Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash Vol XXI: Shooting dangerous game, fighting Jim Treacher, and why you should ignore advice columnists

Matt Labash Columnist
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The .338 Lapua Mag: enough stopping power? – Jim Vinoski

Ahhhhh, my first guns question. Full disclosure: I only have passing munitions knowledge. But the .338 Lapua Magnum is a specialized rimless bottlenecked centerfire cartridge developed for military long-range sniper rifles. It is a dual-purpose anti-personnel and anti-material round, however, its anti-material potential is limited, due to the bullet’s lower kinetic energy compared with that of the .50 BMG’s 35.64 to 55.08 gram (550 to 850 grain) projectiles. The loaded cartridge is 14.93 mm in diameter (rim) and 93.5 mm long. It can penetrate better-than-standard military body armor at ranges of up to 1,000 meters and has a maximum effective range of about 1,750 meters.

And you know what else? I have no idea what I just said. The only thing I know about guns is that I shouldn’t re-use spent BB’s in my kids’ Red Ryder air rifle, though I do anyway, because it’s important to teach them the lessons of frugality. (Also, if they lose an eye from my carelessness, they’ll save money on contact lenses down the road.)  I therefore copied the above paragraph word-for-word off the internet, but have now eaten up nearly 200 words, and have just 800 more to go before collecting the paycheck that will then go where all my paychecks go – straight up my nose (thanks Wikipedia!) The point is, despite my complete lack of expertise on the subject, I had the guts to tackle the question anyway. Would Ann Landers do that, faithful reader? Highly doubtful. She’s been dead since 2002.

Personally, I don’t like solving differences with guns. I used to every now and then, back when I was a Latino gangbanger. It was our code – the code of the barrio. But that wasn’t for me – it was for my esses. I learned pretty quickly that guns are not the answer. Fists are. And mine are as lethal as enriched uranium, which I suspect is the reason why neither Osama bin Laden nor Mullah Omar have taken me up on my public offer to adjust their attitudes in the alley behind my office, and have instead, remained in hiding like cowardly dogs for the last nine years.

Anyway, my internet crib sheet says that in addition to people, the .338 Lapua Magnum can take down any game animal, though with some dangerous game, the jury is out. Meaning that, if you’re getting charged by something with an inordinately thick hide and a nasty disposition like a Cape buffalo, a white rhinoceros or Joy Behar, you might need heavier firepower.
Who wins in a fight, Jim Treacher or you? Richard Nixon

In sticking with the violence theme a bit longer, this is an interesting thought experiment. Treacher and I have an uneasy friendship/rivalry. Face-to-face, we are cordial, generous, even air-kissy – though not in a gay way. We’re just very European (We both shop out of the International Male catalog.)

Privately, we are engaged in an escalating war of attrition. I spend my days signing him up for North American Man/Boy Love Association and jihadi website memberships, in the hope that he’ll attract the attention of authorities. That way, I can take over his blog and replace Bum Knee Update Fridays with Bad Rash Thursdays (in which I show photos of the recurring poison ivy I contracted when sneaking around Treacher’s apartment building, planting discarded terrorism manuals and photos of naked Arab boys outside his window, hoping Homeland Security will notice his increasing infatuation with underage Islamic extremists). Treacher has cuckolded me with my wife, and is the suspected father of one of my children – the son who curiously makes lots of self-deprecating jokes about how he doesn’t get any tail, and who seems to have a preternatural obsession with Keith Olbermann.

We have never, however, tested each other physically. Except for the snot-rocket blowing contest we had at the Christmas party. (Treacher bested me there with a distance of 14.5 feet, since he had a lot of seasonal sinus drainage.) My guess is that if it came down to it, I’d take the early advantage, using my jujitsu training to whipsaw him and take his injured leg off right at the knee. The problem, of course, is that Treacher fights dirty, and would probably use one of the steel rods poking out from his severed limb to impale me. So he could easily win, unless he bled to death first. In other words, it’s anyone’s fight.

I do know this much, however: when it finally goes down with Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden in my office building alleyway (see last answer), I want Treacher on my team. During actual crunch time, we’ll put our differences aside. We’re Americans first, rivals second, International Male shoppers last. Unless there’s a summer clearance sale, then just reverse the order.
Matt, you’ve given us so much. Where do you go for advice? – Dr. Phil

I tried regular advice columns for a while, but quickly gave up on them. Have you ever read an advice columnist? They’re typically blowhard, show-offy, know-nothings who are paid to fill space even when they have zero to say (see my last 20 or so columns, for example). If your life has fallen into such disrepair that you’re seeking the counsel of one of these Masters of the Obvious whose only qualification to judge is that they’re judgmental, then you have much bigger problems than the one you’re writing the advice columnist about. In a perfect world, all advice columnists would be defrocked and driven into a line of employment where they had to do something useful for a living. Except for me. With all of my competitors gone, imagine my syndication potential.

No, when I’m in search of advice, there’s only one place I turn: to The Affirmation Ball. It’s a variation of the Magic 8-Ball, but one which eliminates all the uncertainty and negativity of the classic Magic 8-Ball by giving you only positive affirmations such as “people like you” and “your breath is so minty.” Life’s outcomes are not foreordained, but neither can they be much altered by advice columnists. Most of us are just struggling to get through, and will eventually find our own way, so long as we have a little positive reinforcement that people like us and that our breath is minty-fresh.

Matt Labash is a senior writer with the Weekly Standard magazine. His book, “Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys,” was published this spring by Simon and Schuster. Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.