Saturday, April 12, 2008

My NRA Card

Today, my National Rifle Association membership card came in the mail.

Okay, full disclosure: it was a temporary NRA card—one of those plastic deals with my name slightly misspelled, placed with sticky goo on a letter so that it can be seen through the plastic window of the envelope in which it came. Of course, after opening the envelope, I quickly learned (should I choose to pay twenty-five patriotic dollars) that a permanent, personalized card would soon follow.

And a bit more disclosure—I consider myself a liberal with no desire to own a gun, touch a gun, use a gun, or write a manifesto explaining my need for a gun. Let it be known, if I ever write a manifesto, I’ll post it right here for you. Because I love you. Because nothing says I love you more than a blog-posted manifesto. But I digress…

Back to my envelope. Much to my surprise, upon receiving my NRA card, I was thrilled—thrilled because an organization that I would NEVER join has wasted its money to send me their solicitation. It was the same thrill I felt when I got a letter in 2004 from George and Laura Bush along with a signed photo, asking for my support in George’s bid for re-election. My wife refused to let me frame and hang the photo in the house. Where did I put that thing?

I couldn’t help but think then, as I do now, that I’d love to follow the Byzantine trail that leads from me to the conservative spam list on which my name must appear. Did it all start when I printed my email address on the contest form to win the Hummer at the mall while my wife wasn’t looking? Guess it serves me right.

But my ironic thrill did not end simply at the arrival of my new NRA card. No, my thrill grew once I read the letter which accompanied my temporary card, warning me that the “freedom-hating Hollywood elite” were recruiting allies and spending millions to ban and confiscate our guns, “just like they did in England, Canada and Australia.” Heaven knows what hell-holes those countries have become. Tea-drinking, crumpet-munching, Queen-loving, non-gun-owning freaks. No thank you. Sign me up for the real card.

The letter went on to reveal that there are many benefits of an NRA card. These benefits include (if I act now!) a heavy-duty duffel bag bearing the NRA logo. Cool! This duffel would be the perfect place to carry my guns of choice when visiting a local mall or place of higher education or Jamba Juice. Ooh, I love those. Have you had the Mango Madness? Yum. Pairs well with expressions of your Amendment II rights.

Another amazing benefit of true NRA membership is one’s choice of NRA magazines filled with, “eye-popping photography, information-packed reviews of the hottest new guns, gear and ammo, hundreds of hunting tips plus all the news and strategies you need to defend your freedoms.” Tempting, my friends. Oh, so tempting. I just hope the magazines are worded clearly enough so that a knucklehead like me doesn’t confuse my hunting tips with my strategies for defending my freedoms. Here, I’m reminded of Dick Cheney shooting his lawyer. Which was that—a hunting tip or a freedom fighting strategy?

But my favorite is the third benefit—an NRA member “credentials package,” including a guide to insurance, Friends of NRA events, safety training, and up to 60% off on Starkey® hearing aid products.

Guh-wha? Hearing aid products? I kid you not. It says that verbatim!

That tells me that either gun ownership harms people’s hearing (and I believe that it does—but isn’t that a fair price for freedom?), or that there’s a skew towards gun ownership by people already hard of hearing. Is there a deaf militia out there? Who knew?! That’s either very liberating or entirely scary. How do you plead for your life when the man with the gun to your face can’t hear your pleas? Not fair.

Charlton Heston—once president of the NRA—passed away this month. Think what you will of the man, of the roles he played in “The Ten Commandments” or the equally Biblical, “Planet of the Apes,” but I was surprised my solicitation for membership didn’t evoke Mr. Heston’s memory. Lost opportunity, perhaps?

Then again, I always wondered how the NRA reconciled Heston’s leadership with their indictment of the aforementioned “freedom-hating Hollywood elite.” Maybe they regarded him as an exception to the rule. I’m sure he would have been happy to put a bullet between the eyes of one of those “damn dirty apes.” (Again, “hunting tip” or “freedom strategy”? Maybe both). Did Heston like Jamba Juice? What the hell am I talking about?

At this point I only know four things:
  1. I’m on some sort of conservative spam list and sort of loving it

  2. Charlton Heston is dead and officially being left out of NRA solicitations

  3. I have an inexplicable craving for Jamba Juice
  4. I have a new item on my to-do list—write a blog-posted manifesto sometime in the future

Is this what it’s like to be a card-carrying conservative? I’m giddy.

© 2008, Herb Williams-Dalgart