Saturday, July 9, 2022

In Search of the Silver Bullet

During the past few years I've heard the term, "silver bullet" used frequently. Growing up on a farm with two older brothers, knowledge of bullets was as common as knowing where the Corn Flakes were kept. Plinking at various targets moved into varmint control which progressed into pheasant hunting. Basic, small caliber (.22) rifles and standard (12 gauge) shotguns composed the arsenal. However, this rudimentary knowledge wasn't good enough to satisfy my inquiry about silver bullets.

They look silver!

The quest for clarity began at a farm/outdoor store which over the years has increased its hunting, guns, and ammunition section. After walking past glass display cases of revolvers and pistols, then secured weaponry from skeleton stocks to classic shotguns, I came to the ammunition. Signs were posted giving specific instructions not to open the boxes. With phone camera in hand I took a few pictures. Soon a worker for the area asked if I needed assistance.

I pointed to the boxes on the shelf and asked, "Are these the silver bullets?"

"What?" was the reply.

"I've heard so much about silver bullets. The box and image are silver. So, are these silver bullets?" I continued.

The clerk at first glared at me. Then his mouth and eyes shifted into a wily smirk. "You're looking for the silver bullet? We do not sell those here. I suggest you go to the liquor store."

It seemed odd, but I continued the quest and parked in the lot of a alcoholic beverage superstore. It was like most big box stores. I walked in and moved away from the constant flow of customers. I began to scan the perimeter of the building. Flashing signs, stacks of cardboard boxes filled with bottles, and large coolers built into the walls. It was so much different than the previous store. Finally I approached an employee who was arranging bottles.

Original ad
called it the 
"Silver Bullet" 

"I'm looking for the silver bullet. Can you assist me?" I asked rather sheepishly.

"I'm not sure. It sounds rather specific. Let me get Joe. He has worked here many years." I never saw that employee again. I was amused by the steady stream of customers. Most appeared to be on a specific mission leaving the store with boxes of beer and bags of ice. Finally an older man approached me. After making eye contact he motioned for me to follow him. 

As we walked he asked, "Cold or warm? Cans or bottles?" These seemed like nonsensical questions to me. I did not reply before the huge glass doors of a cooler full of beer was in front of me. On either side of me were pallets of 12 packs and 36 packs of beer. 

"This is what we have in Coors Light." he said. "I remember those ads from decades ago. I even remember the store getting a Coors Light train. We must be about the same age. I haven't heard it called the Silver Bullet for a long time." As I stood there trying to understand it all, he asked, "Is there anything else I can help you find?"  I shook my head, no.  As he walked away I heard him say, "The Silver Bullet. Great ad campaign."

Small portion of product

When all else fails or maybe it should have been my starting point, search the internet! A silver bullet is a fictional, magic method for killing werewolves. Also, the Lone Ranger used silver bullets as his trademark. His bullets symbolized the cost of pulling the trigger and the precious nature of human life. Finally, I believe my search centered on a silver bullet being, "a simple and seemingly magical solution to a difficult and complex problem."

From the pandemic to politics, inflation to immigration, we have come to expect effective, rapid, simple, and long-lasting solutions to complex issues.  Just like werewolves, silver bullets reside in the realm of fantasy.

Customers of life!
Solutions are an ever changing mixture created in the depths of daily living. Solutions aren't stagnant, one-size-fits-all explanations. Bullets and booze can become methods of coping with the challenges of daily living, but never solutions. Instead of seeking a silver bullet, I choose to move with the flow of life's customers, gaining insight from my interactions while finding serenity in a power greater than myself.  

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