Suffering for My Art:

Riding The Lightning

Holy scripture can be a reliable source of guidance, hope, and comfort.
On this particularly fateful day it was the backdrop for Something Truly Horrible.

Folks occasionally ask what it’s like to be a rich and famous gun writer. Well, for starters, there are no rich gun writers. If somebody has found a way to make any serious money in this gig, I wish they would share it with me. As for fame, suffice to say it’s not the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders who breathlessly start their every Friday morning with Guncrank.

We gun writers are a lot like James Bond — just without the cool cars, chiseled physique, and striking good looks. I guess this means we’re actually nothing like James Bond, so never mind. There are, however, what you might call some seriously cool intangibles to the profession.

I’ve yet to meet a reader that didn’t end up a friend. No kidding, you guys are awesome. We all like the same stuff. Gun guys are the sort to whom you’d gladly loan your pickup truck. With a relationship like this it seems the least I can do is to play around with cool new gun stuff, tell you about it, and then inform the IRS it was actually work. At least that’s the way it is supposed to be. Then there was this cell phone case.

What’s Next?

This particular gadget was a prototype stun gun cell phone case. This sleek little rascal wasn’t much bigger than the ubiquitous Otter Box, and it protected the sensitive electronic device comparably well. However, this inspired rig also included a built-in zillion-volt stun gun.

The theory was sublime. What’s the one thing you never leave home without these days? You might forget your shirt, your shoes, your underwear, your spouse, or your offspring, but the typical American is never without their cell phone. Incorporating an effective non-lethal defense system into this ubiquitous omnipresent gadget seemed simply inspired. I had the article written before the case arrived. All that remained was to carry it about for a couple of weeks and then go back to massage the prose accordingly.

An Unfortunate Turn

I live way out in the sticks, so mine’s a half-hour commute. That’s a good thing. I get in the groove in the morning and decompress a bit at night. This way my bride doesn’t smother me in my sleep, and the dog doesn’t get kicked. Everybody wins.

On my drives I frequently listen to Max McLean read the Bible via an app on my phone. Max’s dulcet rendition of the gospels or Psalms will cure what ails you after a long day armpit deep in pestilence and tragedy. I was driving the old Jeep Cherokee my dad gave me when he grew weary of it. The price was certainly right, but that thing was loud. As a result, I had the edge of my phone pressed up against my right ear. As I recall Max was reading Paul’s letter to the Romans. That’s when my head exploded.

It felt like Superman had kung fu’d my brain. My vision went white, and I suddenly couldn’t feel anything below my nose. I knew my nose still worked, because I smelled burnt hair. I guess Jesus was occupied driving the Jeep, because I sure wasn’t doing that any longer.
The vehicle rolled to a gentle stop on the side of the road under Divine Guidance. I could no longer remember my name, gender, or species. The feed from my right ear sounded like Metallica playing live to an ocean of rabid banshees. The whole world was angled about 20 degrees to starboard. I realized later that was because I could no longer straighten my neck.

For a bit I seriously had no idea what happened. I briefly entertained the possibility God had chosen to smite me. Then I remembered Thor’s cell phone case.

So that’s what it feels like to mainline a million volts straight into your brainstem. I turned on the overhead light but couldn’t find my phone anywhere. I discovered it the following day deep underneath the passenger seat. No, I have no idea how it got there.

I retained control of my bowels throughout, something of which I am in retrospect proud. I didn’t wet my pants, either. I did, however, swallow my gum. At least I presume that’s what happened to it.

It took maybe five minutes to regain my wits sufficiently to drive. By the time I got home the world was only five degrees off plum. I thanked Jesus for not letting me die (yet again), repackaged the phone case and sent it back with a passionate remonstration to rethink the safety catch. Such is a typical day in the life of a rich and famous gun writer.

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