You'll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid

Prairie Gleanings

I agree with Ralphie, a BB gun does make a good present. They're great for teaching responisibility.

Published on: December 18, 2012

Ah, the Christmas season is upon us. I get to indulge in several guilty pleasures: Christmas movies, festive music and, most hazardous to my waistline, my wife’s cookies.

A Christmas Story is one of my favorite Christmas movies. I go back and forth between it and Christmas Vacation as to which is actually my favorite. I can completely relate to little Ralphie’s mania for BB guns.

My first BB gun was a Daisy lever-action. It was very similar to the Model 10 on this page. I don’t remember when I got my first BB gun. But, I remember a lot about it.

First, you had to pour the BBs in a little opening at the end of the muzzle. Back then, you had two choices of BBs: gold or silver. Being lighter, the silver ones flew faster and farther, but you sacrificed accuracy. The gold ones were more accurate and hit harder, but didn’t go as far. I preferred gold.

At one point, my Daisy wasn’t performing up to snuff. I learned about oil’s magical influence over metal when dad lubed it up and it ran like a charm. Dad also taught me the dangers of pointing any sort of gun at a person. It’s a lesson I took to heart and heeded.

Unfortunately, we didn’t delve into additional detail about what was on the “Do Not Shoot” list. I was shocked to find out mom’s tomatoes were on that list. A week without my Daisy in the middle of the summer drove the point home in short order.

To this day, that old Daisy is still sitting in the corner of my parents’ garage. Grab it, cock it, give it a shake (to ensure a BB is chambered), and let it fly. The BBs still fly as straight and true as they ever did.

I did just that several years back. My parents’ neighbor had what I thought was an old-garage-sale sign in the corner of his yard. I took a few shots at it. I was thrilled to hear the metallic ping when I found the mark. It was a 150-yard shot!

A week later, dad learned of my exploits when the neighbor complained that someone had shot his address sign with a BB gun. Imagine that, I was in my mid-20s and still learning of stuff that’s on the “Do Not Shoot” list.