Watch where you point that thing

In an attempted robbery using his fingers as a gun, a man unravels the laws of the sex shop universe.

Chris Colin
July 17, 2001 11:02PM (UTC)

A young man allegedly walked into a Eugene, Ore., sex shop last week, approached the cashier and made his thumb and forefinger into a gun. Patrick Michael Halberg, 18, pointed his finger gun menacingly and demanded the contents of the cash register, according to the news service The cashier laughed and called the police, who arrested the suspect shortly thereafter.

There's something verging on noteworthy in this story. If the allegations are accurate, Halberg substituted flesh for a man-made object, and did so in a place that performs this substitution in precise reverse. He demanded money using skin, from a store that generally accepts money in exchange for a skin alternative.


And when the cashier, a woman, laughed at Halberg's finger, she was laughing at the sheer impotency of it. The finger would not fire, no matter how much he shook it.

Implied violence aside, the alleged robbery attempt betrays a touching ridiculousness, a nearly endearing revision of the laws of the Kiss 'N' Tell sex shop. With two fingers, a man disregarded the laws of metaphor, commerce, the sex aid industry and his own government.

It's dadaist without the reek of satire or affectation. It's brazen and stupid and stirring, like punk rock meant to be, like the dog eating the chicken pie right in front of everybody, like sex itself.

Chris Colin

Chris Colin is the author most recently of "Blindsight," published by the Atavist.

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