It’s an innocuous piece of paper. It is usually a single sheet of paper, sometimes tri- or quad-folded, or even found in booklet form. Often it is printed in several languages. It is invariably supplied with every material object that people procure. It is studied predominantly by the fairer sex, but is universally ignored by most red-blooded, beer-guzzling males.
The contents are subtended by a large-print heading, usually termed “Instructions,” “Instrucciones,” “Directions for Use,” or some similar nomenclature. Women retain them until their dying day. Males regard them—like posted interstate speed limits—as a personal insult, and immediately discard them after genteelly opening a three-inch cellophane container with a Bowie knife.
At the risk of raising animus and ire among S.W.A.T. Magazine’s male readers, let’s be honest: Homo Tacticalus regards an instruction sheet with a “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges” attitude. Unfortunately, this inevitably leads to comedian Bill Engvall’s “Here’s Your Sign” punchline result.
And never is this more in evidence than when you combine a human male and a gun.
Galloping back to your man cave from the local gun emporium, you head for the first location you can find to examine your latest purchase in peace.
Applying the aforementioned Bowie knife technique to the container, you gain access to the holy grail—the new gun. You are astounded to see that stupid piece of paper re-emanate into your life—again.
This time, just for laughs, you decide to get in touch with your feminine side and actually give the owner’s manual a cursory glance, only to discover that those idiots at the factory are insulting your omniscient intelligence one more time with drivel about safety precautions, maintenance and lubrication information, and directives on how to field-strip the weapon.
You irritably deposit the instructions where they belong—in the trash can—and proceed to examine the gun the “right” way.
Cunning devil that you are, you decide to field-strip the pistol to check that the stupid manufacturer hasn’t left a giraffe in the barrel bore or failed to lubricate the weapon prior to delivery to the gun store. Excited at the prospect of owning and firing your first Glock pistol, after 20 minutes of fighting the gun, you’re angry that the damned slide can’t be detached from the damned frame.
Enraged, you succumb to the degradation of having to retrieve the instruction manual, only to find that by some strange process of osmosis, the booklet has teleported itself through a pile of empty beer cans, used kitty litter, and breakfast leftovers and is now residing at the bottom of the trash can.
You retrieve the now beer-sodden, egg and cat-poop covered instructions and discover the big secret, which was clearly printed out for the rare owner who actually bothered to read the owner’s manual.
“Here’s Your Sign.”
You remove the slide and enter the second stage of annoyance. The dim-witted manufacturer didn’t even bother to clean the inside of the slide, and left some mysterious yellow-colored powdery goop on the surface. Then you experience an epiphany and refer to the instructions a second time. Amazingly, the “dimwits” had left the substance there intentionally.
Then the bolt of lightning strikes. Maybe we should read all the instructions before we even touch the weapon? Maybe those “idiots” who built it actually include instructions for a reason?
Hand-in-hand with this is the fitting of replacement parts. First, they are also predominantly sold with attached instructions. So when you launch the firing pin and spring into your buddy’s eyeball, it’s because you didn’t replace the firing-pin spring when you replaced the recoil spring like the instructions told you to. So the firing-pin block fell out. You now have a Cyclops for a buddy, or no firing pin in the middle of a gunfight—because you didn’t read the instructions.
“Here’s Your Sign.”
Instructions are exactly that—instructions. They are not suggestions or personal opinion.
Second, this author (like most people in a free society) isn’t in favor of overbearing governmental intrusion in people’s private lives. Ergo, yours truly happens to believe that a criminal background check is warranted prior to procurement of a firearm from a dealer, but is not in favor of a stipulated cool-down waiting period.
However, this personal opinion having been stated, I do believe that there should be a 30-day waiting period and mandatory reading of the instruction manual after payment before any male buyer is legally allowed to take possession of the dreaded D Tool (commonly referred to as a Dremel Tool). There are no “amateur” or “professional” gunsmiths. You’re either a gunsmith/armorer or you’re not. Merely inserting a Dremel Tool into a male forepaw doesn’t automatically make you a ‘smith—all it usually does is morph you into a firearms-destroying demon.
There’s more, but the above will suffice. And if you’re a male gun owner and don’t agree with the above, that’s your prerogative. But then please explain to me why Bill Engvall’s comedy performances are always packed and Tim Allen’s Home Improvement TV series was a big hit, predominantly with male audiences.
Because it’s all true, that’s why.
Here’s Your Sign: If you buy and/or shoot firearms, read the instructions.
Louis Awerbuck is Director of the internationally acclaimed Yavapai Firearms Academy. Course information and schedules are available at http://www.yfainc.com