Dad tells me we’re going shooting. Not like we did this a lot, the last time we tried to shoot a bothersome woodpecker it was the safest thing on our whole 10 acre lot. We’re going shooting targets just to take the old 22 out of a spin. Of course the adventure must begin with a trip to mechanic friends Darrel’s house who shows us how to clean the gun and gives us a run down on how to best not kill ourselves. After dissecting the gun and a brief tutorial on not shooting your loved ones we were ready to go. Stepping out the door, the gun expert hands us our ammunition we had already forgotten behind, and dutifully asks us where we planned on firing the underpowered but still deadly weapon. Dad and I simply explain we had planned to go to one of a few gravel pits that we knew of in the area. To this the man gives us directions to an actual shooting range much closer to the village hospital and other forms of human life. Probably a great move.
Listening to music, driving down the dirt roads behind our sleepy little town we embark on the first red-neck adventure of my visit home. We arrive where Darrel has told us the shooting range would be and are greeted by a frozen over puddle in the road the size of an above ground swimming pool. Amazing. Dad’s a bit of a wuss in his new truck so we’re tip toeing our way through the brown sludge, but as the murky water rose all the way up to the chasie I put on the smile I would wear for the rest of the day. We continue down the road a few hundred feet through a few more less notable watering holes, and come out on what appears to be a field full of garbage and abandoned household appliances. Dad looks out over the dash and laughs” Is this it?”
We jump out of the truck and take a better look at the location of our afternoons entertainment. From the top of the small ridge we parked on, to about 20 feet down into the shallow valley, the ground was completely covered in shotgun shells. Walking around the area was like stepping through thousands of red, bullet casing wind chimes. To our left was a couch that seemed to be used as both firewood and target practice, a collection of mattresses that could have been used for sleeping in a nearly prehistoric era and a whole mish mash of sacrificial garbage.
While we giddily figure out how to load and cock the gun my dads says “god isn’t it amazing how nobody cleans this place up? Like they just throw everything on the ground?” and it’s true! Everything here was dropped from the hands of intoxicated, gun wielding red necks. We suspect that any attempts at a civilized garbage can we’re quickly converted into shooting targets. We shot our first rounds and laughed uproariously at the sheer stupidity of our situation when I realize it’s just part of the experience. You come out here so that you don’t care. You come here to litter on the ground and shoot stuff! Just like you go to the restaurant to eat food you can’t cook and be served, it’s just part of the experience! Think about how boring this would have been without all this great crap to shoot at! For once, it seemed, my dad agreed with one of my completely ridiculous theories.
We shot at hubcaps, computers, dishwashers, couches, frisbees, radiators, milk cartons and sometimes even actual targets! By the end of our shooting we we’re actually getting pretty good! We could hit fairly large targets at 200 feet away! We would run out into the field and set up things that would make a loud noise or blow up if we shot it! A hubcap was loud, styrofoam was explosive, cans and jugs could be propped up and stuck down. We shot off hundreds of rounds and threw every single one of them on the ground with a smile on our face! Dad would pull the clip back, look at me and say “whoops!” and flick the little golden casing onto the shell covered dirt.
We then abandoned our plans of lighting a fire and eating out at the site and opted for a heated dine in restaurant in town. In hindsight it would have been a cool way to end the day, but freezing your ass off in a refuse dump trying to eat your lunch doesn’t sound like a picture perfect game plan. We went to a local restaurant, bought hamburgers and told everyone we had just come back from “shooting”, being sure not to mention the puny size of our gun or our minimal abilities. 😛
The day was hilarious, and a bit of a cultural experience in a weird way. It made me realize that I need to do things because they are fun. Not because it is what is expected of me but for the pure enjoyment of it. Not because I am good at it but because it’ll put a smile on my face. I am already pretty good at trying new things and enjoying myself but every now and then you need to take a few pot shots at an old computer with dad to remind you.