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American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2011 Digital Edition - Page 24

Thankful R ecently, I ran into a guy I hadn’t seen in five years. He ogled at my new scars (I call ’em epidermal ornamentation) and my jaunty stance of leanin’ on my lunar-lander walker-cane. He then mumbled some crap amounting to, “Oh, poor you! Aw, that’s awful! How horrible for you!” You know the type. His 5-star dinner is ruined because Chez Henri’s is outta’ cherry-amarettowalnut ice cream for dessert. And he’s one of those who thinks anybody who’s hit a coupla’ potholes On Bein’ John Connor GUNCRANKDIARIES TM EXCUSES, ALIBIS, PITHY OBSERVATIONS & GENERAL EPHUS Photo: Jeff John Dang! I barely finished this terrific Thanksgiving dinner — and my fork broke! Rats! Why do I have such rotten luck? S peaking of which, seems like Thanksgiving is on the decline. Lots of folks take the holiday, but I see less and less of the actual giving-of-thanks. This goes along with the hordes of people living in conditions undreamed of by two-thirds the world, but still feeling short-changed somehow, and deserving a chunk of others’ possessions. Maybe too many Americans* have had it so well for so long, they can’t be thankful anymore? Long ago, an old warrior advised me that every time I wake up, before I open my eyes, bring my hands up to head level and then extend my arms out as far as I can reach. “If you don’t feel the inside of a coffin or body bag,” he said, “You win!” Not impressed? About 1.5 million people per week lose the life lottery. Feel better now? — Me too, every day. So far, even though human mortality is still holding at 100 percent (death has great success stats), my “Alive at Five, Every Day Plan” is working! A while back, I had to call for roadside assistance when a tire ran flat. The young man who responded moved very smoothly for having two prosthetic legs below the knees. An Army vet, he lost ’em in an IED blast. He admired my camo, multi-toe cane; I admired his techno-cool Terminator feet, and we both grinned like monkeys. “I’m so-o-o lucky!” he told me. “They were gonna’ have to take my left leg at the hip, but the docs saved it, and these work great! I’m going to get Cheetah flex-feet and be running again!” His eyes shone as he laughed, “Man, I really lucked out!” Less Thankin’ * on the road of life must, be crushed, miserable and moanin’ because he dang sure would be. Hey, I didn’t say he’s a friend; just some guy. He’s also the sort who’s nonplussed when a guy like me smiles and says, “Nah; I’m doin’ great, and man, am I thankful! I’d count my blessings, but I can’t count that high.” Here’s a kinda’ Connor CAT-scan slice: Sometimes when the Memsaab Helena is putting donkey-liniment on my back and feelin’ all those lumps, squiggles an’ knots which were not “original issue,” I can feel her hands tremble; Americans: More accuratel y perhaps, “the curr t re a geopolitical entity; th sidents of e formerly-United Statesen of America.” chokin’ up; sometimes I feel the tears pattering. Then she’ll squeeze me gently and whisper, “Oh, thank God, John … Just thank God.” I know what she’s thankful for, and it ain’t the scars and broken bits. And a warm sirocco of gratitude blows over me; faithful friends, a loving wife, great kids; worthwhile work and the feeling that I can still make my own way and contribute to the good; earning the food I eat and the air I breathe. Yeah, I’ve got tons to be thankful for, and no regrets. Pass the turkey and a big slice a’ THANKS, please … hroughout my life of lumps, every time I might have felt a twinge of self-pity, I found myself in the company of people a lot worse off than I, who faced their conditions with courage and humor. Those who came the closest to winkin’-out like burnt stars had the best aphorisms to express their attitudes: “Still on the sunshine side of the grass! Woohoo!” and “Ain’t nobody pattin’ me on the face with a shovel today, dude!” My old comrade, G.K. Shirpa, has sorta’ made it his crusade to point out — gently if possible, forcefully if not — why complaining, dejected, demoralized soldiers have nothin’ to mutter about. He’s been fighting communists and other vermin since he was a boy in the mid 1940s. He’ll see some whole, healthy pup cryin’ in his beer, grab him by the stackin’ swivel, haul him upright and then poke him in the chest a coupla’ times — hard, with a steely finger. “You know what ees NOT thees?” he demands. “Eez not Russiasoldier bayonet!” He then opens his shirt and searches the maze of scars until he finds the one left by a Soviet blade. “Hyew see dees, whining one? Hyew gotz notting for to cry! You want cry? I geev yew thees!” When Shirpa’s done, if his subject ain’t properly thankful, at least he won’t dare to show it … I taught him the phrase “sissy boy,” which comes out particularly scathing and funny as heck: “Seessee-bwoi!” Thanksgiving is coming. I know I can count on you folks to remind the whiners and seessee-bwois it ain’t about holiday; it’s about giving thanks for your breath, your heartbeat, for another shot at feeling the sun on your face. And if some mutt grumbles and throws his sucker in the dirt, feel free to poke him — hard! — And demand: “You know what eez NOT thees?” Connor OUT. T Seessee-Bwois * 24 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER2011

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