Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Personal Farewell to Arms

Just before I turned 19, my country put a rifle in my hands and taught me how to use it. As an inexperienced city boy, I eventually learned how to unbolt it, release the barrel from the stock and remove the metal innards. Putting it back together was torture but, after a while, my hands took over even as my mind went blank.

Toward the end of basic training, as recruits sat on khaki blankets in a large hall, a sergeant ordered us to take apart our rifles and reassemble them in one minute--with our eyes closed.

As he counted down, I managed to pull out and put together a few pieces, but time was almost gone and I could hear disapproving footsteps and I knew the non-commissioned officers were shaking their heads. Sitting up, the wooden rifle stock between my legs, I fumbled to fit the barrel to it and slam home the bolt.

Just at the count of sixty, it all came together and I felt an overwhelming whoosh inside my thighs. At the age of 19, I was having my first conscious orgasm in carnal knowledge of a Garand M-1 rifle.

Three years later, after carrying my new friend through France, Germany and Austria without shooting anyone face to face, I turned it in but brought home a souvenir pistol taken from a German officer.

It remained on a closet shelf, wrapped and unloaded, for years until my children were old enough to start showing curiosity about it.

Forty years ago, I used my Army training to disassemble the weapon and then take a long walk through Manhattan streets, dropping parts of it into a dozen garbage bins more than a mile apart.

Somehow I've managed to keep my family safe without firearms ever since.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"We crave cheap labor but we fear poor people." - W. Langewiesche, Cutting for Sign