Rich Simons | 11th Street
|Texas Rich in Texas. Photo illustration Art Olson
Q: What do you think of the city’s attempt to get gun shows banned from the fairgrounds? – s.b.
Firearms not being “in my wheelhouse,” as the popular saying goes, I forwarded your question to my cousin in Texas, who has a fair collection of these toys. He also understands our situation here, as he spends a good part of every summer wagering his oil money on our ponies. I suspected he would have an opinion on this matter. Indeed, he responded as follows:
“Sonny Boy, let me tell you a thing or two. I did not just fall off the turnip truck. I have been to two county fairs and a calf ropin’. I have seen the elephant and I have heard the owl. And what your city is trying to do here is without a doubt one of the dumbest, most short-sighted things of which I have ever heard. You people are staring at a goose that is wanting to lay for you the proverbial golden egg and your City Fathers are wanting to strangle it!
What you have got there in your back yard is something that every prospective gun buyer craves – and will pay for. Which is a chance to try out the new object of his affection before he has to shell out for it. Any good ol’ boy who is about to plunk down a month’s wages for that AK98X double-barreled over-and-under with twin 100-cartridge clips would like to know beforehand if it really will decimate a small buffalo herd in 90 seconds, as advertised.
Okay, that may be a bit over the top, or as we say out this way: “that dog won’t hunt.” But with all the space you have there at the fairgrounds you could easily offer your customers a pasture full of deer to plunk away at. Or a corral full of turkeys, if that is what they are itching to blast. Turtles would be good. They’re not gonna move too fast. Maybe the customers would like to plug away at each other at fifty paces. Middle of the racetrack?
Of course in the schoolchildren arcade you would have to fudge it a little. You know – go with plywood cutouts or such. But cute. Blond cowlicks on the boys, pigtails for the girls. Freckles everywhere. Big blue eyes the color of the summer sky over Texas. I reckon you get the idea.
If you find you are running short of deer, it has been my experience that there are always some gimpy horses around the racetrack. You could fit them out with wooden antlers. Hell, at 200 yards who could tell? If turkeys get scarce maybe you could run down to La Jolla and round up a flock of pelicans. From what I hear, the folks down there would be mighty appreciative.
Do yourself a favor, pilgrim. Run, don’t walk, to the next Del Mar Gun Show and find an instrument that calls to you. Feel the silky coolness of the barrel in your palm. Test the ease of the trigger. Load it. Squeeze again. Shoot something. Anything. Now you are empowered. Just don’t mess with Texas.”