wasn’t that he collected guns , though , or that he liked to shoot . I don’t think it was even that he paid $40 extortion money for an aisle seat for his wife and himself , either . It’s hard to explain . But , with some people , we get those unsettling vibes , don’t we ? I got ’em with Shooter -boy .

I imagine him holed up in his fortified bunker compound somewhere in Nevada , with his weapons and his stockpiled ammunition , waiting for Armageddon , with his wife and kids at the other gun ports to provide crossfire .

I told him , ” No. No I’m not a shooter . ”  He seemed disappointed . It must have been a long flight from then on for him , too .

Roosevelt High School students in Los Angeles  in 1941 :roosevelt HS LA 1942

roosevelt High School LA 1942


Filed under humor

16 responses to “a shooter

  1. Yes, I think you throughly disappointed him, however, something tells me you took great pleasure in admitting your lack of shooting. I enjoyed your post. Thanks for the laugh. I’ve been a shooter, a few times, it has never felt comfortable to me.

    • Could be shooting , but it could be playing cards , fishing , drinking , or collecting . Some people go too far , making some otherwise good thing an obsession and an be-all-end-all way of life . Thanks for the comment . That you were a shooter I won’t hold against you . And , yeah , I think you’re right . I had to discourage the guy before he got too wound up .

  2. Dan, you and I are on a similar wavelength these days. First banks and now airlines. I have a post tomorrow about airlines. I’m glad you turned south on shooter boy, it will look less like I’m copying you.

    Talkative people on an airplane can be good or bad. I’m usually not in the mood. I enjoyed this.

  3. Reblogged this on No Facilities and commented:
    I have said before that I don’t reblog things often. One reason is that a lot of people that follow me also follow the people I follow. I don’t see a lot of overlap with the blog I am reblogging today. Dan and I are often operating on a similar wavelength. We are about as far apart as you can get geographically (CT – Southern Cal), but something seems to resonate between our two blogs. As I was writing my last entry about airline pricing, Dan published this gem. The only thing worse than flying is flying next to the wrong person. I hope you enjoy reading it.

  4. “…charging for the use of restrooms in flight . That’s too much , isn’t it?” Damn straight that’s too much! Holy cow! (excuse my language.)
    Regarding the shooter: I trust your assessment – you had the gestalt thing going on… a combination of experience from the past, evidence from the present and door number 3.
    What a world.

  5. brilliant post! I’m glad I found it!

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