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Ernie's House of Whoopass! February 16, 2012
February 16, 2012

Let Me Tell You The Ongoing Saga of My Father's Gun

As a kid I remember my father always wanting a nickel plated snub nosed .38 revolver. But being the blue collar working man with three kids to feed, my father's first handgun was not the match for the "Nobody Ever Raped a .38" license plate he had down on his workbench in the cellar, but a Sentinel .22 Magnum revolver. It wasn't until several years later that my two brothers teamed up for Christmas and bought my father a Smith and Wesson Model 36 that he really achieved firearm bliss. And this was many fucking moons ago, I want to say I was around 10-12 years old, and I think I may have contributed a token bit of money towards the purchase, probably barely enough to cover the sales tax. Of course this being New York, they couldn't actually give the gun to my father, no, that could only result in a crime spree and bloodbath the likes of which the Empire State had never seen before. No, they could only put the receipt for said gun into a card and give him that, since my father had to show up in person with his pistol permit and register his new heater with the State. But grandstanding aside, suffice to say my father was very moved by my brother's gift and openly cried on Christmas morning. In the following days, months, and years cleaned and recleaned his new firearm with tender hands; and the funny part is I don't ever remember him ever firing it. Not at the range, not out in the woods, not ever. Anyway true fact: that .38 was the first handgun I ever held, even though he had that Sentinal for many years prior.

Spin the clock forward a few years and those long term EHOWA readers will remember that soon after I pulled up stakes and moved from Massachusetts to Florida in September of 2005, my father did the same thing only moving from New York to Arizona. You know... old guy, retiring, hot dry weather, no snow, that sort of thing. I tried to get him to move to a state with no income tax, but he was getting a good deal on a house out there through an old childhood friend, so of to the land of the Mojave Indians he went. But as fortune would have it my father was caught up in the housing market collapse and economic downturn and that soon followed, and earlier last year returned to New York to be closer to family. But one of the things that didn't return with him, was his nickel plated Smith and Wesson Model 36 snub-nosed revolver.

I know this because I asked him about it when we were all out in Las Vegas this past August. And I don't want to sound like some sort of morbid vulture or anything, but unto all things there is a season and although I'd love my father to live until he's 100, when the times comes and my father moves on, the one single solitary thing I want as a keepsake is his .38 revolver. This fact is further buoyed by the fact that my two brothers continue to live in the Democratic People's Republic of New York, and can't legally own said gun without getting a permit first to begin with. So when I asked my father how he was going to transport his three handguns -- that Sentinel .22, the S&W .38 and a Walther PPKS -- back across the country to New York, I found his answer extremely disturbing. In preparation for the move, my father had sold off several items so there was less to move back and so he had more funds to work with. Among those items -- one of his vehicles, a motorcycle -- were both the .38 revolver and the PPKS. Stunned, I asked him why in God's fucking name he decided to keep the .22 of all things and get rid of the .38. Again, his answer sent me into a spiral; "It's got nine shots." I thought briefly about going into the difference in stopping power of a .38 vs a .22 Magnum, but could see my father was a little embarrassed by this admission already so decided to leave that conversation for some other time.

The Smith & Wesson Model 36 is a revolver chambered for .38 Special. The Model 36 was designed in the era just after World War II, when Smith & Wesson stopped producing war materials and resumed normal production. For the Model 36, they sought to design a weapon that could fire the more powerful .38 Special round in a small, concealable package. Since the older I-frame was not able to handle this load, a new frame was designed, which became the Smith & Wesson J-frame. Like nearly all other J-frame Smith & Wesson revolvers, the Model 36 has a 5-round capacity in a swing-out cylinder, and features an exposed hammer. It features a nickel-plated or blued finish and either wood or rubber grips. It was introduced in 1950, and is still in production. [wikipedia]

It wasn't until two months later when over a couple -- okay four or five -- Jack and Cokes that i decided to try and see if I could get my father's gun back. The .38 obviously, not that PPKS; I held it once it was as heavy as a fucking boat anchor. I called him up and asked him the particulars of the sale; who, what, where, when, how much. The answer for that last part made me bite my lip to keep quiet -- $213 at a gun shop -- but you have to remember you're talking about a guy who has never touched a computer mouse, let alone surfed Gun Broker, plus the guy who sells it has to leave room to be able to sell it and still make some money too. Suffice to say that I hung up the phone, set the scribbled Post-It with the particulars aside, and had several more drinks. A couple of days later (I had to shake off the hangover, haha), I called up the gun shop, asked for Ray, and explained who I was. And if there's one good thing about my father being the oldest of old-schools, it's that he keeps every scrap of paper that he's ever come across. And from this I was able to provide Ray with the date and serial number of the sale. On the other end of the phone, Ray shuffled through some papers and said, "Yep, I have it right here, a Model 36 revolver." Hot damn, I was in business.

At least for about a minute and a half, since two breaths later, Ray reported that he had sold the gun a few weeks after my father brought it in. This was disappointing but not unexpected news. I mean sure, as the phone was ringing I had kind of fantasized about the answer being, "yeah I have it sitting right here," but let's be realistic. For starters it was about six months after the fact, and second I'm sure the prospect of buying a like-new gun for a used-gun price most certainly caught someone's eye. Now knowing full well that there's no way that Ray could provide me with the name and contact info of the new owner of my father's gun, I asked Ray to reach out to the guy, explain our situation and how we had hoped to turn this gun into a family heirloom, and feel him out if he would be willing to part with it for the right price. Ray assured me that he would and we hung up.

The following week Ray called me back with less than perfect news: Ray tried to explain my situation to him but the guy didn't even want to entertain the offer. Not interested, no way, no how, no thank you. Figuring this was only a shot in the dark anyway -- haha, get it -- I thanked Ray for trying and being mid November, wished him a Happy Thanksgiving. Before hanging up, Ray suggested that we might want to try the guy again later on, since we were getting into the holiday season and perhaps some family time might lighten the guy's mood. I concurred and we parted ways. A few weeks later on the phone with my father, he asked how I made out with the gun and I relayed the new owner's resistance to even entertain the idea of selling the gun back. Like me, it was the result he was expecting, but also like me, I could hear the disappointment in my father's voice.

Turn the clock forward to this past Friday afternoon. And with a wild hair up my ass, I figured I'd call Ray up maybe see how much he sold the gun for, and I dunno... perhaps I could make this new guy an offer he couldn't refuse. On the other end, Ray said he was glad that I called and that he had been subtly working on the guy and he was showing signs that he might step up and do the right thing. Encouraged, I let him know that I'm sure the guy got a great deal on a great gun and was no doubt reluctant to let that go on a stranger's whim. Nor did I expect him to, and I was certainly willing to buy the gun back for more than he had paid for it to make up for his trouble. Ray said that he would relay that message and we'd touch base again later in the week. Enter Tuesday afternoon, when a call from the 928 area code came across my cell. I answered it and as expected, Ray was on the other line. Not the news I was hoping for (yet) but it looks like we're making strides in that direction. Ray called and ended up speaking with the guy's wife, since the guy was out of town. They had a short conversation but it left Ray encouraged that the guy was definitely warming up to the idea of parting with my father's gun. She would make sure that he and Ray talk more this coming week, when her husband returned from his trip.

I had considered offering the guy something of a trade, buy him a similar but nicer gun that my father's .38 -- such as this .357 but (a) I really don't want to spend $700 and (b) since I don't work for the Mexican drug cartels, I can't get into some sort of straw-purachase situation. So I'm sure it's going to cost me, but in the end I know that I wouldn't forgive myself otherwise. I simply have to get this fucking gun back. So, stay tuned. As I hear something, you'll hear something.

This is the Facebook page of the girl we are discussing - She's used that 'holding a drink' pic as her facebook profile. Now, this facebook account could be completely and totally fake, but it is fairly active. That's just rich. Ken

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You'd think that life as an herbivore would be pretty simple -- plants can't run away or fight back, so all you have to do is wander around and find them. But that's not true -- the wrong plant, or the wrong part of the right plant, will poison the shit out of you. Plants are like any other living thing: They want to keep living, and they are willing to kill your ass if you threaten them. So if you're, say, a macaw parrot, you like to use your gargantuan beak to crack open the seeds of fruit to get at the calorie-rich, oily goodness inside. But plants don't like that (they want their seeds to get planted and to grow, not to wind up mashed to bits in the belly of some flamboyant bird), and so, thanks to evolution, those seeds are laced with toxic alkaloids. Advantage: plants. The stuff builds up in the macaws' system and makes them sick, and it's not like the stupid birds can go to the doctor and get an antidote. Take a tour along the Amazon River and you'll see hundreds of brightly colored macaws feeding on clay along the river banks. Those sites are usually referred to as parrot licks, because for a long time, people thought the birds ingested minerals that way, much like how deer and sheep use salt licks. Surprisingly, a closer look at the kind of earth ingested showed that it had little to no nutritional benefit to the birds, and yet they were oddly specific in consuming just that special kind of clay. Because they're birds, and they're stupid. Right? Wrong. The answer of course, is the parrots found their very own hangover cure -- the clay contains elements that neutralize plant toxins they've ingested.

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