May 17, 2011
Gun Shy, ME Newsletter, Vol. 4, Issue 20
Sometimes it’s just nice to know you still got it. Take last Saturday for example. Can’t remember the last time I sighted a shot. Maybe 1974, or possibly 1975. But the gun felt good in my hands, familiar on my shoulder, and it seemed like it was just yesterday. 10 Yards to the tin can - pegged it on the first shot. “That’s good for me. I’m done!” I announced handing the rifle off to my brother. The boys went back to shooting off, aiming for the day’s record. Best of rounds target was a 4” diameter pole 15 yards out. A few rotations and 4 sets of hands later, I found my old Daisy BB Gun in my hands again. It took me 5 tries before the ping-tone announced that I nicked it, and then I called it quits again. It’s true; it was the gun I won a competition with, but the story, like most everything in my life holds a hidden twist.
I have a newsprint picture of my father coaching me at a shooting match. It wasn’t easy to get me into that contest. Brookfield Gun Club wasn’t keen on letting a girl in. But, my Dad stood up for me and there I was at my first meet. Nervous, I failed to hit the target at least half the time. When the first round elimination came up, I got the boot. As we walked away from the competition line, my father turned to me and said “You embarrassed me.” His disappointment in my performance and the announcement of how it reflected poorly on him was devastating. It was probably the first time I ever realized how my actions affected others’ opinions of my family. I hadn’t practiced enough. I hadn’t taken the time to sight. I was slow on reload and cocking.
For some reason I didn’t give up. I kept practicing and another event came around. I wanted to compete again. This time there was a girls’ class. It’s true I won, but I only had to beat two other competitors for that title, and they were as bad as I was the first year. I shot well, scored high, took in my father’s reserved nod of praise, and never competed again.
I’ve carried that picture around with me for a long, long time. I’ve had 38 years worth of occasionally looking at it; recalling the pain of failure and being the cause of my father’s embarrassment. I obviously never forgot those words, but in the long run they seem to have had a somewhat positive effect. I never start anything I don’t intend to see through. If I can say I did it, and did it well, I’m satisfied. I don’t always succeed on the first try, but I make damn sure I do on the second effort. And then I quit while I’m still ahead.
Thinking about it now, I guess I’ve applied that notion to my love life, too. That explains my current non-relationship status. History says - I did that twice. The first time I really lost. The second, I won big-time. There’s no guarantee that the next match will find me a winner, or that I’ll even hit a target. On the other hand, maybe it could be like picking up a gun again: familiar and fun. Have I reawakened the inner strength that always rises to challenge? I think so. Am I going to keep moving forward? I think so. After all, I've never been gun shy.
Posted by jaselin at May 17, 2011 10:02 PM