Friday, August 13, 2010

The potato cannon, part 1

I've always been a quiet contemplative sort, even as a child. I was never rowdy or noisy. When Mrs. Vestal had us play the quiet game in class, I wanted to win it even if Arnita Madron did beat me out most of the time. I've always played it safe. I've only received two speeding tickets in the thirty-two years I've been driving.

I've never engaged in those high adrenaline activities that so many men are drawn to. I don't even like roller-coasters.

But then I was stricken by a mania, an obsession. I was briefly flipping through channels the other day when I passed the Discovery Channel where some respectable-looking middle aged men were running around with devices that appeared to be made of PVC pipe. Along the side was a decal that read "DIKTATER." (I will leave it to smaller minds to give a Freudian reading to that decal.)

One man used the end of the PVC pipe to cut a hunk out of a piece of potato. He then used a piece of dowel rod to tamp it deeper into the barrel, like a Minute Man might do with a musket. He then turned his attention to the other end of his device which was somewhat larger in diameter. Into that end, he briefly sprayed an aerosol can. He closed off end with a cap, hoisted the device upon his shoulder, and pressed a button.

At the pressing of the button a piece of potato was hurled from the other end.

A man the briefly explained that all that was required to do this was PVC pipe, hairspray, and an ignition switch from a barbecue grill.

It was upon learning of the simplicity of the thing that I was fully hooked. I decided that I had to make one.

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