I've got a little list.
It's a list of the places I go most often.
I live in a town of 88,000 in southeastern Massachusetts. I go to the same places all the time, and because I'm not what anyone ever called "sophisticated," they're mostly small, unfashionable places.
Work, which is a small radio station. Five different diners because I like breakfast out. Two bars. One corner store. A cigar store. A Chinese takeout place. A pharmacy.
Pretty damn safe, no? Who's gonna shoot up a corner store that sells Popsicles, lottery tickets, ethnic groceries and a brand of incense called "Midnight Love"?
These people with their fancy concerts, bar districts and Walmarts; they're begging to get shot. Not me. I'm in those joints where the owner is behind the counter, there's no parking lot and people buy off-brand beer in 20-ounce cans. I may get shot in a robbery, but a mass shooting is a long-odds bet.
This is good. This is smart. I creep through life like a snail on a leaf, eating, drinking and shopping cheaply, and it's finally starting to pay.
Trouble is, my wife goes to Walmart, and Target. She goes with my mother-in-law, and they buy paper towels and $7 blouses and ice cream for me. I've been encouraging her to buy more from Amazon.
So, on Saturday, after I eat breakfast in a 10-stool diner, I go home and sit on the couch, wondering how my wife and mother-in-law are doing.
If only my wife would settle for a little less wildness in her life.
Hell, she even goes to those big home goods stores.
And is that what'll happen? Is she going to get her head turned into chili-with-onions by rifle fire just as she holds a bottle of nail polish up to the light in Walmart, trying to see if its subtle pink is a shade that flatters her pale skin. Maybe a burst of bullets will tear into her lungs as she looks into the ice cream freezer and says, "Oh good! They have the kind he likes." Blood and dulce de leche ice cream on the floor of a big-box store.
And she could buy a gun, though she's never shot one in her life. So could I, and I shot well enough to hunt when I was a young man.
But she'd just get tired of the extra weight in her purse, and she'd start leaving it at home. She's like that. At parties, she always runs into the center of the room. She doesn't skulk along the wall like I do. Foolish woman. She'll die for that.
Not me. I become more rat-like every year, slipping in and out of the small places, not seeing good bands in concert, clear of crowds.
And despite the ability to aim and fire a gun, I saw enough disaster as a reporter to know the world doesn't freeze frame while you reload. You don't go flying through the air, holding the gun sideways. And the "shooters stance" they taught you down at Billy's Gun Range works best when you're shooting at paper targets. Some people are heroes. Yes. Most of us aren't. I'm "most of us."
This is my country, and my piece of it is half-a-couch I can sit on while I wait for my wife to make it home from the store.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book is a collection of his columns. It is called "Land of Trumpin'" and is filled with the joy of being alive. It is available in paperback from Amazon.com, and for Nook, Kindle, iBooks and GooglePlay.