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Monday, August 20, 2012

BUYING DYNAMITE




           One of my favorite memories is when I bought dynamite.  I was 18 years old.  The year was 1975 and Gerald Ford was our president.  The initial credit, or blame, depending on your point of view, goes to the other half of our writing team: Berk.  Berk was in law school at the time and lived upstairs from me.  We were both attending BYU.  Since you can’t get drunk, do drugs, or have riots, (you know, all those things that were popular at that time at secular schools) we had to find another way to entertain ourselves.
            Two of my roommates, Stan and Darwin Rosenlof, (also brothers), and I were talking to Berk when he told us how he drove to Salt Lake City a few years earlier and bought dynamite.  It sounded like a great idea, (still does), and so we decided to go to Salt Lake and buy our own dynamite.  What 18 year old kid in college does not want dynamite?  I honestly cannot imagine any scenario at that age in which I wouldn’t want to have, own and possess dynamite.  I could not see that there was any possible down side.  

            Stan, Darwin (no names have been changed because no one is innocent) and I drove to Salt Lake looking for this Emerald City of a store where we could buy dynamite.  (Did I mention we were going to buy dynamite!)  We had a very difficult time finding the place, we drove by it several times without seeing it.  It was located in an industrial location under the I15 freeway.  We didn’t see it because it didn’t look like a store.  It was just a door with a name on it that might have led into any office.
            There were no windows or displays of any kind.  I’m not sure what I expected; maybe “The Dynamite Warehouse” or “Big Booms Are Us”.  But it was just an average looking office with three or four desks located in it.  It felt weird as we walked in, like we were just walking into someone’s private office.  Everyone in the office stopped what they were doing to stare at us.  After a few awkward seconds I asked, “Uh, do you sell dynamite?”  

            What these people in this office must have been thinking is anyone’s guess.  Three young college age kids come in and ask for dynamite.  Whatever they thought, their answer was: “Sure, what kind do you want?”
            Who knew?  There are different kinds of dynamite.  We didn’t know what to say because we didn’t want to appear to be the total ignoramuses that we were.  We could have guessed and said something like, “We’ll have type B”, but that would have given us away.  So instead we asked, “What kinds do you got?”  (Like that didn’t give us away).
            Turns out dynamite is graded by percentage.  There is 50%, 60%, 75%, etc.  I said, “75%” while Stan said, “80%”.  Then we switched with me asking for 80% while Stan asked for 75%.  We eventually settled on 80%, I think.
            Then they asked, “What size do you want?”  

            Who knew?  There are different sizes of dynamite.  So, we went through the same dance on sizes until eventually settling on foot long sticks, you know, like a good Coney Dog.
            And then we had to fill out paper work.  Paper work?  We had to put down name and address, submitted with ID, (we used Stan’s name because he was the oldest) and we had to mark one of several boxes stating the purpose we were buying it for.  The purpose?  By now that should have been obvious.  But there was no box to mark that even came close.
            There should have been one that said: “Goofing Off”, or even better: “Post-Adolescent Male Bonding”.  But there wasn’t, so we selected “Mining” which was no less inaccurate than the other choices, (which I don’t remember).

             And then, believe it or not, they sold us the dynamite.  Here comes the best part.  They sold us twenty sticks of real, honest to goodness, blow yourself up, dynamite for $20.00.  Yep, it cost us a dollar a stick; for REAL DYNAMITE!  Without a doubt that is the best value, dollar for dollar, for anything I have ever purchased in my entire life.  EVER!  Authentic blow-the-snot-out-of-anything-you-want explosive dynamite for just a dollar a stick.  Why don’t they sell this at the 99 cent store?  And why, I ask myself now, didn’t we buy more?  A whole lot more?
            But we didn’t.  We did take those twenty sticks, and seven of us crammed into a little Toyota and drove out the next day to the far side of Utah Lake, (no homes there then) and (you know what’s coming) we had an absolute (I can’t help myself) BLAST!

                                       


8 comments:

  1. I wonder what Berk did with his dynamite?

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  2. I think Berk will be writing about that soon.

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  3. Hilarious. I wonder if that store still exists and sells dynamite?

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  4. I doubt it would be so easy to buy today, and certainly not as cheap.

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  5. It was always interesting to me growing up to see my mild mannered lawyer father (Berk) and hear his stories about climbing into mines to find dynamite, and the things he blew up. I think he took my mom on a dynamite date one time (the puns run in the family).

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  6. Can't think from whom you learned punny jokes! But you do it well. This is Berk.

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  7. Not until after 911 anyone could do the same but the BATF got there explosive laws though and all of this fun is over. Back in the 80's we used to use 80% for exploding targets along with a 5 gallon jug of gas. We blew up cars too it would taco them in the middle we sure had alot of fun those days. Now it's so much hassle not worth the trouble.

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  8. Not until after 911 anyone could do the same but the BATF got there explosive laws though and all of this fun is over. Back in the 80's we used to use 80% for exploding targets along with a 5 gallon jug of gas. We blew up cars too it would taco them in the middle we sure had alot of fun those days. Now it's so much hassle not worth the trouble.

    ReplyDelete