It’s “Carnival Day”

Yes, it’s Carnival Day. But seeing how I have a strong aversion to rides that are assembled in a single afternoon and my consistent inability to win anything on the Midway by ringing canes, toppling milk bottles, or drawing the “lucky duck” out of the water of the “who knows where THAT’S been” water trough, I’m just not a fan of those fly-by-night carnivals. I’m NOT including the Pataskala Street Fair, but then again, my attraction to this particular event is based on catching up with friends from school. And maybe eating a corn dog or two.

So, I’m going to finish the post I started yesterday, which was “Pistol Patent Day”. I was consistently interrupted throughout the day (including a hospital visit) and didn’t get to complete the post, which leaves me feeling more than unsettled. So, since I had already completed a fair amount of research on yesterday’s “holiday”, I’m going to give it a belated celebration. Here goes.

On February 25, 1836, a young Samuel Colt obtained a patent for his revolver. I must interject here and say that a pistol is NOT the same thing as a revolver. I can only imagine that the creators of this “holiday” felt that “Revolver Patent Day” didn’t have nearly the same kick as “Pistol Patent Day”. I would liken this to the fact that any other name for the fabled Peanuts character, “Peppermint Patty”, would be less than adequate. Would she be as spunky if her name was “Chocolate Patty” or even “Spearmint Patty”?  I think not. Perhaps “Cow Patty” would have worked, but seeing how they already had “Pigpen” on board, well, who needs two smelly characters?

Back to Samuel Colt. He was 18 years old when he began working on developing a gun that could shoot multiple bullets. Of course, like many 18-year-olds, he lacked the funding necessary to build such a beast. His father, not really believing that Sammy’s idea was much of anything, “helped” his son get a prototype made, which ended up exploding. See, Old Daddy hired cheap machinists, and even back in the 1800’s, you get what you pay for. So Samuel, not deterred by his father’s lack of enthusiasm and support, decided to seek capital elsewhere.

His dedication paid off when Colt obtained a patent for the revolver at the age of 22. It took a while to build his empire but his revolver concept was a priceless contribution to the development of war technology and orthodontia-challenged hillbillies everywhere. When he died in 1862, he left his wife and son a $15,000,000 estate. YEEEEE-HAWWWWW! Guns AND money! I’m sure it was a powerful combination even back in the mid-1800’s.

Samuel Colt

I learn so much when writing these posts. I probably would have never thought about old Samuel Colt and his world-changing invention nor would I have learned that he was one of eight children – five boys and three girls. Two of his sisters died in childhood and the other committed suicide later in life. I can’t help but wonder if she used a gun?

I grew up with guns in the house – in a locker that was never locked – AND which was kept in the same room as all of my toys (I wonder what my family was trying to say?)  I was, however, taught to respect guns at an early age (never aim at your step-brother, neighborhood cats, parents, etc.)

My first step-dad was the gun lover in the house and every Friday night we went to a shooting range that was located under a bowling alley. The noise in that place was astounding. The cacophony of bowling balls dropping, pins crashing and bullets flying necessitated headphones that were first cousins of the quadraphonic 8-track style.  Add the yellow aviator shooting-range glasses and a sweet jacket with padded elbows and it’s a complete look.  I had my very own rifle with a custom made stock and actually turned out to be an excellent shot. Yep.  We had lots of guns, a bullet press, and even a make-shift range in the basement of our house. We fully exercised our Constitutional Right to bear arms at 175 N. 5th street in Kirkersville, Ohio.

I would wager that the majority of people in Southwest Licking County had quick access to firearms. In fact, it wasn’t uncommon for my male classmates to bring their guns along with them to school. Of course, they were always safely mounted to the gun rack in the back of their pickup truck. Yet, despite the ammo-charged atmosphere, not one of my classmates ever pulled a gun because their pottery project didn’t turn out or they didn’t get the lead in the school play. It just wasn’t done. My reflection on the differences between my generation and today’s troubled quick-to-shoot youth leads me to believe that it’s all the fault of video games. And the lack of corporal punishment, which my school banned the year I graduated. A good, solid butt-whuppin’ can be beneficial in many scenarios. I guess it doesn’t hold up well to fire power though. Never mind.

I couldn’t let this post close without pointing out that while the Colt 45 was, indeed, a firearm crafted by Samuel Colt himself, it is also a delicious malt beverage. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s delicious since I’ve never tasted it and never plan to. Although when I visited the Colt 45 Malt Liquor website (yes, they have one) it featured Billy Dee Williams beckoning the visitors to come on inside. “Colt 45 works every time”. I couldn’t resist the power of Billy Dee. So I entered my date of birth to “prove” that I was at least 21 years of age. When the opening phrase of “Congratulations, Player, you’ve been approved” popped up, I felt a great sense of joy. Adulthood does have certain benefits – guns and liquor being two of them. And besides, who can resist Billy Dee AKA Lando Calrissian, the main man of Cloud City in the Empire Strikes Back. He knows what he’s talking about. And if he says that “Colt 45 works every time” then who am I to say it doesn’t?

I also found information on the Colt 45 website about a popular drinking game that I’m sure is sweeping college campuses Nationwide. It’s called “Edward Fortyhands”, which derives its name from Johnny Depp’s character in Edward Scissorhands. What you do is this: take two forty ounce bottles of a malt liquor beverage – preferably Colt 45 – and tape one to each hand. Whoever drinks both beverages first (YES, 80 ounces of malt liquor) gets to be “freed” of their empty 40-ouncers. I absolutely love the name of this game but cannot condone the behavior. This just screams “alcohol poisoning”.  Maybe it’s the mother in me? See photo below.

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Maybe this is how Lando Calrissian lost the Millennium Falcon to his old friend, Han Solo? Both of them being gambling men, I can totally see them playing a round of “Edward Fortyhands” for the pink slip to the Falcon. I would think that losing a round of “Edward Fortyhands” would turn Billy Dee off malt liquor much less encourage him to be the official spokesman for Colt 45, but what do I know?

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