Re: RARA-AVIS: Zip Gun Bop

Bill Hagen (
Mon, 7 Sep 1998 16:55:35 -0500 (CDT) Since we're sharing the homemade weapons of our misspent youth(s),

As a kid growing up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., I only read about
zip guns. (Is there one on _Blackboard Jungle_?) But there was the
infinitely less lethal match shooter that you could make with one wooden
clothespin. It required the "strike anywhere" matches, usually broken just
below the head so they could be shot farther. To fight with these required
universal agreement on this limited weapon, including elaborate rules on
"hits." [Agreement was required since something as simple as a rubberband
could outshoot one of these things.] Probably because this was such a
polite weapon, I don't ever remember being in a fight with one. The pride
was in the ability to make it, and make it work.

Since we were so pacific (and privileged), our destructive impulses were
more channelled into modifications of fireworks and the making of pipe
bombs with homemade powder. I'm proud to say that I lived across the
street from one of the best pipe bombers, creator of a first-rate rocket
pipe bomb that would launch, come down Godknowswhere, and then explode.
His most famous feat was bringing a whole train to a halt with one very
smokey pipe bomb. It was a slow train, but still...

Uh, before you send the agents, this was in the 1950s.

Just frazzling the thread at its logical end.

Bill Hagen

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