So, Dennis posted about how he almost almost almost bought some night vision goggles on Woot recently, but was talked out of it via instant messenger by his brother. It caused me to write the following story as a comment on his post. However, in thinking about it, perhaps it deserves to be a blog post on its own:
When I was in high school, I read an article in Time Magazine about how, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, old Soviet army equipment could be picked up on the cheap on the streets of Moscow. Specifically listed: $80 for night vision goggles. I went nuts. I wanted such a pair *badly*.
Then, man oh man, one of by high school buddies, Rob Madden, was taking a trip to Russia for winter break. Turned out that his cousin was NBC bureau chief in Moscow or something. I showed him the article, and begged him to get me a pair of NVGs for $80.
So he’s off in Russia, and these are the days before email, so I have no contact from him — though I do hear his voice on NBC once doing a “voice over” translation of what some Russian pol was saying.
Then, 2 days before he’s set to come home, he gives me a call from the NBC offices, and I ask:
“Did you get the night vision goggles for $80?”
“Well, they’re tougher to get these days, and I’ve been told that they don’t really encourage civilians — esp. Americans — to ask for old military equipment, BUT, I did find a guy selling some. But he didn’t have night vision GOGGLES. Only a night vision SCOPE. And it was $120 instead of $80. So I got it for myself, but thought you wouldn’t want that.”
“WHAT?!?? Of course I want that. $120 is fine! Please, please, please buy me one!”
“Oh, sorry… I don’t think I’m going back to where that guy was…”
And so, Rob came back from Moscow with a SWEET night vision scope, and I had nothing. In fact, I only got to try out his night vision scope once.
Man. It’s a good thing you didn’t IM ME about the NVGs. I would have totally gotten them.