Over at Dauntless Grace this month we are talking about being vulnerable and what it means for each of us. As you well know, I’ve never really struggled with being vulnerable here, in fact my issue is usually that I’m too vulnerable here. But . . . there is one story I haven’t shared and it’s a doozy. I don’t embarrass easily, but this story has definitely gone down as my most humiliating moment ever in my whole entire thirty-four years. This is a whole new spin on gun control, ladies and gentlemen. You may want to pass laws about this.
Let me just say that one of the reasons it’s taken me so long to share this is the fact that it makes me look like a complete idiot. I am not an idiot, I’m just not used to guns. Please be nice to me anyway.
My husband has wanted guns for a long time, much to my disappointment. I am afraid of that which I do not know…therefore, I am afraid of guns. Imagine my excitement when my step-father-in-law gave us four guns for Christmas. Rifles and handguns, and antiques . . . oh my.
Naturally, since we’re going to have the guns in the house, I knew we all needed to get comfortable with them, so for our twelfth wedding anniversary I suggested going to the gun range, as opposed to our much safer options – dinner and a movie. The hubs was all over it and I felt fairly confident in my abilities – I have shot a pellet gun before (never mind the fact that it’s been . . . oh let’s round down and say 15 years) I mean, how much different can it be?
First of all, shooting a pellet gun at camp in the backwoods of British Columbia is absolutely incomparable to shooting a rifle in a gun range in Austin, Texas. I walk in and there are dudes in full on – I don’t even know what you call it . . . KILL-ME-DEAD-SHOOTER-GEAR, and their guns are almost as big as they are. Your entire body is rocked when they pull that trigger. You literally jump a foot every time, and it really does look exactly like every TV show you’ve ever seen, complete with the sketchy guy with patchy facial hair and silver capped teeth.
So, Rocky walks me and our rifle up to one of the stalls that Ryan Hardy practices on when he’s not too drunk to stand up, and starts telling me how to load the gun, except, we have these huge noise-cancelling ear muffs on because of KILLMEDEADSHOOTER dude and his AK-BLOWMYHEADOFF in the next stall. I can’t hear a dumb word he is saying, so naturally, I reach to pull the earmuffs off to hear him.
Um, can I just say that’s a bad idea. I think I’m still deaf in my right ear. That’s what I’m telling my kids anyway. “No, mommy’s not ignoring you, she just had her eardrums blown out by a sniper. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. Do your chores.”
Rocky ends up showing me everything I need to know, and I start aiming and firing, feeling pretty good about riflery again. I didn’t ever hit the target where I was aiming, but, hey, I hit the target. After we blow through our rifle ammo, we move over to the hand gun section of the stalls. After doing so well with the rifle, I’m all, “Come and get it.” This handgun thing is gonna be a piece of cake. Except I’d rather eat a piece of cake than try to load the stupid thing – okay, I’d pretty much always rather a piece of cake. But this sucker is hard to load, and my fingers hurt afterwards from pushing those bullets into the clip (look at me. I’m a professional y’all, using the language and everything). The handgun is surprisingly way harder to shoot, and the kickback is killer on my wrists. I keep looking back at Rocky for help because I’m not hitting the target at all. I’m getting more and more frustrated, I keep loading the gun incorrectly and he keeps having to fix it. I’m terrified that if I pull that trigger and the bullet isn’t loaded right, the whole thing is going to explode in my hands and I will have done KILLMEDEADSHOOTER dude’s job for him.
Finally, I get the hang of it, but my wrists really hurt so I know this game is about over. Then. The paper moves a fraction of a millimeter and I see it. I hit the target. I. Am. So. Excited. I spin around to shout my accomplishment to the world and suddenly everything stops as my husband cowers in fear, the gun range ‘monitor’ jumps back and screams at me and I realize . . . I am pointing a loaded gun at my husband and a room full of people.
The biggest rule, the one they tell you a hundred times before you walk into the shooting area? Always keep the guns aiming toward the targets. Never turn around with a gun in your hand.
ALL OF THE CURSE WORDS.
Rocky is at my side immediately, he’s going to take over, but the range monitor approaches us and says. “You’re done. Pack it up.”
Seriously y’all. I got us kicked out of the gun range. KICKED. OUT.
I’m dead silent as we hand in our muffs and goggles, pay for our time and pack the guns into the car. I cry as we drive away in silence; I am mortified. Absolutely humiliated, which is not something I’m used to feeling.
“Babe, it was an accident,” he says. “I’m sure it happens every day there. No one else is going to remember it but me.”
It takes me a minute to compose myself, and then I tell him what I was going to say when I first turned around and pointed the gun at him. “I was just excited because I hit the target in the nuts.”
I still haven’t recovered from that day, and every time I drive past the gun range, I hang my head in shame. Can you help me out? Share your most embarrassing moment in the comments.