It had been so long since I’d run into Mary Contrary I thought she’d moved. However, as I struggled to get my mask on outside the grocery store in a fearsome wind I heard a familiar voice. “Hey Sunshine, if you had any sense you would’ve put your mask on in the car.”

There in an adjoining parking space wearing a six-foot-wide neon pink hoop skirt and matching mask was Mary Contrary. She also was holding a sign that said, “Guns: Today’s Tupperware?”

“I’m in a hurry, Mary. In these times of COVID-19 there's no time for small talk.”

“Ouch,” Mary said. “That hurts, Sunshine. You know I only deal with important stuff." She smiled. “Like Tupperware.”

I must have glared at her, because she hurried on. “You know about the Fargo City Commission putting off a decision on gun sales out of homes—right? “

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“Yes, I read the paper, Mary.”


“Then you know gun rights activists consider home gun sales no more threatening than Tupperware.”

“And…,” I said, not hiding my impatience.

“And…,” she mimicked me and kept talking, “The question is, are neighborhood gun sales just like home-based party sales, no big honkin’ deal, or something more. I mean, you got making pin money on plastic containers that burp and you got wanting to make mucho more than pin money on AR-15s that don’t burp but can kill a host of folks in a New York minute. ”

“Oh, good grief, Mary, there’s no analogy to be made there. Guns are lethal weapons and Tupperware containers aren’t.“

“Well, they aren’t unless you leave some mayonnaisey salad in them out in the sun too long.” Mary shot me a toothy grin.

“Seriously, Mary, those wanting neighborhood gun sales argue guns are in homes already, particularly those of hunters like my husband. What’s the difference if people come and go from houses carrying guns for hunting or guns they purchased?”

“No offense, Sunshine, but by the looks of you lots of ice cream tubs come and go at your house. That doesn’t mean you can turn your kitchen window into a drive-thru. Or, because you’ve got a messy house you can hold continual junk sales in your living room. The community has values.”

“True. But what about the argument that apartments and houses aren’t far from retail places selling guns, like Walmart and Scheels?”

Mary shook her head. “Even you should see how bogus that one is. Just ask somebody in one of those apartment buildings if there’s any difference between Walmart selling guns or the guy three doors down the hall selling them.”

“Anyway, Sunshine, this isn’t about convenience for gun shoppers it’s plain old power-pushing by the gun lobby. Guns here, there and everywhere.“

“Well, I need groceries. By the way, that's quite an outfit, Mary."

"Yeah, the skirt keeps people at the right distance. Heck, if you had one, you could hide a lot of ice cream eating.”

“Good-bye, Mary.”