September 02, 2004


So I'm reading the paper over the weekend and I see this ad:


Wow. Legal, safe, easy to use... and fun?!?!?! And it has a buccaneer on the outside?

I mean, how perfect could it be? The Bucs fire cannons on their end zone pirate ship when they score or when they get inside the 20. I could do the same thing!

"I've gotta get me one of these,'' I told my wife. She rolled her eyes, knowing all resistance was futile.

So the other day at lunchtime, I asked Rommie if he wanted to go cannon shopping.

We hopped into the O-Mobile and headed to the middle of town.

"What a coincidence,'' he said. "I'm fun. I'm legal. I'm safe. And I'm easy to use.''

I declined to remind him that, unlike the cannon, he would not be that impressive of a launching mechanism for pyrotechnics.


We roll up on this place off Armenia. It's in a strip mall with a nail salon and a massage parlor. God knows what we're going to find, I'm thinking. I don't even know if we're in the right place.

Then I see a telltale indicator:


As Tony Bruno would say, "Beeyootiful, man.''

We walk inside and, sure enough, it's a fireworks store. But then we see a table in the back:


Is there anything more beautiful than a table full of cannons?

Don't answer that.

Anyway, we come to find out from Ralph, the store owner, that there are three sizes, small, medium and large. Small looks like a cigarette lighter, so I know I don't want that. Medium size is okay, but large is better.

But large is $139. That's the right size, but the wrong price tag.

"What's the difference between them?" Rommie asks.

"The bigger the cannon,'' Ralph says, "the bigger the ball of flame.''

Rommie's eyes opened to the size of dinner plates.

"Ball of flame,'' Rommie said in a low, satisfied monotone.


(Disclaimer: There is no reason that this photo shows the cannon aimed where it was. No inference to balls, flames or Rommie should be made by its inclusion. This photo is merely to display the dimensions of the cannon, nothing more. Stop reading into this, dammit!)

We reasoned that if you're going to pay $109 for a medium-size cannon, why not go $30 more and get what you want.

"I smell an impulse buy,'' I told Rommie.

So I asked Ralph how it worked.

You put 2 ounces of water in the rear chamber. Then you squeeze part of a tube of calcium carbide into a second chamber. Screw lids on both chambers and then hit an ignition switch and, boom.


So I bought one on the spot.

"Might not want to bring that into the office,'' Rommie said. "People might start to speculate that you're compensating for something.''

Later that night, I took it home and showed it to my wife. She just grinned and speculated that I might be the reason for a revision in the homeowner's association rules and regulations against explosive devices.

"Truth be told, I was going to surprise you with one,'' she said.

Did I marry well, or what?

I showed my son the next morning before school. He opened the box, asked what it was and then smiled when I told him.

"I love you, Dad,'' he said with a laugh.

Posted by Jeff at September 2, 2004 07:35 AM