Sunday, May 25, 2014

Gin traps and fools

I feel no shame of any kind in admitting that I love my dad dearly and I always will. He's a wonderful guy with a magnetic personality and one of the greatest senses of humor I've ever seen. I can't begin listing all the things he's done for me, my family and our friends. I just love him to pieces.

He can however, make mistakes from time to time. This brings me to one of the many of his escapades that are just too juicy to not report. About a year back he was in the office and overheard some of his coworkers speaking about gin traps and incorrectly believing that they were instruments of torture.

For those of you who don't know, gin traps or leg traps, most often incorrectly called bear traps, are metal traps used to grab and hold various furred animals most often in North America. Very old models from over a hundred years ago can be harmful to animal limbs, but that's from... well... traps made over a hundred years ago. Modern models aren't very bad at all and only keep a solid grip on whatever steps into them. They don't cut, break the skin, break bone or cause any lasting damage. In fact, some trappers even modify their traps so that they won't pinch too hard and many are sold with rubber lips around the edges so that there is very little pain inflicted while still keeping a solid grip.

Your average trap looks like this:

Fear me!
They do not look like this
I've seen some crappy scrap models made by poachers out in Africa and other places with rusty teeth, but those are rare and by no means widely used by your average trapper. Contrary to popular belief, trapping really isn't all that damaging or painful.

So my dad got a bit irked when he heard his coworkers agreeing with some of the propaganda that the anti-hunting and anti-trapping yuppies were spewing. Never mind that most animal rights groups don't help animals at all and mostly just scream and whine while ignoring any facts. Blah.

Anyway, my dad opined that traps and being caught in them are in fact not torture. They asked him to provide counter evidence and he promptly complied. Upon his return home I hear a knock at my door and my dad asks if he can borrow some of my gin traps. For the record, I own several different traps of different types, although I have not yet actually gone trapping. My territory isn't exactly prime territory for fur-bearing mammals and transport is limited. I hope to participate in trapping in the near future.

So, my dad asks for these and I kindly ask "Why the devil do you want them?" He informed me of his situation and explained how he wanted to prove first hand that gin traps were in fact not unbearably agonizing torture devices used only by sadists. So I get out my small traps meant for things like raccoons, rabbits and things like that.

Thus we began an evening of setting the traps while I watched my dear dad shove his hands into the traps to prove a point. It isn't pleasant having your hand caught, but it is certainly bearable. It's just a dull ache that you can lose track of if you get distracted but it leaves no lasting damage. It was only when my dad asked for my biggest one that I actually got worried. The largest one I purchased on an impulse, being meant for sodding mountain lions. This thing is a beast! It took our combined bodyweight to get the flat springs all the way down.

He wished to use this one on the logic that since most trapped animals face traps very large in comparison to their size, this one would be just dandy for him to try.
I must take a moment here to say that my dad has in fact been an amazing life story and helped foster my faith in that we do indeed have a loving, caring God watching over us. There isn't a whole lot of other reason to explain why he's lived so long. Gosh I love my dad!

Anywho, next day he trundles into work and starts showing all these traps off to his coworkers. I often find that people change their tune when they simply watch a video on the internet and then actually start messing with something with their own two hands. Turns out that when you actually see gin traps in person people have a heck of a lot of fun!

My dad then puts on a display of him pinching the crap out of himself with these various traps as his coworkers ooh and ahh at his show of manliness. Then things started going South. Y'see, my dad isn't the most responsible man in the world. We've mutually agreed that he is a 53 year old child who is almost as ADD as I am and doesn't think things through very often. So when he's the most mature and responsible person in the room... You have problems...

It wasn't just limited to the people inserting their own hands into the traps for fun. They started setting the things up and hiding them across the office space. In one case they hid one of the smaller gin traps behind one fellow's keyboard and put a Fruit Rollup on the trigger pan. This gent apparently had quite a penchant for Fruit Rollups, cuz he walked right into the thing. Snap! I think he was okay with it though.

Some idiot stuck his arm into a sodding trap sideways! Okay, for you folks in the peanut gallery who haven't had a lot of experience in getting your appendages pinched and caught in stuff, if you're gonna get caught, make sure it's on a good sized chunk of skin. You see, when you only have a tiny piece of skin and no bone structure pinched between something hard, all the force is being exerted on something that is in no way meant to resist pressures. This results in mega ouchness and pain. True, it also sucks when your skin is pinched between metal and then ground against bone, but wow does it suck when it's just a tiny flap of skin!

Needless to say for those who know what I'm talking about, this didn't work out as well as this guy had planned. My dad then realized that things were getting out of hand when they started hiding the darned things underneath peoples' desks where their feet went! And given the temperatures people deal with in our territory, I'm willing to bet a few were wearing sandals! So my dad's parental instincts kicked in and promptly confiscated the new toys before anyone in management came down and wondered why half of the staff had bruises on their hands, arms and feet. I've noticed that they tend to frown on such activities that result in the employees getting hurt.

Alas, my dad's point was made, fun was had, and everyone walked away with fresh knowledge and a new perspective on life. Win win situation!

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