By Mike Johnson
Boys are fascinated with things that explode.
In my elementary school, if you knew the right juvenile delinquent, you could purchase illegal fireworks smuggled in from South Dakota.
“Lady Fingers” were the smallest firecracker. You got razzed if you lit those.
“Black Cats” were the standard. A 16-pack in your pocket gave you the swagger of a gunslinger. An 80-pack made you John Dillinger.
One kid – the fireworks legend – once showed us a “brick,” which was 144 16-packs, tightly wrapped into a square. You could overthrow the entire state of Minnesota with one of those.
This arms dealer also had M-80s, which we looked upon with awe. The fuse extended ominously from the middle of the shotgun-shell sized firecracker. It was described as being an
eighth of a stick of dynamite.
I never met any, but dozens of mythical kids had lost fingers by holding their M-80 too long. One poor eunuch supposedly had one explode in his pocket.
If fortunate, once you hit age 12, your father would provide shotgun lessons. This was the explosion big leagues.
I started with a 410, the smallest caliber shotgun (Lady Finger).
Once proficient, I was promoted to the 20 gauge (Black Cat).
Only Dad was allowed to fire the 12 gauge (M-80).
Us boys got proficient with the clay pigeon thrower, lofting perfect spirals straight away for our brothers to shatter with buckshot.
As every boy knows, the only thing better than firing a shotgun, is firing it 25 times in a row.
To a male, the explosive scent of an ejected shotgun shell rivals the euphoric aroma of a freshly-opened bakery.
A million-dollar business idea would be to combine the two.
Shoot the holes out of fresh donuts.
What male would re-fuse?
Every last one of them.
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