Happiness is a Warm Gun

by littlesarahbigworld

I like my habits. My little routines. Day Off means eating cereal while checking e-mail, long runs in City Creek while listening to RadioLab, and fancy iced coffee beverage from Café on 1st while blogging. And I’m comfortable with that.

Even in a strange place, I quickly come up with a daily schedule, make to-do lists, form habits. In France it was school, errands, blogging, running, dinner, viola, then maybe a movie. Over and over.

But I also pride myself on wanting to try new things, to experience something different and strange. Eating snails, for example (delicious, by the way, though I guess most anything can be delicious when cooked in butter and garlic…), break dancing, all manner of masochistic exercise trends (Bikram, spinning, CrossFit), pedi-cabbing, and now…shooting a gun.

I’ve been asking Kevin to take me shooting ever since I found out that he owns a gun (he’s an Eagle Scout, friends, not a gun nut), and that was years ago. Not because I love hunting, or guns, mind you, but because he owns a gun and I’ve never shot one. That’s a thing a person should do in his/her lifetime, right? I mean, why not? I always imagined that a trip to the shooting range would be a lot like an afternoon at the batting cages–loud bangs, sore shoulders, lots of testosterone–but we never made it to the batting cages.

What we DID do was ask at the general store in Deckers, CO, where it was legal to shoot in the area. They weren’t sure, so they told us to ask Dan, who turned out to be the Sheriff, and just happened to be passing by the store at that moment. Small town. He gave us directions, and we drove through a canyon and into the woods, where signs informed us that we couldn’t shoot within 150 yards (a football field and a half, Kevin pointed out) of campgrounds, trails, trailheads, or any other humanized areas. Except…those were everywhere.

“Wait a minute, we’re supposed to just park, walk off into the woods until we don’t see anyone, start shooting, and hope that we don’t kill a man? And that’s what all the other gun people are doing?” I asked, incredulous.

Guess so. Good thing Kevin is an EAGLE SCOUT, with a merit badge in rifle shooting, and so we practiced safety. Like wearing goggles, which turn everything green and dusky.

He also knew to shoot against a hill, in order to prevent horrific casualties, and to set up little pinecone targets on a a log. But I was the one who spotted the shell casings on our hike away from civilization, which is how we knew we were safe to shoot (everyone’s doing it). Also it made me feel like a mountain man. Tracking things.

The verdict? Shooting is fun. Way fun. I returned to the cabin raving that it was just like a video game, but in real life, which Richie said made me sound like the kids from Columbine. Yikes. Really, though, it’s fun to load the gun, take aim, and let those pinecones have it. Also it turns out that I’m a pretty good shot. As long as we’re no more than 20 feet away. And sitting down.

We also shot at pop cans and a home-made target (guess which one of us made it), and sang “Shot through the heart / and you’re to blame.” I mean, how could we not?

Some opportunities are just too good to pass up.