Pistol LighterSpent some time recently with an ex-cop. Great guy, smart, expansive. He brought along some fine cigars to the gathering, for those who appreciated such things. Not I, thanks {cough}. Not to worry, he confided, once I’d confirmed my disinterest… He’d brought along a couple of “throw-downs,” in case any non-cigar-lovers wanted to play (puff) along.

Of course, I had to ask…

It’s a (historical) police term. For a Very Bad Thing, as it happens.

I guess shooting somebody can turn into a real headache, for a cop. Especially once you figure out that the guy was unarmed… [Jon Stewart voice] Awk-ward…! [/Jon Stewart voice] Well, that’s where the throw-down would come in. A throw-down is a cheap handgun, clean, untraceable, kept handy for just such occasions. Blow away an unarmed assailant? Voila! He is (was) an armed assailant! You did what you had to do. Move along.

Of course, today � with all the sophisticated chemical analysis used in such cases � such hamfisted subterfuge no longer holds. But I can’t help but love the simple, blunt utility of the phrase… Something to toss into the mix, just to keep things going smoothly. Like, say, if I were to leave in certain “problems,” on a design job… For a client to “fix” (i.e., piss on, leave a mark). They focus on the throw-down (misspelled word, wrong color, whatever), and leave the important stuff alone! Not that I would ever, {cough} ever do such a thing.