Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Slice of Life: Lessons on and from the range

    It's Tuesday, and Tuesdays are for slicing.  Anyone is welcome to join us through Two Writing Teachers, slicing, sharing, and commenting on other slices! 

Over the weekend, I went skeet shooting for the first time. Until Saturday afternoon, I had never held a gun, much less shoot one, and I had no vision of what a clay pigeon even looked like. Somehow, despite having watched movies or shows where people are shooting them. I envisioned clay twitter-like birds. I was surprised that a clay pigeon resembled a drink coaster much more than a bird, and my surprise got a few laughs. 

"You really are new at this," the instructor said. 

"Yep," I said. 

The other three women were in a similar boat although no one else admitted to a false conception of a clay pigeon, so we had a lengthy explanation of how to shoot a gun. Bernerd made it look pretty easy when he yelled, "Pull", held the gun up, waited exactly the right number of seconds and shot the flying disc. 

"You've got to go after it," he said in a strong Irish brogue. "You want to pull the trigger right when it's the highest."

Pull the trigger right at the highest point. I locked in the tip. As well as how to release the safety catch, snuggle the end into my shoulder, decide whether to close my left eye or not, lean forward on my left leg, and relax my hand and finger. Oh, and say pull when I was ready. 

Somehow, I didn't register the importance of the little ball at the end of the rifle. In movies, I've seen people look through a rifle at a target of some sort that looked like a T. This rifle had nothing like that. Instead, you were supposed to use the ball as your marker. Maybe this makes sense to readers who have experience with skeet shooting. 

"You're high," Bernerd said. 

"You're left," he said. 

"You're low," he said. "You've got to line it up with the ball." 

The ball? 

I watched and listened to the others as they took their turns. Alex was pretty good at it, and she hit the disk a couple times in a row. 

"Yes," Bernerd said. "You see how the ball covers the disk. That's when you shoot."

I still didn't see what he meant on my next turn, but I managed to shoot down a couple of "pigeons", more out of luck than skill. A broken clock is wrong twice a day. 

Finally, on my last turn, I yelled pull, and I realized there was a split second when the disk was blocked by the little ball at the end. At that split second, I pulled the trigger, and guess what. The disk broke apart. 

"Yes!" Bernerd said. "Do it again!"

I yelled pull, watched for the little ball to cover the disk, and bam! The disk in front of us broke apart. 

I missed one of the next three shots, but not by much, and even I was a little impressed with my aim.

It's amazing how easy a seemingly difficult task can become with the right aha moment at the right time. 


  1. Always learning…you captured the aha well!

  2. I've never even held a gun, but skeet shooting is popular around here, especially as a fundraising event. I can feel your apprehension and then your satisfaction as you build this post.

  3. I love the build up to more and more understanding and then success!

  4. You describe trying to learn a new skill as a pure novice so well. I kinda want to know your motivation to learn this skill. Maybe you can let me know in Anaheim!!! So looking forward to the slicer get-together! See you soon!!