Thursday, June 21, 2012

Equipment: I'm not a mall ninja, I just play one on TV.

A few months ago I visited Landlady's house. The boys were in the Jeep with me and went mad at the sight of three dogs hanging around the porch. They were big, ugly pit bull sorta dogs. One was obviously female, and from the looks of her belly she had a nursing litter somewhere.

First thought: Shoot them. Impediments: I wasn't carrying a gun, and I really didn't want to shoot dogs that were trespassing but not otherwise causing any problem. I especially didn't want to shoot the female. So I chased them off, and they went. I went up to the barn on Landlady's Ridge, loaded one of M's rifles, and went looking to see if they stayed gone. They did. (Yes, I know. I ALWAYS carry a gun. Except this time. I was just going from the Lair to the Meadow House, and didn't feel like strapping on a heavy pistol or carrying a rifle. Embarrassing. My bad.)

Anyway, the dogs didn't come back and I didn't hunt them. Then three days later a pack of NINE big, ugly pit bull sorta dogs tore up a neighbor's cow, which had to be put down. Were “my” three among them? Probably. Could I have made a difference if I'd been carrying my gun and used it? Possibly. Next time I don't get squeamish, I just shoot.

It's an example of a problem I occasionally have, which is that I get to thinking “You're acting like a silly-ass mall ninja, Joel. Do you really need all this hardware?” Most days, of course, I don't. But some days I actually do. When I get dressed in the morning I don't know which kind of day it's going to be. I don't have any childish fantasies about fighting off looters or zombies or feds - I'm too old for that shit. But with my every-day 1911 I have killed numerous snakes and one very belligerent badger. I have covered but not killed a treed bobcat with my AK, when it turned out she just wanted me to take my dogs and go, go, for the love of God just go. I'm always happiest when encounters end that way. Far more often than I've shot, I've been comforted in scary but ultimately non-dangerous situations by the fact that they're there.

Here's another example.

This is my very favorite knife. It's not fancy or expensive, it's just a tough, ugly slab'o'steel that takes a really good edge. It's clearly not the sort of knife you'd choose to carry every day if you lived in a town, because people would think you were some sort of weird poseur. But in the boondocks it has great utility. I use it for everything: Prying, scraping, whittling, poking holes in things. Yesterday I chainsawed this telephone pole a neighbor asked me to get rid of, and it turned out the pole still had a ground cable stapled to it, which is how I now know the knife works great for prying staples out of telephone poles.

It's useful to have around. But I do admit it feels a little stupid to carry this Jeremiah Johnson pigsticker everywhere I go.

It gets worse. I've always hated the sheath. It originally came with this floppy nylon strap which made no sense at all. I got it modified with a hanger loop that made the knife ride much too close to my body: The handle spent all day digging into my ribs.

A month or so ago I got to wondering if I could rearrange things for better utility. Turns out that hanger loop fastens just as well on a diagonal...

...which means now I walk around looking like a kid playing Zorro, and it feels kinda stupid. But it's a lot more comfortable and easier to use.

Then there's all the camo. Hey, I drive around in a bright yellow Jeep: I'm not trying to hide from anything, okay? But BDU trous are by far the best pants I've ever found for the desert: They're roomy, tough, have lots of pockets, and when bought surplus they're cheap. They're cooler than jeans and last better. But they don't come cheap in solid colors, so if people want to laugh at the camo I guess they're welcome to.

Point is, sometimes what makes you look like a dumbass is actually the best gear for the job.


Flier389 said...

What ever works. And if it fills a need, and is comfortable. I say go for it.

Damn Fool said...

I have carried a gun every waking moment for decades. I recently had abdominal surgery which, while healing, makes wearing a gun impossible. It feels very weird not having my stuff with me. Hoping to return to normal soon.

Anonymous said...

Very well said Flier389, if it fits YOUR needs, thats all that is important.

BDUs are pretty tough, but do stand out in a crowd. My pick - plain ol' 100% khakis. Not nearly as many pockets, but I don't end up with much in my pockets anyway. A good folding stockman or sodbuster fulfills my EDC needs. Wouldn't be able to pry anything though - thats some good tooleage you have there pard.

Thanks again for the review and comments.

MamaLiberty said...

Stuff looks good to me. :) If you've already got it and it works, what more could anyone ask?

I know I look really strange going to town in my ordinary clothes (no BDU's my size! LOL) with the big gun belt, holstered revolver, speed loader pouch and sometimes my bush knife strapped all around my old fart fanny... but I don't give a damn. I don't wear any of that for decoration - to gain anyone else's approval.

Charles Pergiel said...

the boys "went mad" at the sight of the dogs? Mad, as in look! Cool! Wild dogs! -or- Mad, as in OMG wild dogs! We're all gonna die!???

Joel said...

The boys are territorial as hell. They saw the trespassers as a problem they wanted to deal with personally. So, mad as in "Lemme out of the Jeep right now."