I’ve decided to share my latest book (The All-Important, Well-Fed, Giant White Man) with my followers here, free of charge, one chapter at a time. So… Where were we on this read-along… Oh, yes…
Chapter 23: The Potato Cannon Incident
The year I temporarily crippled myself with the baseball bat was a year of boner moves all around. I’m talking real Darwin Award stuff.
A college buddy and I had figured out from ye glorious Internet how to build potato cannons, and we went all-out building full-on six-foot long bazookas. We spent many hours having spectacular amounts of fun shooting potatoes 300-500 feet into the mountains. I think it was only natural for me to want to share some of this goodness with my other, much crazier pals.
He was in our group of boner friends, and we all did a lot of boner things together.
We used to kick each other in the groins. For fun. Explain that one to me.
We used to pin each other down, dig our hands as far into each other’s butt holes as possible, and yell G.O.T.D. (it stood for gay of the day) as loud as we could while burrowing as deep as we could. For fun. Explain that one to me, too.
Other times we’d grab old ratty bath towels, roll them just so, tie rubber bands around the ends, wet the tips, and run around like hooligans whipping each other. For fun. We called them rat tail wars. Blood was drawn many times.
Bloody knuckles. Slaps. Licorice whipping. Mattress wars. Fun. Fun. Fun. Fun.
One of our favorite games was “dodge the paintball” in which we’d stand one at a time, 20 feet in front of a firing squad, and we didn’t get to “move out” until we could successfully dodge a surprise ball of paint hurling our way at 178 MPH. For fun. It usually took several attempts and a whole lot of welts for me to dodge one, but it was all worth it because then it was my turn to inflict some pain on the others.
We loved that game, so of course it led to me and Spencer creating a cross-over version of it using my new potato cannon. We plotted it out with no thought at all, and called our new game “Dodge the Potato.”
In case you’re not aware of what a potato cannon is, let me fill you in.
A potato cannon (or spud gun) is a homemade firearm, usually created with PVC piping, a barbecue igniter, and other fun stuff. It’s a simple contraption. You stuff a potato down the barrel of your cannon with a broomstick, then you pour or spray some sort of explosive into the other end, and then… you ignite it.
Did I mention that the potato often launches more than 300 feet? The furthest launch I’ve seen was about 500 feet, though that’s just a guestimate since it completely disappeared from our view. In other words, these things are powerful and you should never, ever, ever, ever shoot one at another person.
But, twenty-year-olds don’t think that way. In fact, call me crazy but twenty-year olds think they’re bulletproof and incapable of any actual or long-term harm. We took it one step further, believing we were potato proof, as well.
Now, these homemade cannons are often finicky. It sometimes takes several attempts to get them to shoot, let alone to get them to shoot accurately. So, we made a rule. We’d each take a turn shooting potatoes at each other, and our turn would end either when we hit the other person or after six failed attempts to do so.
Spencer lost the paper, rock, scissors and had to go first. I started with three misfires and no successful potatoes launched. My fourth shot did launch, but it skipped along the ground twenty feet or so to Spencer’s left. Shots #5 and #6 were also misfires, so I handed the cannon over to Spencer, confident that I would be just as fortunate as he was, bummed that I hadn’t nailed my friend with a big ass potato.
I jogged 70 feet or so into the field, the distance we decided together was safe. I stood there like an idiot, watching him spray WD-40 into the chamber, jam a potato deep inside, and grin like a sadist clown while he did it.
He picked up the cannon and swung it in my direction. As I stared into its dark barrel, I couldn’t help but start wondering how good an idea this actually was. I squatted in my “dodge it” position, and waited for a possible potato headed my way.
And… shoooonk. The gun went off. On his first damn shot.
I can still see the potato heading toward me in slow motion.
I jumped to the left in my attempt to dodge it, and as if the potato had heat seeking capabilities, it followed me…