A friend from college had bought a .22 pistol, and he dragged me and his girlfriend to an indoor shooting range so we could take turns firing the thing. Something about us needing to know how to defend ourselves.
I put on the safety goggles. I put on the earmuffs. I stepped into the shooting booth, took aim and tentatively squeezed off my first shot.
The spent shell casing flew out of the gun, bounced off the wall and ricocheted straight down the front of my shirt, where it lodged inside my bra.
The shell casing was hot.
I did what any woman with a lava-hot piece of metal in her bra would do. I started hopping up and down, waving my arms wildly and hollering, “Ow! Ow! Ow!”
Several bystanders leaped to help me. Not because I was suffering a first-degree burn, but because I had neglected to put down the loaded gun before I started waving my arms around wildly.
It was another 25 years before I would even pick up a gun again.
I’m on the board of the Berman Museum of World History, and this month we had our meeting at the Civilian Marksmanship Program in Anniston, home to a state-of-the-art indoor air rifle range.
(Nationally known marksmanship program, right here in town, down there behind the Winn-Dixie in Golden Springs. Who knew?)
I felt safe shooting an air rifle at the CMP. For one thing, I was shooting pellets, not bullets, using compressed air, not gunpowder. Also, there were no dividing walls for anything to bounce off of.
Even so, you would not believe how careful I was. Well, except for that time I loaded my pellet backwards and had to turn the rifle upside down and shake it out.
It turns out my left eye is my dominant eye, which meant I had to shoot left-handed.
That’s probably why I missed the bull’s-eye so many times.
A week later, I went back to the CMP with my family. (The range is open to the public from 4-7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s $5 for adults, $2 for kids, rifles and pellets provided.)
I proffered a friendly wager: worst shot would have to clean up the kitchen. Nobody took the bet.
My aim was much better this time. If it had been a test, I would’ve made an A-plus. I bested my husband and both kids.
I was feeling pretty cocky until the range supervisor told me that, because I was a beginner, he’d given me a bigger, easier target.
When we got home, I cleaned up the kitchen.
Contact Lisa Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org