When I was a kid I LOVED caps.
Let me start off by explaining something to all of you that don’t live in Canada. Here in the great white north firecrackers are illegal. You can get fireworks, sparklers, snakes and maybe smoke bombs. But you can usually only get them around Victoria Day and Canada day. As a kid those days were like Christmas to me. A friend and I were so obsessed with firework days that we couldn’t wait. We’d grab plastic shopping bags, fill them with anything small and colorful and then go out in the yard and throw what we gathered up in the air one at a time and pretend they were fireworks. That’s the childhood equivalent of a crackhead lying on the ground, endlessly picking up gravel thinking it’s crack rocks.
I’ve seen it and it’s sad. Even after firework day was over I’d comb the neighborhood, picking up spent fireworks and putting them in my wagon. Then I’d take them under my deck and line them all up and look at them, smell them, maybe break them in half and see what’s inside.
God that suddenly sounds so creepy!
But come summer that was it. No more fireworks. Here I am with nearly 2 months of warm unsupervised days with nothing to do and not a Roman Candel, Fluer De Lis or Bakers Dozen in sight. Thanks god for caps! When buying caps there were two basic varieties to choose from; paper or plastic. And from there you had two more choices. Let me break it down for you.
Here’s a pack of you basic 8 shot plastic caps.
These are the ones that were designed to go in the classic cowboy cap guns. You know the ones that came with those brown plastic holsters and if you were lucky, some silver plastic bullets and a sheriff’s badge?
I never wore the sheriff’s badge because I could never figure out how to put the fucking thing on. There was no pin, just that weird plastic hook/slot thing. I guess they didn’t use a pin because they were worried some baby Einstein would stick it in his eye or something. They did realize that the guns it came with were ment to detonate small explosives didn’t they? Yeah and a pin is dangerous. I’ll tell you what. That hard plastic holster hurt more kids than caps and pins combined. Those mold lines were like razor blades. How many of you out there are nodding and holding your hip as you read this? But I digress. We’re here to talk about caps. And putting them in the gun was just the beginning. If you were low on caps you could break the rings into individual caps but it you had a good supply, the best thing to do with 8 ring caps was to put them on the floor of the garage, line it up just right and hit the whole god damn thing with a hammer…
Then you’ve got your plastic strip caps.
These were designed to go into your higher end cap guns. Your Lugers, your Walter PPKs, your Colt 45s.
James Bond kind of stuff.
Now you could break these caps off into singles and hit them with a hammer too but it was best to use them with a gun. Because the guns that used these caps would cut off and eject the spent cap out the side like a real shell casing. Kids, if your parents weren’t so uptight and lame and let you play with cap guns today, you could draw little chalk outlines around the spent caps and pick them up with a pen and shit just like on lame mommy and daddy’s favorite shit show CSI.
Get this spent cap to the lab. If it matches the one’s they sell at Becker’s call the Chief and tell them I think we’ve found our puppy killer. And then play my Who tape.
The rolled caps were the best. They may not have had the same je nous se qua as their plastic brothers but what they lacked in style they made up for in price and sheer quantity. For 25 cents I could get a box containing 5 rolls of 50 caps each. That’s 250 caps! Ans not only could these caps be loaded in cap guns, they could be hit with a hammer or scratched with a nail. Hell, in desperate times you could even set them off with your finger nail.
Sure if you did too many at recess you might get those burnt black fingernails but having your fingers smell like caps for the rest of the day was a worthwhile distraction.
They also made great dress material to outfit the teacher doll that went in your Burning Schoolhouse on firework nights.
Hint: You’ve got to cut one of the windows out and slide her halfway in with her arms sticking out and a pack of matches makes great hair.
The only thing that sucked about paper caps was when you’d come out of the creek or your mom would put your rugby pants through the wash and there was a roll in your pocket. Ruined! A whole roll ruined.!If you were naive you might have tried to roll them out and dry them but deep down you knew they’d never work again. Oh wait, there’s one more thing that sucked about paper caps, the other kind.
Those stupid round one shot paper caps! What was up with those? You could put them in some cap guns but you had to reload after each shot. Sometimes it was fun stacking them to make a bigger bang but really that was just a waste of caps. The only thing they were good for was putting in cap bombs.
Remember these things?! They were awesome. You put a cap in them, threw them up in the air and they came down and…
They also took both plastic and paper caps. Cap bombs were a true engineering marvel of simplicity and versatility. The only pocket sized caps accessory that came close to matching cap bombs was those little cap gun key chains.
Yes! These school yard derringers could be preloaded with a single cap and stuffed in a sweatshirt pocket until the moment was right then…
Right in some dumb jerk kid’s ear!
Yeeeep. It’s cap gun ear. Let me ask you something Mrs. Williams. Has your son been a jerk lately?
But perhaps the best caps accessory of all was the line of Robocop action figures that took caps.
Your move creeps!
Sigh… I love caps.