Irony and Guns. Turns Out, They DO Mix.

You know when irony just presents itself to you all shiny and dripping with yumminess and you just can’t help but snatch it from its dangly perch?

A coworker had been standing behind me, talking about the guns he owns, and the stores and shows where he has bought them. This particular coworker is a pretty jovial guy generally. He laughs a lot, but he’s one of those guys with a voice like a garbage disposal, a stature reminiscent of Napoleon and a humor that’s only good when you haven’t pissed him off. So, when I posted a status update on Facebook that said I’d overheard a (nameless) coworker talking about all his guns and all the stores and shows where he’s bought them… and that I hoped I never made him mad… I thought it was funny.

Now, I’m very careful about what I post on Facebook with regard to work or coworkers. I never mention any names and I never complain about work. Ever. But sometimes I do make jokes. (You’re shocked, I know.) This coworker and I are not Facebook friends, but I knew he might hear about it. I wasn’t worried about that. Sure enough, another couple of coworkers said something to him about the post. They had figured out who I was talking about without description or name of any kind, and without having been in the room at the time of the conversation I overheard.

But he was very defensive. He sent me a message. “Did you miss the part I ran into two other employees in the store? Don’t worry about me I follow the law and will use my gun to protect you, or anyone else from the guy that doesn’t respect life or law and order. No apology necessary and all is forgiven…” And then he offered to take me shooting, said he was used to this kind of attitude from our coworkers.

Well, I hadn’t missed any parts. Did you miss the part where you own like four times as many guns as the coworkers own? Did I miss the part where we’d talked about whether I’d ever gone shooting or what my general attitude is as compared to our coworkers?

For me, logic dictates that guns exist to kill animals and to kill people, and most of us don’t have to hunt for our food anymore – but if you do, I understand that. And I recognize that the Constitution gives Americans the right to own guns, and I don’t concern myself with taking that right away. I do, however, think there’s such a thing as overkill. That said, I acknowledge that people collect guns for reasons other than madly building a cache of weapons for the impending burst of anger and/or separatist movement. And I know that different guns have different uses, and that sometimes collections are a matter of heritage, and while I might not fully appreciate that, I do respect it.

So I replied to this coworker not with the snarky responses I’d come up with, but rather with four words. “It was just a joke.” And a smiley face for good measure (because apparently we’ve lost the ability to write without using an emoticon to communicate intention. Or is that just me?)ย And I apologized if he’d felt that I implied he was unstable, and said I would happily remove the post. Which I did. Because I can understand why that would be a concern for him, even though I didn’t name him.

It was at that point that he asked me if I liked shoes or handbags.

Well, now I just had no idea what the hell was going on.

Then I realized he was saying that guns serve different purposes like handbags and shoes serve different purposes. Albeit in a really sexist way.

And I told him I could understand that point.

And you know what he said?

“The offer (to go shooting) still stands even though I had to drag the apology out of you.”

You know when you huff out a humorless, smileless laugh in a single syllable? The kind that means, “Oh, now I’m pissed”? I did that.

The apology from three messages ago that he did not, in fact, have to drag out of me, that was offered out of respect, and that he had said previously was unnecessary? That one? Because that’s the only one I’m offering. I’ve done nothing else to warrant one.

“You know I can’t read your posts because we are not friends, right?” he wrote. “Two people picked up on it and they were not in the room privy to the conversation. We both know that ‘angry’ was similar to ‘postal’ in that context… I am not mad! Your embarrassed you were gossiping with the fb world and I caught you… all the rest is just good fun and a teachable moment as our lecturer in chief would say.”

That last bit was a reference to the president. You’ll not be surprised to learn my coworker does not like the president.

Of course I knew we weren’t Facebook friends. And I wasn’t the slightest bit embarrassed. In fact, at this point I was seriously considering reposting my comment with the addendum that I find it deliciously ironic that those who have attitude problems and collect lots of guns don’t seem to understand that it’s the attitude problem that leads people to joke about them collecting so many guns.

Guns don’t annoy people. People annoy people. People who can’t punctuate or find the proper spelling of “you’re” happen to annoy me. I suppose that makes me an elitist. Guilty. It also makes him fit that much better into the stereotype for which he has already set himself up so well that others can identify him in a comment devoid of his name or any description of his professional position or physical appearance.

Clearly, he is his own worst enemy, here.

Why is it that people who own lots of guns get so worked up about their right to own those guns? It doesn’t happen with the folks who only have one or two. Just the ones who have, like, eight. And who also have tempers. I never said you can’t have them. I never said you shouldn’t have the right. I merely commented that I thought it was funny to hear an unnamed coworker talk about how many he had, and the personalities of the employees at the number of places from which he’s bought them, and so I remarked humorously that I hoped I didn’t ever make him angry. Because we work together. And he has a lot of guns. Work… guns… anger…

It’s a sort of pop culture reference. Commonly understood.

And now you’ve gone and made me explain the joke, and everybody knows that jokes aren’t funny if they’re explained.

Ultimately, he backed down. He said he was just trying to be funny, that all was well, really.

But I admit, I was still a little nervous when I passed him in the parking lot on the way to my car late that night.


18 thoughts on “Irony and Guns. Turns Out, They DO Mix.

  1. One of my favorite bumber stickers is “Guns don’t kill people. Gaping holes in vital organs do.” I’m sorry you had to experience this. It’s a tricky place to wander, isn’t it?

  2. My Dad owns WAY more than eight guns, and he would have laughed at your FB post and joked back. I don’t think it’s about gun collector’s attitudes as much as it is about that guy’s attitude – there are crazy people in every niche. Oh, I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to say he is really crazy, just oversensitive and devoid of humor and annoying and obnoxious. ๐Ÿ™‚

    My Dad collects guns just because he likes them. He has ones that contain a lot of history, ones that appeal to him like a purse might appeal to a woman who buys shoes and purses she doesn’t need (but I don’t think he would admit to buying a gun because “it’s just pretty”), he buys some just for the joy they are to shoot (just at targets), and some because they are rare or hard to get… In short, he is a collector. What I find ironic about his collecting is how he can’t understand why our adult family friend still collects comic books, which “are for kids”. I tried to compare it to his guns, saying that some people would question why anyone – any normal, non-paranoid, non-militant, regular kind of person – would collect guns. But he didn’t get it. To him, guns were more valid than comics. He couldn’t see that they just liked different things, and they were both valid things to collect. Even smart, as both of those items can gain in value, if you know what you’re doing.

    Of course, I don’t get excited by guns or comics. I collect books and glassware and pine cones and… And that’s why my house needs to be decluttered.

    • skippingstones, we live in a similar “universe”. My S/O has way more than eight guns and he also would have laughed. Most of his were passed down through his family and have some sentimental value, a few he hunts with and some he just loves to shoot (at targets).

      When we moved in together, he said that he wanted to put a gun rack up in the bedroom to hang his favorite really old ones. I considered it and decided it was ok as long as he let me paint the walls PURPLE. He said yes. Now everytime he takes a buddy into our room to show off his great grandfather’s gun, they pick on him about the purple/lavender walls. He says, “the paint just accentuates the guns man, they make them look gooooood!”

      LOL, funny man.

      • See, that’s funny! It sucks that she has to work with what seem to be mostly humorless, crabby people. Of course, those are probably just the ones we hear about, because the other normal people don’t make as entertaining posts.

      • Nah, most of my coworkers are really very funny. The ones I write about are the ones who don’t realize they’re fun to watch. (And sometimes the ones who bug me.)

    • That’s exactly what I mean when I say I might not fully appreciate the reasons for collecting, but I respect it. It’s only the people with bad attitudes who get defensive about their collections!

  3. it’s amazing how some people are so focused on getting up on their soapbox that they can’t see that, in this instance, it really isn’t necessary.
    The whole gun thing… I’m from Canada. My neighbour’s gun (or guns… we haven’t had a conversation about this) is for hunting. I only know he has one (or more?) because, well… he hunts ducks.
    I almost want your coworker to cause another kerfluffle when he reads this post. But not really, because flak jackets aren’t flattering on anyone, and they’re really not an every-work-day kind of accessory you’d want.

  4. Great writing. I’m with you on the point of the story. Poor guy, he must feel very insecure. BUT, it also seemed rather scary. I wouldn’t go hunting with him!

    • Thanks. I’m not actually afraid of him – I do think he has an attitude problem, but he has no real reason to scare me. Wait. That’s what they say about everyone who winds up on the news… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Nope. ๐Ÿ™‚ I came up with the name because I was thinking about brain cells and neurons and how they contribute to thoughts; my blog tends to be the result of a thought I have that gives rise to another, and another, and another…

  5. Okay- So now what we all want to know is….DID YOU POST THIS LINK TO YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE? hahaha! I think you totally should!!!! What a moron. That guy. Not you. ๐Ÿ™‚

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