Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Slingshots—But Not Yet Computerized

When I was a boy in the 1940s, slingshots played a major role in my life—always hand-made, of course, what else? The process required find a suitable young Y-shaped branch, acquiring part of an old inner-tube, still used in autos back then, and ideally a good piece of soft leather to hold the stone. One also needed some decent string to affix rubber to wood, leather to rubber. And then off to hunt. The other day, to my innocent amazement, I discovered slingshots for sale, plastic wrapped, of course, at Ace Hardware. (I was looking for a small U.S. flag on a stick for our backyard, and there it was, at the end of that same aisle). I am showing a picture, unwrapped, made by Marksman. Wonders shall never cease. To be sure, making our own bows and arrows was another way to be truly armed at 10 or thereabouts, but I had discovered ages ago that the art of making one of humanity’s oldest sophisticated projectile weapon (the spear having precedence but not sophistication) had been improved by modern industry a long, long time ago. In the future? Well, rubber will disappear before string does. And wood will still bend in the post-Fossil age. As for slingshots, we made our own once and never had any dealings with adults. For all I know, now that you can buy the slingshot for $8.99 ($7.19 at sale price), there will soon be Little Leagues where boys too small to use them, in appropriate Robin Hood uniforms, will be guided in the art of sling-shooting by hovering daddies wishing to live their lives through yours.

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