The Wide Angle: Things I’m not good at

Published 6:30 am Saturday, October 3, 2020

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There are times in life when you are reminded just how bad you are at something, and regardless of all the people that have the gaul to tell you practice makes perfect, no amount of practice will make it better.

Sometimes, you and me are just bad at something, just like the Twins are bad at postseasons.

Too soon?

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Point of fact, I tortured myself daily when I went golfing with my parents. I swung the club, I hit the ball, I defined being horrible at golf.

Now, one who has no knowledge of me might say I simply gave up and didn’t want to get better at golf, to which I say, “mind your own beeswax.” Of course I didn’t like playing golf, but I didn’t let my method of playing tag with a stupid ball get in the way of knowing I wasn’t ever going to be good at it.

It’s just like home repair. I’m willing to try a few things on my own. Ripping up carpet, sanding and finishing a floor, in theory, should be doable for someone of my middling talents, but I’m not about to touch wiring and plumbing.

I would prefer our house not burn to the ground and I would prefer not to know what it feels like to have electricity surge through my body. I kind of know what that feels like already.

A friend of mine, whose family owned a farm back home, convinced me to do something “fun” with an electric fence when I had to go … you know what, a story for another time.

Along the same lines of not wanting to experience a shocking time while repairing a light fixture, I really don’t want to create a swimming pool in my dining room by trying plumbing.

This long and exhaustive introduction to the column is about hunting.

Betcha didn’t see that coming?

I’ve got a few hunting stories coming up and was reminded recently that we are a year removed from the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunt Opener, which I should remind you took place without the benefit of a coronavirus. Ahh, simpler times.

I was never much good with guns. I mean, I never shot anybody to my knowledge, but I never shot a bird either so, yeah. I was pretty safe with a gun.

There was a time I thought I was the next Wyatt Earp. During gun training, our instructor, who was a veteran, took us out to an unused gravel pit and not only gave us instruction with the firing of our own firearms, but also let us shoot his .45.

I’m not terribly sure how firearms safety training really works come to think of it.

We spent the day shooting targets, both paper and ones that twirl, until it was time to go full Dirty Harry.

We each had the opportunity to shoot our instructors .45 and I should say he was very responsible with it. He told us how to hold it, how to stand, where the safety was and how to properly shoot it. He did all of this first without a clip and there was absolutely no shooting from the hip or the uttering of one-liners.

Disappointed not to be calling the target “punk,” I stepped up and assumed the position of what I thought every action hero I had ever seen in the movies did.

I took aim, steadied my breathing and squeezed the first shot. There was a high-pitched ding as the bullet sent the target spinning.

The instructor urged me to shoot again and channeling my inner Steve McQueen, I fired again, in no way thinking I would hit the target second time, but again the target spun and now I was wondering where the terrorists were. Nakatomi Plaza? Bruce Willis? HAH! You were now dealing with Eric Johnson and I was ready for my “walking-away-from-the-explosion” shot. Sadly, he gave the gun to the next person and my action movie days were done.

Also done, my misconceptions that I was good at hunting. No bird ever fell to my firepower, and more than likely giggled at my ineptitude.

Though, give me a Nerf gun and well … is that an explosion to walk away from?