Pepper Spray: A Back to School Essential!

There was an advertisement for a brand of pepper spray in a weekly newspaper in DC last week. The ad reads — “Why walk alone? Get XYZ Pepper Spray: for self defense, or for loved ones.” Not to be a grammar bitch but the sentence implies that this brand of pepper spray can be used to stop a mugger from attacking you or, you can use it on your loved ones if you wish. I’m not an expert in family dynamics but I have a feeling that giving your loved ones a blast of pepper spray in the face might compound the problems one is having with said loved ones.

“Totally disables attacker’s ability to see or breath…temporarily.” (I think this is a useful safety feature). The best feature about this brand of pepper spray? Its versatility. “For men, women, young, or old.” Good to know you can use on your teenage son as well as on your grandmother.

Furthermore, and I confess I had never thought of this, “Makes A Thoughtful Gift.” And, you know, I think it would, particularly if you have a friend or relative in the riot police.

Finally, this brand of pepper spray is a “BACK TO SCHOOL ESSENTIAL!” This is the line which originally caught my eye. When I was a lad, my mom would take me to Palmetto Office Supply on Russell Street in my hometown of Orangeburg, SC, to purchase my “back to school essentials.” Those included such things as a protractor, a set of #2 pencils, a few Bic pens, a notebook, covers for my schoolbooks, a pencil sharpener and, for self defense, or geometry, a compass.

This wasn’t the kind of compass Columbus used. This was the compass that one drew circles with. It had a pointed end that you either jabbed into the paper to keep it steady while you traced a geometric figure, or, you jabbed into someone’s ass if they cut in front of you in the lunch line. But pepper spray? No, that wasn’t a back to school essential in my youth in the 60s and early 70s and I’m sorry it is now.

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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