Maybe it provides some comfort to the 3,500 people just laid off at Tesla that their CEO has been engaged in a goofy flamethrower side project for the last four months. The first 1,000 of Elon Musk’s Boring Company handheld fire-shooting contraptions were distributed Saturday at Tesla Design Center in Hawthorne, CA. A total of 20,000 of these flamethrowers have been sold altogether, according to the product’s website.
First 1000 not-a-flamethrowers being picked up today! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/0MOi6tFkVm
— The Boring Company (@boringcompany) June 9, 2018
Musk claims on Twitter that regulations would not allow him to ship a product called a flamethrower, so he labeled it Not A Flamethrower. Others have labeled it a “cool toy for man-children with way too much disposable income.”
As we see in one lucky recipient’s Not A Flamethrower unboxing video above, these devices resemble Ghostbusters guns, but with a 14.1-ounce propane tank attached. Once the propane is connected and flowing, you just pull the trigger to blaze up.
Or not. “I did’t even hit the trigger!,” one of the video hosts exclaims, while her Not A Flamethrower is suddenly throwing a four-foot flame.
Terms & conditions for “Not-a-Flamethrower”
Please use as directed to avoid unintentionally burning things down. For simple & concise instructions, we drew upon wisdom in great Dr Seuss book “Green Eggs and Ham”. #ThrowFlamesResponsibly pic.twitter.com/kgj8W8EOLJ
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 9, 2018
Above we see the Terms and Conditions buyers must agree to for their Not A Flamethrower, which are glibly written in faux-Dr. Seuss limerick form.
“I will not point this at my spouse,” the Terms say. Ha ha, very funny! Just a reminder that there is a disturbing intersection between firearms and domestic violence.
I bought an expensive flamethrower and yet somehow my virginity remains intact?? Mr Musk please explain this to me
— Dan Sheehan (@ItsDanSheehan) June 11, 2018
The safety issues are no joke to California firefighters. “We’ve had three major fires in Orange County just in the last couple of weeks,” Orange County Fire Capt. Tony Bommarito tells KCAL. “We just didn’t get the rain again this year, so it’s already brown, the moisture’s very low, so anytime you have somebody or kids even playing with these flamethrowers, it’s going to be a recipe for disaster.”
These Not A Flamethrower flamethrowers are legal under California law, because they shoot flames of less than ten feet. Assemblyperson Miguel Santiago’s bill to require permits for flame devices with a range of less than ten feet appears to have stalled in the Appropriations Committee, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
— Brendan Finn (@Brf1998Finn) June 11, 2018
The Boring Company, one of Elon Musk’s ambitious projects that also include Tesla and SpaceX, truly does some important infrastructure work. The company was just awarded the contract for an underground public transit loop to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, to be built at no cost to taxpayers.
But flamethrowers don’t seem to have anything to do with underground infrastructure. And the $10 million in sales revenue they’ve generated is pretty small compared to the $113 million in investment the Boring Company has received in recent months. So flameshooting cannons are kind of an illogical addition to Elon Musk’s repertoire.
In the immortal words of Shrek, “Do you think maybe he’s compensating for something?”