I am not a member of the National Rifle Association, and I have been known to make fun of hunting apparel and hunting accessories and hunting guys. However, I did reap the benefits of having a gun-toting neighbor not long ago. He was my downstairs neighbor, Pete (of course not really), and he would, on occasion, ring my doorbell to share things like a freshly deadened turkey, or some newly acquired harpoon–just anything that he thought might brighten my day. Since I knew that he was a gun collector, I thought it best to receive these visits with good cheer.
When I shared with Pete my frustration with some cheeky woodchucks who had taken to chowing down on my amazingly beautiful container gardens, I never imagined that he would avenge me so valiantly, but that is what happened. He was so overcome with neighborliness that he just up and shot the woodchucks for me! Mind you, he used some sort of silencer, so that he wouldn’t alarm the other neighbors or the authorities (who did show up at his doorstep a couple of times–and when they drop in on dudes who have a small arsenal of registered firearms, they take up a lot of parking spaces on the street). And I am pretty sure that he shot them from his window (the woodchucks, not the authorities). I wasn’t around, and I don’t think that I directly asked him to do that. I may have said something about wanting to kill the woodchuck. At any rate, I have to say that it is a bit of a trip to realize that you have your own personal sniper on call.
I don’t have neighbors in the same house anymore. That’s mostly an overwhelmingly good thing—but the woodchucks have discovered my green thumb smorgasbord, and I am missing Pete. I tear open the back door and yell things like, “Woodchuck! Run away!” while my useless dog looks at the woodchuck, then me, then the woodchuck. It doesn’t seem quite kosher to call Pete to request a sniper visit, since we don’t keep in touch. That kind of an ad on Craig’s List seems like a potential ticket to the front page. But it’s tempting.