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Author Topic: Scaring the straights  (Read 60861 times)

Dave Polaschek

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Scaring the straights
« on: April 15, 2006, 10:20:55 am »

One of the more interesting things I've noticed in the past months, after taking a new full-time job and being out and interacting with folks on a daily basis, is that I sometimes have a tendency to "scare the straights".

It's not so much anything that's outright scary on my part, but things that seem to make people stop and ponder again.

Example 1: A friend and co-worker is going to zinc-plate some metal parts. Not sure why, but he needed to weigh some chemicals accurately, and asked if I had a decent scale. I said "Sure!" and asked if tenths of ounces was good enough or if he needed 1/70000 pound or 6 milligrams accuracy, since my powder scale measures to a tenth of a grain. Apparently reloading ammunition is kinda scary.

Example 2: A month ago, there was a blizzard that kept many people from making it in to work. I was there, only to discover that the power was out. But apparently the fact that I made it to work in six inches of snow, wasn't concerned about getting stuck (4WD, plus cold-weather gear in the back of the Blazer), and actually spent most of the morning helping people who were stuck in the snow, rather than hanging around work waiting for the power to come back on marked me as a weirdo.

Example 3: A different friend and co-worker found out I was a "gun nut" from the guy in example 1. We were talking about the logistics of going to a range some day after work, and he was concerned with where he would park with guns in the car, since they aren't allowed on company property. I pointed out that since the company leases just the floor of the building we're in, and doesn't own the parking lot, it's fine to park with guns in the car, as long as they're locked seperately from the ammunition, because that's what city law says. Apparently I'm an odd duck for having researched this.

Example 4: In the process of converting from a contractor to an employee, I went over a month without a paycheck. I said that it wasn't really a problem, since I had a few months worth of food at home, and only had to worry about the regular bills and gas and lunch money during the work-week. Now I've been branded a survivalist with a basement bunker stocked up with enough to ride out armageddon (I WISH).

To be fair, a lot of this is good natured ribbing, and I play into it, doing things like pausing when asked "So how many guns DO you have?" before answering that I can't tell them for security reasons. Or when someone asks why there's a butane stove and winter clothing in the back of my SUV, I point out that it's good to be prepared (they're really there for tailgating in chilly weather). But I still find it interesting how many things I take for granted that boggle my co-workers.

I can't be the only one, right? So how have you scared the straights recently?
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velojym

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Re: Scaring the straights
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2006, 11:06:31 am »

Well, there was this lady in a convenience store in Clovis NM who nearly had a conniption when she saw the Super Blackhawk (8.5" barrel) riding openly on my hip.
She must have been from out of state, and the cop who happened to be there buying donuts (really!) had to explain to her what 'open carry' meant.
I'd been shooting with the guy before, and he never got up the nerve to try the .44.
 :ph34r:
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Dave Polaschek

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Re: Scaring the straights
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2006, 11:17:33 am »

Another example I remembered in the shower...

The guy who borrowed my powder-scale sold a truck recently. Yesterday he was talking about how he wouldn't take a personal check or a money order or a cashier's check, but wanted cash. I made some smart-alec comment about the shoe was on the other foot now, and I wasn't the only paranoid one. He hemmed and hawed, and talked about how he'd gotten burned on a previous used vehicle sale, so he only trusted cash now for that sort of thing.

To make him feel better, I pointed out that the $3000 he'd gotten for his truck was darned near exactly 5 oz of gold. I'm once again the king of the tin-foil-hat brigade!

Moderators, if you want to move this to "The Agitator", I'm fine with that. It's not as mole-like as when I started typing.
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K.

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Re: Scaring the straights
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2006, 07:41:14 pm »

This isn't limited to people with guns and / or stockpiles.

I grow a few fruit & veg. and keep 3 chickens. According to most of the people I know (most of whom play D & D on a regular basis) this makes me a 'weirdo' or a 'hippie'.  :huh: You should have seen their faces when I told them about my first dumpster diving experience  ^_^

During a pre-marital counselling course recently, the BF let slip that we don't watch TV. The room went silent. Questions started raining down on us. What do you do with your time? (Er, talk to each other? Play board games? Read?) What if there's something good on? (Mostly we don't hear about it, because all the advertising for shows is on television) When we mentioned that we do watch DVDs and videos occasionally, there was a huge sigh of relief. The fact remains that the TV is in one corner, the aerial is in the other, and we haven't yet found a program worth the effort of plugging in the cable that joins the two. Apparently this makes us really weird:ph34r:

Dave, I'm with you on the paycheck thing. I work part-time in a law office while getting my degree, and one co-worker in particular just couldn't believe that I wasn't hugely worried about having my hours reduced, getting fired etc. Even when I was there full-time, she was convinced I was living hand to mouth. This is the same woman who sent me down to the bank on work hours most Fridays to put money on her credit card so her insurance debit wouldn't bounce ... She went down to the same branch herself one day, and the tellers refused to believe she was the true owner of the credit card because she'd sent me down so many times  ^_^ She had to produce ID. But the concept that someone might actually be capable of surviving a few weeks (months, years) without a regular income is truly threatening to a lot of people. It's amazing how little personal choice is actually accepted in this era of 'doing your own thing'.  :angry:
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nurseflo

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Re: Scaring the straights
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2006, 02:02:12 am »


How do you get much straighter than a nurse?  Yet I am viewed as not quite plumb because I have emergency supplies at home, in my car, and at the office.  We won't even go to how they view my political beliefs.
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coloradohermit

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Re: Scaring the straights
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2006, 09:17:10 am »

My experience is that it's not just the "preparedness" that people find strange, but basic, non-dependent self-reliance. One morning on my way to my volunteer job, I saw my neighbor's girlfriend by the side of the road with a flat tire. She was almost in tears because she couldn't get hold of him to come change it for her. I changed it and she was absolutely astounded that I, a middle aged woman, knew how and was able.  Some of us just have the mindset that there's nothing we can't do ourselves and some have the mindset that there's nothing you can't pay to have done for you............and never the twain shall meet.
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dubber308

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Re: Scaring the straights
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2006, 10:12:55 am »

On my way home from work I spotted a minivan with a smashed front end on the side of the road. About half a dozen people were standing in the ditch staring at something. I pulled overto see if everything was all right. They had hit a little two-point whitetail. They were a group of UC Berkeley students on a summer trip seeing the national parks. One of the college-educated idiots was sitting next to the deer cradling it's head in his lap. The deer was NOT dead. Punctured lungs and probably paralyzed (the only reason I could think of that the deer wasn't kicking the shit out of idiot-boy). They asked me if I had a cell phone that worked. Told them this area was a dead zone. I told them they could use my phone at home to call a tow truck if they needed to, my house was about a half mile away. Then they wanted to know if I could call a vet to save the deer. I told them all to stand back. They backed away. I told the deer whisperer to back away from the deer. He gently laid the deer's head on the ground. I drew my .45 and put the deer out of it's misery. I don't know what scared them more, the fact that I shot the deer or the fact that I was carrying a gun.
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Mr. Bill

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Re: Scaring the straights
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2006, 03:52:35 pm »

...I sometimes have a tendency to "scare the straights".

"Freaking the mundanes" is the term used by various fringe groups (especially science-fiction convention attendees, SCA members, also goths, pagans, Discordians, etc. -- almost anyone who dresses weird or does weird things). Some people do it on purpose, for fun, and of course others say that's childish.

In my family, I am considered weird for suggesting that my parents, who live next door to the San Andreas Fault, maybe ought to have a few days of food and water in the house. So there are a lot of things I just don't bother talking about.

Here's an interesting contrarian article on freaking the mundanes by a Discordian who once tried "mundaning the freaks" to see what it was like on the other side.

Quote
There are no mundanes to freak. ... When we look down on them for being trapped by society's demands, or for not being able to see anything different, we're not helping them and we're not helping ourselves. ... The flip side is that we reinforce our own isolation. Dividing the world into us and them is self-defeating when we're such a tiny minority.

He's writing about the Discordian religion/philosophy, but his conclusions are general and may apply just as well to us. He's also being a bit preachy and doesn't suggest what real-world steps to take.

I don't really know a way to deal with the problem. Best I can suggest is (1) have respect for the "normals" as individuals, (2) don't dump your whole world-view on them, but say a few words about specific issues if opportunities arise, and (3) the rest of the time, talk about the weather.
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Vrsovice Rebel

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Re: Scaring the straights
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2006, 06:25:32 pm »

OOOOH yeah.

There was the lovely young lovely who bugged out on a date after she saw the "Trunk Kit" in my car with the SKS velcro-ed to the lid.

There was the co-worker who refused to work the same shifts as me for a month straight when he found out about my always-armed status...he got fired at the end of that month after getting into a fight with my boss about the fact that ( as it turned out ) almost the entire SHOP is like that...legally or otherwise.

There were the two random Yuppalopes who gave a slight shriek and quickly walked the other way from me when they saw me loading my rifles into a friends car for a day at the range.

The roomate who nearly moved out because he thought my FAL was an illegal machine gun...because "Only machine guns look like that!"

This not counting innumerable dirty, perplexed, and frightened looks from various sorts of people at rndom times.
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Vrsovice Rebel

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Re: Scaring the straights
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2006, 08:53:07 pm »

I should mention that I've gotten a roughly equivalent number of similarly dirty looks at various Patriot events dominated by Conservative Libertarians and Constitutionalists. They never expect a long-haired college kid who likes heavy metal and rap as well as Beethoven and Motzart, or his pierced/tattooed/shaven-headed little sister with similar musical tastes to be on their side.
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Bear

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Re: Scaring the straights
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2006, 12:45:08 pm »

Quote
There was the lovely young lovely who bugged out on a date after she saw the "Trunk Kit" in my car with the SKS velcro-ed to the lid.

Here's a thought: it seems that people who fear guns always assume that a gun will be used against them and never
to defend
them. I mean, the young lovely obviously didn't think that you're having a gun in the trunk would make you an
even better protector.

Bear

PS: Just a word to the wise - you might want to make the contents of your trunk kit less obvious.
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AnotherArmchair

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Re: Scaring the straights
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2006, 01:36:05 pm »

Quote
I don't really know a way to deal with the problem. Best I can suggest is (1) have respect for the "normals" as individuals, (2) don't dump your whole world-view on them, but say a few words about specific issues if opportunities arise, and (3) the rest of the time, talk about the weather.

+1 Mr. Bill. That's good advice for nearly any set of social circumstances. Don't force the issue, but always be ready with a polite and factual answer to an honest question.
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Vrsovice Rebel

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Re: Scaring the straights
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2006, 05:26:27 pm »

Bear;
  Sadly, the shape and small size of my trunk prevents this. My old Pontiac was great; the entire trunk-kit was self-contained and unobtrusive. To get the same amount of supplies and equipment into my Saturn, things have required re-arranging to accomodate the smaller space.

I agree with your assessment of her mindset, though...precisely the reason I wasn't too upset that she buggered out on the date. Most of my other ladyfriends, however, have been at least accepting ( and in two cases quite pleased ) with my mindset and preparation.
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securitysix

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Re: Scaring the straights
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2006, 06:05:19 pm »

One of the more interesting things I've noticed in the past months, after taking a new full-time job and being out and interacting with folks on a daily basis, is that I sometimes have a tendency to "scare the straights".

It's not so much anything that's outright scary on my part, but things that seem to make people stop and ponder again.

Example 1: A friend and co-worker is going to zinc-plate some metal parts. Not sure why, but he needed to weigh some chemicals accurately, and asked if I had a decent scale. I said "Sure!" and asked if tenths of ounces was good enough or if he needed 1/70000 pound or 6 milligrams accuracy, since my powder scale measures to a tenth of a grain. Apparently reloading ammunition is kinda scary.

:evil: Muahahahahhaha! :evil:

Quote
Example 2: A month ago, there was a blizzard that kept many people from making it in to work. I was there, only to discover that the power was out. But apparently the fact that I made it to work in six inches of snow, wasn't concerned about getting stuck (4WD, plus cold-weather gear in the back of the Blazer), and actually spent most of the morning helping people who were stuck in the snow, rather than hanging around work waiting for the power to come back on marked me as a weirdo.

If we get a couple of inches of snow here in OK, they practically shut the state down.  Wanna get wierd looks?  Drive to work with 4 inches of snow on the ground in a rear wheel drive pickup with some weight in the bed of your truck and no snow chains, then tell them it was fun.  :D

Quote
To be fair, a lot of this is good natured ribbing, and I play into it, doing things like pausing when asked "So how many guns DO you have?" before answering that I can't tell them for security reasons.

I just tell them I can't count that high, even naked.  If they get the redneck counting reference, they drop the subject because they know how high a male redneck can count naked.  If they don't get the reference, they drop the subject anyway because they're too busy looking for a way to stab out their mind's eye.  :evil:
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Drizzten

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Re: Scaring the straights
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2006, 01:20:26 pm »

When I begin my precious metals purchases, I expect my friends to eye me a bit oddly, even though they understand my motivations better than most people.

I have surprised many friends (unfortunately, most of them female) when they learn I own firearms.  The surprise is roughly doubled when I offer to take them to the range whenever they want.

Hell, when I started carrying a freakin' Leatherman on me 24/7, I had some conversations with coworkers to the effect of, "you don't really need that on you, do you?"  I then presented a list of things I did hardly the night before that, with basic tools on me, made my life better.

When a dangerous situation presents itself directly, this skepticism evaporates fast.  When it looked like Hurricane Rita was headed straight for Houston and at least a glancing blow on central Texas, no one was shooting queer looks at me because I had two cases of bottled water in my shopping basket...everyone else at HEB did as well.  Of course, the goal isn't to become prepared for emergencies hours before the emergency hits!  I was reminded of a good lesson that day.
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