There is a book that the boys that I nanny love to read. It’s called Wacky Wednesday by Dr. Seuss, and it’s about this boy who wakes up on a Wednesday and really crazy things are going on. That book has inspired me to write about wacky (or just outright embarrassing!) things that have happened to me, and I’ll post one each Wednesday.
I had a list of excuses not to go shooting with the rest of my church’s youth group that night. On the top of my list was the fact that I had never shot a shotgun, and since I am prone to embarrassing myself anyways, learning to shoot in front of about fifteen other guys my age just seemed like my new most embarrassing moment just waiting to happen. Since the previous most embarrassing moment involved blood and a change of clothes, you can see why I was hesitant. But for whatever reason (probably because my mom was a leader), I went.
The shooting range was up the canyon and was well lit against the pewter night. The two men who were in charge, one older (we’ll call him John) the other in his twenties (whom we will call Scruffy), told us to line up facing these large wooden boxes with numbers on them. John then began to teach us how to load and shoot a shotgun, making sure all of our ear protection was secured. I knew how to load and shoot, so drowning out his already muffled voice seemed like a harmless idea.
I let my mind wander until I noticed the people around me were loading their guns. Some had already began shooting something, but I couldn’t tell what it was. I looked at the box in front of me, sure that targets usually came in circular shapes. The only other girl was standing next to me, talking to Scruffy, so I couldn’t ask her what we were supposed to be shooting at. I decided the best way to figure it out was to see where the others were pointing their guns. I chuckled to myself as I saw the guns being pointed in the direction of the wooden boxes, but the shooters each wobbled their guns like taking aim was a big deal before shooting, and none of them hit the box!
“Psshhh, I can do better than them!” I thought as I shook my head and loaded the gun. I made sure my earplugs were in and my eye protection on, then took aim at the large number 19 on my box and pulled the trigger. The next sound was a satisfying splintering of wood as large chunks of the box flew every which way, proving to the others that I could hit my target. I stepped back and beamed broadly as I heard voices and people coming up to me. “No embarrassing moments today!” I bragged to myself. As I took out my earplugs to accept my compliments, I heard several people yell “Are you okay?!”
“Ok?” I asked confused, then I looked pointedly where I had clearly hit the target. There was a large hole right on the curve of the nine. Not a perfect bullseye, but better than what everyone else was getting. Why wouldn’t I be ok?
“You need to be more careful! Here, step back,” counseled one of my leaders. She looked at me sympathetically, made sure I wasn’t hurt, and then left to help out others in the group. By this time, John and Scruffy and joined me. John seemed annoyed as he instructed me to put my toes behind the safety line, load my gun, and say pull when I was ready.
Pull? Now I was confused. “Maybe it’s like yelling fore in golf,” I thought, as I readied myself and yelled out “PULL!” to warn everyone. Maybe that’s why they looked at me funny. Just then, I noticed a flying disk arching behind my box.
“Shoot!” John barked. I took aim, and shot, hearing a sound like pottery shattering. I looked at him for approval, hoping that I wouldn’t attract too much attention this time. I looked around and noticed everyone had been watching me anyway, but when I hit the disk, they looked away, bored.
John turned to Scruffy. “Go get the two (he said the name of a gun that I imagine was a good gun, because they looked nice) from the office for these ladies,” he ordered. When Scruffy returned, he explained how these guns would be better for me and the other girl because they had a kick buffer, as well as lighter guns. We loaded up and shot several more times. I hit the all but one disk, and kept looking at John to make sure I was doing it right. He’d give me advice such as “A little more to the left!” and “Up a little more!”
He showed me how to work the sight better, then he said something that I couldn’t hear due to my earplugs and the shots ringing out. All I could make out was, “Let’s see how well you do under pressure!” “Great, a new game that I don’t know the rules to,” I sighed.
“Ok,” he shouted, taking aim, “When you’re ready, yell pull!” I got my gun ready, my eyes begging him for a sign on what we were doing. I steadied my gun, and yelled, “PULL!”
Three disks flew out this time. I didn’t know if I was supposed to be sharing them, but to be on the safe side, I hit all three. John looked at me astonished, and then said to do it again. So we did it again, and again. Here and there I missed a couple, but I felt like I was getting the hang of it. Scruffy started paying more attention to me, and giving me advice when John finally left. At the end of it, he said “You got 18/25!”
That sounded like a pretty good score to me, so I smiled and thanked him for helping me. Later that evening, while relating the story to someone, I was confused and asked why in the world everyone was looking at me funny when I hit the box. They just looked at me, shook their head, and laughed.