When I was a kid, on one of the four television stations (imagine such a thing – and they actually WENT OFF THE AIR AT NIGHT) had kids programming three times a day. WTTV Channel 4 out of Bloomington, Indiana had a show called Popeye and Janie in the morning before school, Cowboy Bob and Tumbleweed at noon, and damned if I can remember the after-school host. Every so often, there would be a contest where the lucky winner, after mailing in Kahn’s Wieners paper wrappers with your entry to 3490 Bluff Road (I can barely remember what I had for breakfast this morning, but that address is burned indelibly into the brains of young Hoosiers from the 60’s) would get to run amuck with a shopping cart in a toy store for a specific amount of time. They would always whip the audience into a frenzy by showing the lucky little boy or girl at a starting line. At a signal, accompanied by the sounds of screaming kids who weren’t getting jack out of this, the kid would take off at a run and start raking toys off into their cart, and then at the last moment come sliding across the finish line with their heavily laden cart. Every kid’s dream.
As almost always, there is some relation between my rambling here and the subject of optics.
I think about those contests every single time I enter our warehouses to measure something, take a photo of a product to e-mail to a customer, or just to satisfy my curiosity about something new. I imagine standing by the shipping department, hunched over my shopping cart while jealous co-workers who didn’t remember to include the Kahn’s Wieners wrapper with their entry, scream encouragement and secretly wish they were me.
Whenever anyone asks what I would do if I won the lottery, I tell them I would go to the grocery store. I explain that I would need a cart, and then I’m off to the gun store to fill it. So, grocery carts play an important part in my daily thought process. Good practice if I’m ever homeless, I suppose.
So, the buzzer, or starter pistol, or freon air horn goes off, and I’m careening through the warehouse to fill my shopping cart to overflowing with optics. What to grab…
I need night vision. I need a PS22 or two (or six). I have recommended them for years now to people to allow them to add night vision capability to their existing riflescopes, and I’m about to load up with riflescopes. I also rake in all the Gen 3 PVS-14’s, as they are small, don’t take up much room in the cart, and are flat-out amazing. I also grab a Pulsar N550 in each hand, because not only are they an excellent product, I’m basically greedy.
Rounding the corner to thunderous applause, I’m headed for area 22P, and I’m going to get an armload of Vortex Viper PST riflescopes. I may only have 5 rifles, but I’m going to get as many as I can, and photograph them all together and post the pic on ar15.com. Damnit, I wanted the MOA, not MIL! No time now, I’m off to rangefinders.
“TWO MINUTES REMAINING!” What the…? I’m behind schedule! Area 22S for Nightforce… a C353 8-32×56 with the MLR reticle! Okay… “Schmidt Und Bender!” I shout in my best Sergeant Schulz accent as I reverently fling the first four I come to into the cart. They’re all good, I’ll be surprised later.
Thermal! Dear God, this is taking longer than I planned! A left and a right and was that Gene? Sorry, hope the foot will be okay… L3 ThermalEye X200XP… one for me, one for each of the three cats… do I have batteries? No matter…
I’m rounding third and heading for home, laughing manically as I hook a Leupold Mark 8 CQBSS while riding on the back of the cart. Boresnakes of every caliber trail behind me like handlebar streamers. The purchasing department is waving handmade signs with my name.
“TEN SECONDS!” 30 yards, 20 yards, 10 yards…
My wife wakes me up, wanting to know why I’m sleeping on the couch with wiener packages from the fridge, stamps and envelopes. She tells me that finding me surrounded by catalogs is not so unusual, nor is me watching Popeye DVD’s, but why is there a shopping cart in the family room – again?