Friday night had a date with the wife. The roads were clogged going downtown Philly. As we sat in traffic my cell phone started singing.
It was the NRA! Upbeat Lori had broken through the defense of my number being on the Do Not Call list with an urgent message from Wayne LaPierre! Would I listen?
My wife gave me the Hang-up-you-idiot look. I mouthed, "We're stuck in traffic." and said, "OK Lori".
"Great", Perky Lori responded, "and we'll have a few questions for you after President LaPierre's message."
"OK - Great", channeling my inner Tom Hanks. Little did Lori know she called the wrong guy...
LaPierre's message was the same old they-are-coming-for-all-our-guns speech that Wayne has perfected over the last few months via repeated TV cameos. It was a little more over-the-top, probably tailored for the captive audience crowd.
Perky Lori got back on the phone, "Thanks for listening. You agree with Wayne LaPierre's message?"
"Actually Lori, I am a little worried about Mr LaPierre's message. He seems to be marginalizing the NRA."
"We have 4 million members."
"But, that means the other 306 million Americans are starting to look at the NRA as a bunch of paranoid loons with guns. Frankly, you are scaring the rest us. "
"Just look at the Op-Ed piece Mr. LaPierre wrote this week. It seemed like we were living in an evil and fearful place."
"Wayne LaPierre and the NRA may be doing more damage to the 2nd Amendment than all of your perceived enemies."
"The NRA, by isolating itself, is giving the rest of us reason to pause and think you guys are paranoid people with guns. My neighbors have guns. I trust them as responsible gun owners. I have a firing range down the street from me where they are also great neighbors. But the NRA is making them look bad."
Curious Lori then said, "You know, I didn't hear Wayne LaPierre's message. Hang on a minute."
My wife starts laughing.
When Firm Lori returned the tack had changed. She started talking about how evil Obama and the Democrats were overstepping the boundaries with the State of the Union speech and other legislation like background checks and clip sizes.
"Lori, we are driving right now, you would not want blind people driving, right? All our bodies deteriorate over time, so should there be the some physical restrictions on guns? If you cannot see - you cannot be licensed to drive. What good is a gun in the hands of a blind person? "
"And what about someone with Parkinsons, if someone cannot hold a pencil steady -do we want them with a gun in their hands?"
"With respect to magazine sizes - to protect yourself in your house from an intruder with more than 8 rounds means you weren't properly trained to have a gun in the first place.
"Plus, if you are responsible gun owner - you would have them in a gun-safe. Do you think your friendly neighborhood intruder is going to wait for you to unlock the safe so you can blow him away?"
Flustered Lori spoke, "Someone else needs to hear this. Can I put you on hold for a supervisor?"
"Sure". At this point my wife is wondering what is going to happen next. She is impressed that no one is screaming or hanging up. Traffic really isn't moving - so it is at least entertaining.
About 2 minutes later Determined Lori returns to the phone. "You can go check out our web site at www.nra.org."
"Lori, I already have. I saw the one page where the NRA created an enemies list of the NRA. Right at the top of the list was the AARP. Seriously, the AARP! You guys don't like old people? "
"Then I looked further down the list and saw all sorts of clerics, from Catholics to Protestants to Jewish to I think I saw some Muslim groups on there too. So the NRA doesn't like people associated with God?"
"More groups like police groups and even other Gun Advocacy groups are on there."
"If you hate everyone, and are suspicious of everyone, isn't that paranoia?"
"If we are going to look at Mental Health as criteria for gun ownership, the NRA is making the case that we have to remove the NRA's weapons first."
Frazzled Lori came back with, "My supervisor says I have spent too much time with you on the phone."
"But you called me."
"Can I offer you a subscription to... ", she starts naming a bunch of things to send.
"Are they free?"
"Yes, can I have your email?"
"Sure." I proceeded to tell her my email which she could not figure out how to enter into the system.
"Do you want to Join the NRA?"
"I have been telling you for this entire call they are lunatics. You asked me to listen to Wayne LaPierre. Out of politeness I did. He did nothing but reinforce his crafted image of being crazy. Tell me why I would want to join you?"
We parted ways after about 17 minutes of air time.
I gotta check my Do Not Call List Status.
The wife and I had great fodder for dinner conversation.