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On People, Guns, and Shopping (a semi-encouraging ramble)

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Have you ever wanted to just curl up in a ball and forget everyone else in the world? Maybe move to Wyoming and live in the middle of 10,000 acres with nobody but your favorite dog or mountain lion to keep you company? Perhaps you’ve seriously contemplated becoming a hermit in a cave in the middle of the woods of Arkansas (I’ve heard they have nice woods)? Perhaps that’s not the best idea, but sometimes, I can totally relate. I’m often amazed at how many times I hear people say that they “hate other people” or that (more commonly) “I’m just not a ‘people person.'” I worked in retail for the past year and a half at a firearms and outdoors store, and I saw all sorts of people, and I saw them in all sorts of interesting states.

Selling firearms in North Carolina is a fairly painless process. There’s a decent amount of paperwork to be done, but nothing that a high school graduate should struggle with. The basic requirements and process consist of a driver’s license, background check, and the filling of a federal form known as the 4473; pistols require a permit or license that substitutes for the background check.

Many people come in to the store knowing exactly what they want and how to go about the purchase process. Those people are easy. I generally didn’t mind dealing with them. These sorts of people usually own several firearms and are immensely familiar with shooting sports, defense, or hunting and the related things that are needed. The worst experiences that I had with these shoppers are the ones who were cocky or curt, and they were not a huge problem. I know how to ignore negativity.

Some people come in not knowing anything about firearms. These are the people who have to be talked through various aspects of owning a firearm, the legal intricacies, and how the firearm works. These are the people to whom I usually recommend a class or two. If the person is open to listening, then the process is usually fairly easy. If the person has been ill-informed or thinks that he (yes, it was almost always a guy) knows something when he doesn’t, then we had problems.

  • The “(I don’t really) Know-It-All”
    This guy just can’t wait to tell you all that he knows, and he’s never wrong, even when he plainly is. I’ve had customers argue with me even after I’ve shown them the contradicting text on a package, website, or whatever else. They simply cannot stand the thought of being incorrect. This is especially scary when dealing with an item like a firearm. One of the most cliché but but also most prevalent examples of this was the “oh, well it’s not loaded.” Yes, but if you develop a habit of treating loaded and unloaded firearms differently, then you might one day slip up.
  • The “Just-Tell-Me-What-I-Need-To-Know”
    Some people are simply impatient. I typically have little respect for (rude) impatient people, and I openly dislike impatient people with guns. One of the purposes of a firearms salesman (ew, nasty term, huh?) is to filter through the people who are attempting to purchase a firearm illegally or for illicit purposes. When people were overtly impatient or curt, I then had to probe more and attempt to find out why they were being that way, and my actions often, in turn, made them less happy with me, which made me less happy, and then no one was happy.
  • The “Whoah Buddy You Really Don’t Need A Gun”
    Several different types of people qualified for this category–the most obvious were the people who had no mechanical inclinations and knew nothing about firearms. If someone picked up a pistol, put their finger on the trigger, and then proceeded to point it at me or someone else, I would politely work with them on proper handling and etiquette. I would often dissuade these people from purchasing a firearm until they had the proper training.

The list could go on, but I think you get the general idea; many people were a pain to work with. That’s not the point, though. Many people were a pleasure to deal with. Many people were gracious, considerate, and easy-going. People have the capability to be a positive influence in others’ lives, and I think that most people want to be.

I no longer sell firearms; I quit that job not too long ago. It was an interesting experience, though. I learned a lot about people, retail business, and (of course) guns. So, to the people who want to curl up in a ball, move to Wyoming, and live with several cats or a large-breed dog, I say, give others a chance. People out there do care, and how you approach them often sets the tone for how your interactions will go.

That’s my semi-encouraging ramble for the year.

~ Chris

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Top Ten (Benign) Stalker Songs of All Time (from my iTunes library)

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Well, okay, maybe not of all time, but at least of the selection that lives in my library of music.

Anchor & Braille — Wedding / Funeral

It’s a song written from the perspective of a guy who is feeling remorseful of letting go of an old friend. It’s for her funeral or wedding ’cause, you know, that’s not creepy.

“I’m a great burning lament to this day
But I realize now you’re in a better place
Hands will tremble
As you’re lowered down the aisle
But you won’t look at me
Not so much as smile
I want to stand up and speak my peace
And let your hollow pieces walk away.”

Dude, you’ve got some emotional issues. I’m seriously considering setting up an eHarmony account for you.

Cascada — Everytime We Touch

Ok, I don’t  think it’s meant to be a stalker song, but this lady is just a bit obsessive… Strangely enough, this video reminds me of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit video, but I prefer this version. 

“I still hear your voice, when you sleep next to me.
I still feel your touch in my dream.
Forgive me my weakness, but I don’t know why
Without you it’s hard to survive.”

If you’re hearing voices, you should seek professional help.

GLaDOS — Still Alive

A song written just for me by a megalomaniacal  supercomputer who wanted to kill me. So sweet.

“I’m not even angry.
I’m being so sincere right now.
Even though you broke my heart.
And killed me.
And tore me to pieces.
And threw every piece into a fire.
As they burned it hurt because I was so happy for you!”

…anyway, you should play Portal if this makes no sense.

Stellar Kart — Kiss the Girl

Yes, this is a cover of a song from The Little Mermaid. Yes, I have this song in my iTunes library. LISTEN TO THOSE STALKER LYRICS, THOUGH.

“Yes, you want her
Look at her, you know you do
It’s possible she wants you too
There’s one way to ask her
It don’t take a word, not a single word
Go on and kiss the girl”

Death Cab for Cutie — I Will Possess Your Heart

The title says it all. Also, 4 minute guitar intro.

“You reject my… advances… and desperate pleas…
I won’t let you… let me down… so easily.”

I’m sorry, but, um, I’m calling the cops…

The Afters — Myspace Girl

“You asked me what I wanted… I want you!”

Would you like fries with that?

Needtobreathe — Girl Named Tennessee

This one’s just kind of like a failed stalker song…

“Oh, she danced away with my heart and soul
Who she was, I will never know
Danced away with my hopes and dreams
My sweet girl from Tennessee”

In one night, you placed all of your hopes and dreams in a girl? Overconfident, much?

Fall Out Boy — My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark

I’m really not even sure. Certainly sounds stalkerish to me…

Owl City — Deer In the Headlights

This was a free download from iTunes. I promise I didn’t buy this…

“Met a girl with a graceful charm,
But when beauty met the beast he froze.
Got the sense I was not her type
By black eye and bloody nose,
But I guess that’s the way it goes.”

No… I’m pretty sure you’re doing it wrong.

Relient K — Faking My Own Suicide

“To get your attention, I’m faking my own suicide…”

Yeah, yeah… that’ll do it.

And those are the stalker songs from my music library. What’s your favorite stalker song?

~XK

A Topic Very Dear to my Heart

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A topic which is very dear to my heart has recently invaded my mind as a matter of some import, for, you see, I realized that I have completely and utterly ignored this most important of items when writing in this blog. I did a quick review, and I found that I have designated exactly no posts to this extremely vital…. thing. Coffee. Yes, that nectar of the Fortunate Isles. The Promised Land was flowing with milk and honey, and one can only speculate that this was so that the Israelites’ coffee would not be barren. Coffee is that beverage that greets me when I awaken and is still ready for a sip before I settle down for the evening. Coffee goes with virtually every desert that doesn’t contain fruit, and chocolate, that wonderful food from the heavens, is one of coffee’s constant companions. Coffee can be enjoyed by one’s self, or it can be partaken of by an entire army. Water and fire are both needed to create it, and a host of additions can be made. Sugars, honeys, dairies, and an entire consortium of flavors can be combined to create any manner of coffee derivative, but in the end, it is still a coffee. I have compiled a list of possible things to do with coffee. Here it is.

  1. Use it in a cake. Yes, you could have coffee cake, coffee icing, coffee chips, coffee, um, flavor…
  2. Take a bath in it. Because everybody likes someone who smells like coffee. (It just might be a tad bit sticky…)
  3. Roast a bunch of coffee, pour it out, and repeat. ‘Cause really, the best part of coffee is the smell.
  4. Spread it in the lower atmosphere to create coffee rain. (IDK if that’s possible, but NASA, now that you’re not busy with moon stuff, wanna try it?)
  5. Make a deeply philosophical and socially-relevant music video about it.
  6. Build a castle. Surround said castle with a moat. Fill moat with coffee. Paint angry alligator faces on coffee beans and float them in the moat.
  7. Float rubber duckies in it, because rubber duckies like coffee, too.

    Yes, that's tea. Shhhh.
    Yes, that’s tea. Shhhh.
  8. Use it in a Super Soaker during a water fight. They’ll never see it coming. >.>
  9. Feed it to a class of pre-schoolers, and then run away very quickly.
  10. Write a blog post about it.

While such a short list is prohibitive and really insufficient to truly cover the boundless opportunities provided by such a wondrous substance, I really must end this post at some point. So, I regret to announce, this is the End. I am going now. I bid you all a very fond farewell. Goodbye.

(Until next time…)

~ XK