The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Right To Arm Bears

We had finally arrived at the South Florida Fair Grounds. I found it amusing that the South Florida fair grounds are about as far north as you can get in South Florida and still be within the geographical region known as South Florida (which technically speaking, lies between the Jupiter Inlet to the north and Homestead along the southern border, the Atlantic Ocean along the eastern edge, and US-27, beyond which is swamp land).

“You'd think they would have put the Fair Grounds somewhere more central, like central Broward County,” I said to my compatriots as we headed from the parking lots to the gates.

“It could be worse,” said Bunny, using a phrase I commonly use right back at me. “You do know that the University of South Florida isn't even in South Florida?”

“Nice sense of irony,” I said.

As we passed beneath a sign that said “Thank you. Hope you had a blast” I had an epiphanous thought—I probably picked the wrong color shirt to wear today—red. But, I thought, at least the blood won't show.

And with that, we entered the South Florida Fair Grounds towards the Gun and Knife Show.

[The right to arm bears]

Guns everywhere. Glocks. Smith-Wesson. Mossbergs. Colts. Everthing from .22 to 50-calibre, and then some. The Younger was eyeing an anti-aircraft rocket launcher when Spring asked who could possibly use such a device. Someone nearby said it could be useful if you live next to an airport. The Younger turned and looked expectantly at his Mom.

“No,” said Spring. “Let's continue on.”

At the point the group broke. Spring went off chasing the Younger as he flitted from table to table. Scott stayed to talk to a merchant behind the table, asking about the finer points of Colt 45s with an extended barrel. Wlofie headed off to a booth selling survival gear, and Bunny went off on a mission—to find a collection of throwing stars, muttering something about Racoon Ninjas terrorizing her neighborhood and teaching them a lesson.

I myself wandered off, amazed at the variety of guns available. And frankly, I found most of them to look fake—more like plastic toys. And to my surprise, most of them were plastic! At least the pistol grips. The cognitive dissonance was too great—the guns in TV and movies looked more “real” than these very real guns in front of me. But pick one up, and the cognitive dissonance grew—these guns where heavy.

“Looking for anything in particular?” asked a gentleman behind the table.

I looked up to see him wobbling around on a Segway. “Um,” I said, more cognitive dissonance building up, “I'm just looking.”

“Okay,” he said. “But if you need any help, just ask.” And he wheeled down the booth to pass a fellow co-worker also on a Segway. I've been to plenty of computer related shows and never saw a Segway, much less two—no, make that three Segways.


I wandered off to parts elsewhere.

Books on modifying the firing mechanism on an AK-47 I expected. Books on martial arts I also expected. I could even see the rationale for conspiracy books ranging from the Illuminati, the Freemasons, JKF to 9/11.

I was not expecting New Age books on Atlantis, aliens and homeopathy.

But even that wasn't as out of place as books by Noam Chomsky.

Noam Chomsky.

Available at a Gun and Knife Show.

Hey, if a Russian can sell crystals at a Gun and Knife Show, why not Noam Chomsky at a book booth?

Cognitive dissonance.

A few hours later we all meet back outside. Bunny had been unable to locate sufficiently sharp throwing stars to tackle the Racoon Ninjas terrorizing her neighborhood. The Younger had procurred a gas mask for those times when it's his turn to change the litter box. Scott informed us that while he could tell us what he got, he would have to kill us afterwards. Wlofie had a big grin on his face, but declined to tell us what that was all about.

And myself? I had successfully survived the Gun and Knife Show in a red shirt.

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