Category Archives: Home Life

Was I really like that?

So I just read an article about how they’re going to let women have more opportunities to be in combat. They’re not gonna let ’em serve in Infantry or Special Operations positions (yet), but they will be afforded more and better opportunities to give their lives for their country – just like the men do now.

I’m not about to weigh in on the “Women in combat” argument that’s been around since I wore diapers. What I DID notice (and what prompted me to start writing this) was the comments at the end of the article. Most comments were by obviously left-wing conservatives or military families who were griping about women being in combat. I noticed that a lot of the folks on there who were whining were also spouting the standard lines about not giving up their guns, and 2d Amendment, and so on.

Got me thinking. About me.

Many moons ago, I worked at a gun store and shooting range. It was a pretty fun job for a mid-20’s guy who enjoyed shooting and blowing shit up in the Army, and I liked that I got to shoot the new stuff that came out, and I learned a lot about guns, ammo, how to fix them, etc. It was the culmination of a lifelong fascination with firearms. Working there afforded me the chance to hone my shooting skills by competing against the many folks who came in to utilize the range.

As Ricky used to say to Lucy on TV, “Lemme ‘splain you something…” See, the average customer at a gun store – in the store employees’ minds – is a dumbass. They’re dangerous, ignorant, and pretty horrible shots… not to mention they’re very unsafe at times on the range. I’ve seen people shoot themselves in the leg with stolen guns, saw a guy completely de-glove his thumb with a crossbow (he had his thumb sticking up when he fired… the string pulled the thumbskin right off), and generally have been witness to more than a few acts of stupidity. Honestly, it’s kinda hard NOT to develop an attitude of “better than  them” when you’re around those kindsa things. You become hardened to the fact that these folks are people like you who just enjoy shooting and want to spend a day seeing how good they are, or practicing.

Back to my post. I don’t wanna get off on a tangent on why folks who work in gun stores are assholes, but let’s just say that they are and leave it at that. My whole point to the post was that I was reading comments on the Women in Combat thing, and most of the people leaving the comments were saying things along the lines of “They get my guns when they pry ’em from my cold dead hands” or, “The country’s letting FAGS AND WOMEN into combat! What’re we gonna do? Some fag is gonna try to cornhole me in a foxhole, and if I get stuck with some girl, she’s gonna get period-blood all over me and cramp up and I’M gonna hafta carry her out and get shot!” Then it hit me, I used to say a lot of the same things. I used to be completely outspoken about the “No women in combat” or “No taking away my guns” and I definitely was the kind of guy who would go shoot a few hundred rounds downrange and then go out to the local watering hole and tell big windy stories about my time in the Army, or how I know everything about guns and I’m a great shot, etc.

At this point in my life though, while I would find it fun, I really don’t have a desire to pick up another gun and shoot. Don’t get me wrong… I’m not renouncing firearms or anything. I definitely enjoy shooting, and when I go to my folks’ house, we all read gun magazines and talk about guy stuff and all that. It’s just that my personal tastes have shifted. Gone are the days of reading every gun magazine out there and having to know what the muzzle velocity of a Robinson Arms M-96 Expeditionary is, and what kind of rounds I need to run through my Glock 22. I just don’t care that much anymore. I also lost that attitude of “I can shoot better” or “I know more than you about firearms” that I had for years. I have a friend named Zach who is very much into shooting, and reminds me a LOT of myself when I was younger. It’s his passion and I like talking to him about it sometimes, but I find myself seeing the old me mirrored in him when we talk.

I dunno. I just don’t feel like that guy anymore. I wonder why that is. Why do people change their likes/dislikes completely? I don’t lament not feeling that way anymore. Far from it actually. I just wonder why that is. I went to the gun store the other day w/Zach, and the guys working there sounded exactly like I used to. Listening to them, I couldn’t help but be a little embarrassed – either for them or for knowing that’s how I used to sound – and I just kept quiet.

I guess I wish that the people who do own firearms and use them responsibly would be the ones they show on TV, so that the world wouldn’t think that every gun owner in America is a backwards redneck with delusions of importance. Maybe if the TV showed a guy who was well-groomed, concise and cogent, and wasn’t the bearded guy from the Ten Commandments (sorry Charleton), people wouldn’t be so quick to write people off as freaks. I mean, let’s face it: GUNS. You see a guy on TV with a gun and you log him unconsciously in your mind as either a whacko, a badass (c’mon, how many folks love seeing the reports on SEAL Team Six whooping ass out there) or Law Enforcement. Badasses and Law Enforcement folks don’t typically occupy the top tier positions in the nightly news.

Whackos do.

I’m sorta running out of steam here on my point, so I’ll just end it by saying that I’m embarrassed over how I used to act, I can’t believe I said/did some of those things, and when I read others saying it, I remember back with semi-fond embarrassment. My tastes have changed and I was just wondering to myself why.

 

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Stepdad? Or Stepped-on Dad?

Ahh the title of Stepfather. A time-honored title and source of pride and sadness for children around the world.

I’m a Stepdad. I think about being one all the time. My wife has 2 daughters from a previous relationship (to a complete bag of douche, I might add) and they’re great, adorable, annoying, exasperating, cute, funny, garrulous, little headaches sometimes, but always good kids. They have a knack for making me laugh at times, and also a knack for annoying the bejeesus out of me.

Stepdads. They make bad movies about us. I mean for christ sake, I can think of at least 3 movies where the stepdad is the evil one who beats up women and terrorizes kids. Think about the title of Stepdad, and think back to how many times you heard kids talk about their step-parents in unfavorable terms in school. Hey, I get it. It’s hard to have one dad your whole life, have your folks split up, and a new guy taking your old dad’s place in your home and in your mom’s bed. I get it. It’s a tough adjustment for everyone. Now you have a new guy in the house who eats different, maybe snores or farts in his sleep (my wife’ll attest to that one), maybe has a commanding voice and doesn’t tolerate some of the things the kids used to do before he came. It’s a tough racket man.

It’s also an adjustment for the step dad too. He’s coming into a new house with a woman he loves and her two children. If it’s a case like mine, those two children are from her ex-boyfriend who did all sorts of horrible things to her when they were together. It’s not the kids’ fault their father is a waste of air and space, but it is pretty hard sometimes to be fair and fatherly to them when they display some of the same character traits their dad has.

The oldest is almost exactly like him in some ways. She’s moody, bitchy and mean to her sister (although she’s gotten better in the past year, and really – what older sibling ISN’T crappy to the younger one?) and doesn’t have much of a sense of humor sometimes. She’s unlike him in that she’ll laugh at some things she finds funny, and has a tender heart for a girl her age.  She’s also very dedicated when she wants something. She’s got a good analytic mind when she applies it – which is a LOT more these past couple years. She’s having a tough time sometimes, because she remembers what the relationship was like between her mom and her dad when they all lived together, and it has affected her. She really does try to curb some of the negative aspects of who she is, and I know it’s not always fair to be upset with her because of how she’s acting, but I can’t help it sometimes. I’m human too.

The younger of the two is nothing like her dad. She reminds me so much of her mother it’s uncanny. It’s hard NOT to like her, because she’s so damn helpful and giving. She loves to help around the house, and really goes the extra mile to do things for her older sister – despite my warnings that her older sister won’t return those favors – but that’s another thing that makes her Her. Plus, she LOVES Phish. She knows the words to “46 Days” and “Backwards Down The Number Line.” If that ain’t cool… I dunno what is. She doesn’t remember anything from when her dad was in the picture, so she hasn’t been impacted by his antics as much as her sister has.

I don’t have an answer for all of this. I’m writing it all because I want to see it all in print, to read it, and maybe come back later and figure out a solution. I love those girls. I truly do. I went toe-to-toe with their deadbeat loser of a father and told him (nose to nose) to “stay away from my daughters”, and honestly, I felt a lot closer to them because of that. I felt protective. Really protective, like I would’ve felt if I had been talking about my son to some psycho. It definitely brought me closer to both girls.

Being a Stepdad isn’t a bad thing for me. It’s just a tough thing. I don’t know if I’ll ever get all-the-way used to it or not. Regardless… I do the best job I can, and try to keep the negative shit to a minimum. They’re great girls, and they teach me things every day. I just hope I can do a good enough job.

 

And hey, they look funny with diapers on their heads.