I had my doubts about the fest from the start. Other Appreciation Days might have some use, like Nurse Appreciation Day or Secretary Appreciation Day, in the sense that your nurse might not pick that particular day to be a half-hour late with your pain meds or your secretary would find another day to quit, marry your most hated business competitor and take all your customers with her.
Gun Appreciation Day would be like having Drill Press Appreciation Day, or Embarrassing Little Emergency Tire Appreciation Day. What's the point?
But I was willing to go along with the program. I borrowed a gun from a friend because I had gotten rid of mine years ago, after my wife at the time tried to shoot an earthquake with it. The way that marriage was progressing, I figured I was next, so I sold it to that friend. He still doesn't live that far away, so it was my own ex-gun I borrowed.
We drove out to a local canyon. My ex-gun didn't show any particular emotion at our reunion. It just sat there in its holster, like it had for most of the years I'd owned it. A ride to that canyon with my ex-wife would have been much livelier.
I set a couple of melons on stumps and had a little talk with the gun. In the interests of science, I tried to think of things my gun would appreciate.
"Just because I look at other guns doesn't mean I don't love you," I said.
No reaction from the gun, but it had to be listening.
"I dream of combating the forces of evil with you. It would be nice if these melons were the heads of Somali pirates. I wish that had been a nest of jihadis under the barn instead of raccoons because shooting them would have been more fulfilling."
I leaned in close and laid it on thick. "It's like you've always heard. You're an extension of my penis, only bigger and more reliable."
Then I picked up that gun and put a hollow point through the melon dead center. I'm not bragging about my aim—I had the foresight to make the melons the water variety. The melon exploded into juicy bits.
Then, so it would be a controlled experiment, I tried some gun abuse.
"You were a mistake," I said. "I meant to buy a Glock."
"That blued steel finish is all we could afford after buyin' enough ammo to keep you full," I added. I could feel the rage building inside of me. Once I figured I was getting to the gun, I couldn't stop.
"Cry all you want. You really think anybody can hear you, locked up in my nightstand drawer?"
"You're adopted. Your real dad's in prison."
"You want to go to a gun show? Get a job first."
"You're just like your momma. Anybody can put their hands on you."
After chastising the piece, I fired at the second watermelon. It disappeared just as thoroughly as the first.
The conclusion? No matter what you say to a gun, if you pick it up and shoot it afterwards it will work fine. Whether you're doing something sober and responsible with it, like locking it up, or even if you just want to let fly with a couple double-action blasts in the air because it's New Years Eve or sharpshoot your initials into your neighbor's aluminum siding, the gun will work just as well whether it's been appreciated or abused.
It's a stupid holiday. You might as well have Microsoft Appreciation Day.