Most people do not give slingshots much credit for anything these days, but frankly, they are the only reason most little boys know the letter Y.
Despite this, adults tend to disregard the slingshot as the educational tool it was meant to be. But, believe me, they are exactly that. A slingshot teaches kids and adults so many things. The most important of these is keeping your thumb out of the way.
Keeping your thumb out of the way is one of those critical life skills that is truly underappreciated until you learn how to use a hammer. Then, you’re happy you have it.
So, I’ll repeat this for those who have lived a sheltered life and have never shot a slingshot – when you shoot one, keep your thumb out of the way. To be clear, I’m referring to the thumb on your shooting hand. It needs to be tucked out of the line of fire when you draw the band and pouch back, and also when you release them. If you don’t, several things will immediately happen. And none of them are particularly good.
First, you will regret you ever owned a slingshot. Then, you will reveal your position to anyone within five kilometres. It will also quickly occur to you that you are never again going to be truly proficient at hitchhiking again. And, after the event, you will also never experience the joy that comes from giving someone two thumbs up. Plus, you will be horrible at texting. Worst of all, photos of you crying and sucking your thumb will probably go viral.
As in everything, there is also a positive side to all this too. For instance, there is no better way to create a new and exciting string of curse words – which has become something of a lost art since naval conscription ended. Also, after hitting your thumb just once, you will never take them for granted again.
The best thing, however, is that the outdoorsman possessing this tidbit of knowledge about slingshots can use it to great advantage and in life-threatening situations.
Here’s a fine example. Let’s say a bear visits your campsite in the middle of the night and you have a slingshot. What can you do with a mere slingshot against a marauding bear, you ask?
Well, if you keep your wits about you, plenty.
First, you pick up your slingshot and you load it with a ball bearing. Then you draw back. And here’s the important part. Just before you release, stick your thumb up in the line of fire.
Immediately after that, the bear will run off because they hate startling, loud noises and don’t like to be cursed at in new and creative ways either. Also, you will simultaneously alert a rescue party since anyone within five kilometres of your campsite will come over to tell you to shut up.
On the off chance the bear doesn’t leave, however, being mauled suddenly won’t feel so bad. So it’s a win-win.
I write about slingshots more frequently than most because I truly believe this primitive hunting tool has shaped our evolution. It’s just a theory but I happen to believe that, if not for the slingshot, we would have probably evolved with four or more opposable thumbs.
Turns out we just have two, which I think is better. Can I get a thumbs up?