Today began like any other day.
I woke up, let the dogs out, grabbed some coffee, fed the piranhas in the moat, checked my email. With that morning ritual out of the way, it was time to begin what I've come to think of as my "news rounds": I check the industry trades for interesting stories, and when it turns out that nothing's happened yet at 9AM on a Monday, I start patrolling the sites I read just for fun...which is what brought me to this post over at Gizmodo.
"Elon Musk Would Like To Sell You A Flamethrower" read the headline, and I was immediately hooked. A flamethrower? You can just sell those to people? It's probably some janky flamethrower, I thought. Probably not a cool-looking one, like you'd want.
OK, so I was wrong about Elon Musk's flamethrower not looking cool. The above is more or less exactly how I'd want my own flamethrower to look: snub-nosed barrel, a sensibly-sized tank affixed to the top of the thing, a hefty stock to keep the flamethrower locked in place while I go about my various flamethrower-related chores. You think "flamethrower" and you imagine something kind of rickety and dangerous-looking, a tool that might explode in your arms at any time. Elon Musk's flamethrower looks sturdy and sleek and clean and intuitive. It's like Apple designed it.
So, on an aesthetic level, very pleasing. But this goes deeper than that: some of my favorite movies involve flamethrowers. Ripley rocks one in Alien (I mean, so does Dallas, but perhaps less effectively). The mighty RJ MacReady uses one in The Thing. A flamethrower is used to fend off Lord Humungus' posse in Mad Max: The Road Warrior. Flamethrowers, in short, have long been a part of my cinematic diet, and I associate their use with some of film's greatest heroes. Setting aside the innumberable advantages that would come with having a flamethrower in one's home: what if I decided to get into cosplay? A flamethrower would be the best possible accessory.
I immediately emailed my wife, telling her we were going to buy a flamethrower.
My wife was not receptive to the flamethrower idea, perhaps because she has learned - over the years she has spent preventing me from inadvertently killing myself via poor life choices - that I cannot be trusted with almost any piece of machinery, much less one that emits a foot-long jet of open flame. My wife is a smart woman and her instincts are generally reliable. In this matter, I will have to respectfully disagree: our lives could only be made better with an on-site flamethrower.
Consider, for instance, a house party. It's cool outside, and the revelers have decided they would like to roast marshmallows. With no fireplace on-hand and the gas grill having been destroyed in an unfortunate incident involving keg placement, there'd be no way to satisfy my partygoers. Unless, of course, I owned Elon Musk's $500 flamethrower. "Toasted marshmallows?" I'd ask, very nonchalantly. "Why, that's a lovely idea. Please adjourn to the backyard. I will meet you there presently, at which time I will show you something exceptionally badass." Then I'd stroll out onto the patio with my gigantic, in-no-way-dangerous flamethrower and keep the party going. How could my wife not want that for our family? It's borderline selfish.
None of this is to say that considerations should not be made. Like a gun or a very sharp kitchen knife or a large mason jar filled with nitroglycerin, a flamethrower needs to be handled with the utmost care. Oh, sure, we might take it out during the occasional gathering of friends, but for the most part my flamethrower would spend its days safely secured in my home office (probably on the floor over in the corner). It would not be treated as a toy. I would, of course, need to use it for a variety of work-related reasons (an expose testing the limits of Texas' open-carry laws, for instance, or an investigative series wherein I determine the temperature at which DVD copies of Boondock Saints will melt), but even then I would be handling the flamethrower with respect, and almost always while sober.
It is true that $500 (plus shipping, handling and what I assume will be frequent charges for propane refills) is a considerable chunk of change, but is it a considerable chunk of change when put up against the very real benefits listed above - the awe-inspiring costume opportunities, the acceptance of my peers, the various scientific discoveries that might only be made by owning and operating one's own flamethrower? I submit to you that it is not. Perhaps my dream of owning a flamethrower is unusual (relative to the hopes and dreams of most people), but it is not ridiculous. All I'm asking is to be taken seriously.
Thank you for your time.
UPDATE: My good friend and BMD associate, Phil Nobile, Jr., has gone the extra mile and set up a GoFundMe to help make my dream come true. Do with that information what you will.
UPDATE #2: GoFundMe has shut the campaign down, presumably because they are a-scared of everything I could accomplish with a flamethrower. The American Dream is truly dead.