Anti-Littering Joel and Parsimonious Joel have bad days…

Still feeling pretty good. My shoulder isn’t even mildly sore to the touch and I had no relapses yesterday, so it looks as though the Angel of Moderna passed me over. This time.

That, coupled with the knowledge that our unseasonable window of pleasant weather is likely coming to a whoa, had me out early for an extended off-road walkie this morning. When I actually plan to do that, or when I’m bringing something small and portable to the chickenhouse, I bring along a very handy shoulder bag.


Call it a hermit purse if you must. Unfortunately prior planning of my morning’s jaunt isn’t really one of my strong points when I’m only half coffied-up, and this morning the bag remained snug and warm on its hook beside the woodstove.

One reason I like to carry it in the boonies is that I really hate leaving trash behind. And there’s a surprising amount of wind-blown trash in the desert. Not “suburbs of Tucson” levels, but more than you’d think.

So I’m trudging along on a vague diagonal between two intersecting roads on a trajectory that will eventually bring me to a fence that will tell me exactly where I am, not really caring exactly where I am at the moment as long as I don’t wander too close to the wash where the gullies are uncomfortably deep, which would force me to backtrack. And I top a little rise, and off in the middle distance I see a glint that says soda can. I adjust my course toward it, and upon reaching it I spear it with my walking stick…


…and only then do I realize that having picked it up, I’m stuck with it and have no good way to carry it. In summer I’d crush it and put it in a cargo pocket but my winter jeans don’t have those. I really miss cargo pockets. So I end up finishing my walkie with a soda can ridiculously impaled on my cattle spear.

I’m not a complete luddite: One thing I like to do on walkies is listen to podcasts on my phone, pushed into my ear through a cheap bluetooth earpiece. I don’t like earbuds for the obvious reasons that the cord tangles on everything and I really need to be able to hear what’s going on around me. Yesterday the podcasts let me down halfway through my walkie and I ended up listening to the audio part of a YouTube video from 9-Hole Reviews on the Beretta Model 71, which is a .22 pistol that the Israeli – well, they were mostly just assassins – liked to use in the ’70’s to end the careers of people who really murderously didn’t like Israelis. And that got me to thinking I should drag out my own .22 pistol that morning. My supply of .44 ammo may be severely finite but I’m actually in pretty good shape for .22 and there was no reason not to go back into the desert after second coffee and burn through some with my Ruger on targets of opportunity.

When it came time to do that I topped off the magazines and was about to drop the rest of my current brick in my shoulder bag when Parsimonious Joel popped up and said, “Not so fast. Do you want a .22 shortage? Because this is how you get a .22 shortage.”

(Insert eye-rolling emoji here) Yeah – but that’s also how you get someone who can quickly hit what he’s shooting at. And I like being able to do that. Sheesh.

Parsimonious and Tactical Joels were about to have a serious row when Scrounger King Joel interceded. “Hey – remember that emergency stash that’s been in the powershed since the last big ammo drought?”


That’s all that was left of it yesterday morning, and you would not believe what these poor little cartridges have been through. Back in 2007 when I still worked at the saw shop I pulled the moldering remnants of a nearly-whole brick out of a pool of brackish water in the bed of a customer’s ATV. He didn’t want it, I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away, and I actually broke apart nearly 400 corroded and stuck-together cartridges, cleaned off what I could and threw the rest away. To my surprise they worked, so I squirreled them away and forgot about them. That big drought that started in 2013 and went on for years caught me with my pants down, and even after running out of my supply of ‘real’ ammo that little tub of soaked and corroded ammo kept me lethal to pests till the drought lifted – though of course there wasn’t much practicing during that dark time.

I learned my lesson to the best of my broke-ass ability, and now even after nearly a year of the current drought I’m sitting pretty on five or six bricks of .22lr. Which Parsimonious Joel is determined I shall not use up on frivolities like necessary frickin’ practice. But he didn’t object strongly to my burning through the old soaked stuff. Which to my amazed pleasure all still fired.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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4 Responses to Anti-Littering Joel and Parsimonious Joel have bad days…

  1. Mike says:

    One thing about using old .22LR that has been mistreated, be careful of squibs where the primer in the rim goes off but the main powder charge fails to ignite. This can cause the bullet to go a little way into the barrel the stop with the follow-up shot screwing things up.

  2. Beans says:

    I have accidentally washed and dried .40SW rounds that fired perfectly well. Modern ammo, and even a lot of non-modern ammo, is an engineering marvel.

  3. Paul B says:

    Second the warning. anything sounds off stop and verify. Ruger will handle a lot of abuse but that is one I would not like to try.

    But 22 ammo lasts a looooong time.

  4. Stefan says:

    You should get an air pistol, or an electric airsoft pistol, for the marksmanship practice. And for the ultimate in never-run-out-of-ammo, make a sling like the one David used to cancel Goliath.

To the stake with the heretic!