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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Three Greatest Smells In The World

So we get to the rangemaster's podium to sign in, my son and I, and we're greeted by an affable, sunbaked chap with a big mustache and and a bigger smile tucked somewhere underneath it. If he were teleported to Dodge City circa 1885, the locals wouldn't bat an eye.

He turns to my son and asks "How old are you, son?" in that indirect tone people use when they're having a conversation with another adult through their children.

"Eleven."

"Eleven years old, why, I think it's about time you were told about the three greatest smells in the world. Has your father told you what they are?"

"No."

I sense that we've entered turn three way too fast. I roll with it, because hell, I'm dying to find out what they are myself. Besides, the notion of three males having a casual conversation punctuated by frequent soul-shaking bursts of mega caliber gunfire seems so...Apocalypse Now. So I lean down to pick my mind up out of the gutter and listen.

"Well, the first of the three greatest smells is why you're here today. I'm talking about gunpowder. Son, it's gonna put a smile on your face."

"The second one you'd know about if your dad has ever taken you fishing. Has your dad ever taken you fishing?"

"Yeah."

"So you know that the second smell is the oil from an outboard motor when you're headed out to your favorite fishing spot. There is nothing like it in the world."

So far, I'm not all that impressed. It's so folksy it hurts. It's like listening to an Andy Griffith standup routine.

"And the last one--can you tell me what you do when you get back from the range?"

"Take a shower?"

"OK, but after that, what are you supposed to do with your rifle?"

"Clean it?"

"Right, and that leads me to the greatest of the three greatest smells in the world. And that is good old Hoppe's #9."

I hear this last one, and get a rush that can only come from vindication. The sudden realization that no, I am not the only sick bastard in America who believes this concoction contains lethal doses of female pheromones, crack cocaine, gummy bears, and a royale with cheese.

This was going to be a good day.

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