Sep 6, 2005

Wot's He On About?

Yup, I'm on about it again. What makes a great blog? What makes a readable one? And more importantly, what gets the word out that you ARE readable or not?

I've never been one on self-help books. I'd more often than not try and figure it out myself. Either that or ask someone who has been there, preferably many times, and get the word direct from the source, as tailored for my ears. I've always found the self-help and the 'I got here you can too' style of thing to be vaguely patronising and more often than not geared down to pap to fit the largest number of wallets. Frankly, it offends me.

So more often than not I stumble along, trying new things, trying old things, and in general making a nuisance of myself. I even bleat in anger once in a while, just to keep you guys on your toes. Right now I think I'm going to take a page from this grand ole thing called Life, and see if I can't apply it here. Perhaps it'll help. And if not me, then maybe you. And if not you, then maybe I'm spinning my wheels but at least they're turning. *S*

Yesterday being a fairly big holiday, we went to the wife's grandfather's place on the outskirts of a very small town up in north LA. Tons of tremendous food, plenty of people to mix with, and most importantly to my lesson here, plenty of open space to fire hundreds and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. So, we brought "guns. Lots of guns." Thank you Neo.

I did the usual, 25 yard slow firing at targets with my pistol, and a little freehand distance firing at a tree with my father's old .30 caliber carbine. The rest of the family, whose home this is, came out and brought the shotguns and the clay pigeon launcher, and school was in session. Grandpa J. and Uncle P. are marksmen, in the purest sense of the word. I watched in astonishment and frank wonder as these two match-grade shooters dominated us and tried to outdo each other, pigeon after pigeon.

After the day was over and I was sitting around engaged in the ritual of cleaning weapons I thought a great deal about what I saw, trying to get my head around the idea of these two men and their seemingly effortless efficiency. I was saved from the depths of maudlin despair by the mum-in-law's call, whereup information was brought to light--the two marksmen had had previous training. Uncle P. had been firing weapons almost daily since he was tall enough to stand upright, and Grandpa J. had spent literally years and years firing 50-100 shotgun shells at pigeons A DAY. Seems a large budget for pigeons and ammo and years of effort goes a long way toward making it look easy.

And after all that I thought about my young brother-in-law, H., who went out there with his first real weapon, a .410 gauge shotgun, and gamely fired his way steadily through 50 rounds. I didn't keep count, but he was hitting at least 50% of his pigeons, more towards the end of his afternoon, despite what had to be a sore shoulder and near heat-prostration. Made me quite proud of him, being such a trooper out there, in the face of all these adults who were knocking them out of the sky as though the clays were standing still. And I thought about my own lack-luster performance with the shotgun, hitting 4 of 10 or thereabouts. And I was very proud of H., seeing as he had fired his shotgun twice before, and I was even a little proud of me, seeing as I hadn't picked up a shotgun in three decades.

Sometimes it's hard for me to remember that there are painfully few born naturals, and that you've got to put in many grueling hours of mediocrity to get to that state of effortless action. Important lesson learned.

And when it comes to the internet all that goes out the window and it's up to the vagarities of human nature.


Old Grey Mare said...

Please Mr. Irrelephant but if my math is up to par.... a decade is 10 years...right? well I didn't think that you were much older than 3 decades... *S*

Irrelephant said...

Yup, one decade still equals ten years, last I checked, and in just a few short painful days I'll be just shy of four decades old. *s* I was rough guesstimating the last time I handled a shotgun as being age 8, when my brother and I were given a second- or third-hand .410 by cousins who had outworn it's small caliber.

Me, I've never really been a long gun sort of guy, and it's been long since I took that old .410, wrapped it in a towel, stuck it in the vice and shortened that unwieldy barrel down to 9", for riding around under the truck's seat, but I haven't fired it at anything but VERY close targets since I turned it into a pistol.

I know I've handled a few long guns since I was 8, but rarely if ever for more than an afternoon's worth of shots, certainly not enough to compete with Grandpa J's and Uncle P's decades of daily target practice.

josh williams said...

I have a 410 over and under 22 on top from the family collection,an old Springrield and I even have a 9mm shotgun that was me mums when she was growing up on the game preserve. I used to hunt bullfrogs when I was a lad , we would venture out in a small homemade boat,a man to hold the flash light, a
man to paddle and a man to shoot the little big legged beasts! We always won.

Irrelephant said...

I never stalked the wild frog, but I hear they can be hellish mean if they turn on you. *lol*