He’s the man

Walter Sprague

Photo by Walter Sprague/NLJ

Connie Sprague aims at tin cans with her new Remington 20 gauge shotgun, hitting two out of two shots.



onnie and I recently went shooting. OK! I love guns. Connie understands the need for guns and has respect for our Second Amendment. But love? Nah. I think what I’d call it is bored tolerance. My reaction to that  is reasonably healthy. Sean Morey wrote a song called “The Man Song.” There’s a lyric I think expresses my feelings about that lack of enthusiasm best. It goes, “I wear the pants around here when I finish with your laundry.” You can’t say it better than that!

But guns are among my favorite possessions, and I cherish my constitutional right to bear arms. And I’m not talking about my right to wear muscle shirts, cool as that may be — I’m talking firearms. While my arms are among the manliest extremities known to the human race when they are bare, Connie refers to them as my grass snakes. Aw, my poor pythons! I could take exception to that, but I don’t. Again, as the Morey song says, “When I say ‘jump’ you say ‘yeah right.’ because I’m the man of this house until you get home.”

So, instead of taking offense, I’ll embrace my right to bear firearms. You see, a gun is something that when you lovingly pull the trigger and the firing pin strikes that little round brass thingy (that’s the technical term for those of you who didn’t know) of the bullet, the whole thing goes “BANG!” and then your 9mm leaps up and bangs you in the head! 

Wonderful! Now I have a few scars on my head. Most of them are not from a gun. They are, instead, the result of a lack of natural protection on top of my head. This “lack” is a side effect of too much testosterophone ... ah … testorhyno ... um … “man juice.” Some call it baldness. I call it “Ouch! Dammit!” every time I forget to duck when I walk into the AC vents in my basement. I think I also have an explanation, now, about my fascination with pro wrestling. It takes about as many brain cells to enjoy that as it does to walk into sharp metal. Just watch out when both brain cells fire at the same time. But that’s not the point.

Okay, I don’t have a point, just a few scars on my head. Now I’m happy to point out that I have never actually hit myself on the head with a gun. I put a slug through one of my dad’s truck tires once, but my head’s been safe, although I think I remember him slapping me on the back of the head when I put a hole in the tire. WHAP! “What’s the matter with you, Boy?” he said as he whapped me. I could only think of one reply, “You mean, besides you slapping me on the back of the head?” His answered with another WHAP! But again, that’s not the point.

I remember the point now. Connie and I  recently went shooting. I had bought Connie a 20-gauge Remington and myself a Ruger 9mm. I also took my .357.

Connie shot first. She started with the 9mm and pointed it at a tin can. In all the time we’ve been married, I’ve never seen her shoot. That is until we moved to Newcastle. I was impressed then. But this time, I was actually turned on. The tin can leaped into the air. She fired off three more rounds. Three more cans scooted away or leaped up as she hit them with each shot. Then she took the 20 gauge and fired two rounds, obliterating two more tin cans. I can tell you this, when I look at Connie I often get all gooey. I think she’s the most beautiful girl that’s ever lived. When I saw her hitting those cans, about 20 feet away with every shot — well, I have never had as much attraction to someone in my life! Six shots were enough to satisfy her, though. I don’t understand that, but I could fill a book with blank pages expressing how much I know about women.

After Connie finished, it was my turn to shoot. So I took the 9mm in my hand and pulled the trigger. You would have thought I was aiming at the dirt! The tin can was staring at me with a hole that Connie put there, like some smirking eye. I swear I almost heard it laugh at me. The dirt, however, retreated, terror-filled in a giant puff, I fired a few more rounds. Now I did hit some cans. Two! Only two, out of 11 shots. The dirt wasn’t safe though.

In embarrassed frustration, I put the 9mm away and grabbed the 20 gauge. I fired six times and hit six cans, but at 20 feet with a shotgun, I think it would have taken more skill to miss. Then I grabbed the .357.
I emptied it twice at the cans. That’s 12 shots.  One hit! The dirt, however, was definitely giving me a wide berth at this point. I blush to say this, but I think I even missed the ground a few times. Now here’s someone who has shot very little in her life, at least when compared to me. And she hit six out of six cans. Now I shot at least 25 rounds that day. I hit three cans not counting the shotgun hits. That’s just over 10%. Connie was at 100%.

One more time, I quote “The Man Song.”It ends with Sean Morey singing, “I’m top dog around here, but I’ve been neutered.”  I feel you, Sean. I feel you.


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