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Inspirational Reads

Lucky I Got a Compass in the Stock

May 27, 2009

Growing up in Indiana, there's two things you need to know how to do: shoot a free throw and shoot a gun.

I'm hopeful, at this point, that you're familiar with my prowess when it comes to the hardwood. Well, at least you know that basketball courses through my veins and drips from my tongue. Ew. Basketball has suddenly taken a turn for the gross, and I'm not even talking about being posterized like Greg "Sweaty Balls on My Chin" Paulus.

In case anyone cares: bounce the ball three times, spin it in my right palm, bend knees, breathe out, shoot, swish.

Did you know that I'm a dead-eye with a rifle? Damn straight. See, my best friend, whom I mentioned in passing during the Decapitated Clown Incident of 1993, lived in the middle of farmin' country. He lived just outside of Majenica, IN, and if that doesn't smack of BFE, then I don't know what does (perhaps living outside of Bippus or Disko, IN...but I'm getting off topic again). Basically, my friend, the Brewing Optometrist, had a huge yard--good for all sorts of mischief--with a barn all the way at the back of the property. Everything else was fields. If it wasn't house, yard, driveway, garage, barn, or field, it was woods. And empty. Lots of space here.

Anyway, out behind my friend's barn was a trash pile. Mostly it was branches and stuff that fell off the trees and various and sundry other collections of yard refuse. It just so happened to be packed solid enough that it would slow a bullet, but not cause the bullet to ricochet. It was our de facto shooting range.

I was out there one day with my trusty .22 bolt-action rifle when my buddy and his brother were like, "Look what we got: lightbulbs!" They had collected about fifty burnt out light bulbs--how long they had horded this many is difficult to fathom, but they had them and I was giddy with desire and the unbridled ecstasy of avarice.

Selecting a particularly delectable 100 watt beauty from the pile, I set it halfway up on the brush pile and returned to the back side of the barn. I loaded the weapon, hearing the bullet slide into the chamber with the cool, steely promise of death. Raising the muzzle of the rifle, I peered down the length of the cold steel barrel.

"Ten bucks says he doesn't hit it," I heard the Brewing Optometrist call to his brother derisively behind me. I put my former best friend out of my mind, focused only on the offending bulb before me. Holding my breath, my thumb clicked off the safety and my finger slowly began to squeeze.


There was no sound of shattering glass. I raised my cheek from the stock as I clicked the safety back on, raising the muzzle and popping the bolt action back, spewing a smoking, spent shell somewhere into the withered brown grass at my feet.

The light bulb still stood before me. A .22 caliber hole fired through it so cleanly that only the glass struck by the bullet was displaced. Otherwise, it was perfectly whole.

Not looking at my friend, staring at the trophy before me, I calmly and quietly stated, "I'll take that ten bucks now, bub."

That sonuvabitch never did pay up.


Del-V said...

I am forwarding this to the North Korea embassy so they don't get any funny ideas about us Americans tolerating their antics.

Sass said...

There's this ridiculous little quiz on Facebook (amidst all the BRILLIANT ones), where you're supposed to choose which five people you'd want on your team if you were going to take over the world.

Or was it save the world?

I digress.

I choose you, mjenks. Just so you know.

Eric said...

Very nice photos, Mr. Mjenks, and good shooting story.
At the range one time, the guy working there (who I didn't know was a Ranger sniper) wanted to try my new HK 223. I pointed out some space on the target at 100 yards, but he said, 'No, I set up some match sticks over there'. I had to look through the range finder to see the damn things. He asked 'Point of aim, point of impact?' I nodded, then he proceeded to vaporize two sticks that were not much larger in width than the 223 bullet which at 100 yards was pretty small... Woe be unto the side that goes up against us.

Kristine said...

It didn't shatter?! I think this might be another headless-clown story. So now you owe me $10.

Lana said...

i'm officially scared of you. anyone who can do that to a light bulb has powers not of this earth.

Susan said...

Nice supporting pictures today I must say... and by the way, I need you to come over today and put me out of my misery.


Cowguy said...

Jenks, come on over sometime when we're shooting offa the front porch. You'll be right at home.

Joel D. Timm said...

When you grow up in the midwest you always get stories like this. A friend of mine and I "borrowed" my dad's .357 for a night, and after we were done I couldn't hear for a day. I lost a girlfriend that night, and to this day I still don't know what we fought about, or even that we had a fight. Since I could only hear this distant ringing in my ear I just kept nodding and say "yea." Maybe one day I will find out exactly what happened.

Nikki said...

I'm one of those "Don't give her a gun are you effing crazy" kinda chics. But I will gladly take one up and shoot it if asked to!

Sassy Britches said...

We used to shoot bullfrogs in the pond from the back deck. I'll join the posse. You can count on me.

Nej said...

Holidays at the in-laws include shooting. Always.

Handguns at targets in the backyard. Shotguns and blue rock. Rifles and hedge apples...ah heck...rifles and anything we can shoot at, without injuring ourselves or livestock.

I think I officially own more guns than Mot...which makes me giggle. :-)

The Ambiguous Blob said...

Good shot! I want to go shoot stuff now.

Jidai said...

Wait... There's a state named Indiana!?

Chemgeek said...

We used to do something similar, but we would float the stuff on a small man-made pond. Shooting stuff to make it sink is sure fun.

Fancy Schmancy said...

You, my friend, sound like a dangerous person to piss off.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ Del-V: Oh, goodie. Kim Jung-Il is so ronery, so veddy, veddy ronery. An email will cheer him right up.

@ Sass: In addition to my prowess with a firearm, I make a damned good omelet, which can only add to my legend when we're in charge, Sass.

@ Eric: One of my favorite shows to come on History recently was the ones where the trick shot experts were showing off their shooting expertise. The snipers they had on there were effing amazing.

@ Kristine: Looking back, I should have saved the lightbulb, but instead I blew that fucker away with a .12 gauge shotgun about five seconds later. To be honest, though, I was amazed it didn't shatter, either.

@ Lana: Don't be scared. Be assured. Assured that the Light Bulb People will never take over while I'm on the scene.

@ Susan: More DNA headaches? And, yeah, these are the pictures that I felt I could post and not have my blog suddenly be rated NSFW.

@ Cowguy: You know, when I was typing this up last night, I thought 'If there's anyone who reads my blog who would appreciate this, it's got to be Cowguy' (with apologies to Nej).

@ Joel: I understand the story completely. I once shot my uncle's .357. Once. I'll never forget the ball of fire the size of a Buick that erupted from the end of the gun. Nor the deafening roar of the shot. Nor the way it nearly put me on my 15-year-old-ass.

@ Nikki: Be still my beating heart. *adoring stare*

@ Sassy Britches: Keen. So, now we're all safe from the Light Bulb People and the Bullfrog Folk. And the French.

@ Nej: If I wasn't certain that Mot could kick my ass without really trying, I would have made an off-color comment about that picture of you and the shotgun you posted on the entry about your friends' wedding. Delightful. D. Light. Full.

@ Tabbie: You know what else is fun to shoot? Zucchini. I'm just saying.

@ Jidai: It's right between the States of Denial and Bliss, and a little south of Delirium.

@ Chemgeek: Viking funeral type, huh? We didn't have anywhere that we could sink shit into, until he got his first house, and by that point we had graduated up to a Potato Gun.

Watching oranges make splashdown is entirely too entertaining for words.

@ Fancy: Just remember, I get easily distracted by big juggs or killer legs. Or beef.

Nej said...


words...words...words... said...

I love shooting, which surprises a lot of people I know. GREAT story, I have no idea how you were able to do that. But I hope you kept the bulb!

Kimizzy said...

Did you keep the lightbulb? That is an awesome story, by the way. :) Good for you!

Grant Miller said...

You Hoosiers are such a curious species.

Frank said...

There is something about destroying light bulbs that's irresistible...this summer I got to crush over 100 burnt-out light bulbs from the college basketball arena in a trash compactor. Best 30 seconds of my life.

coolred38 said...

I want pics or you can take that story and

Reminds me of when I was in Basic Training and we had our day at the shooting range trying for our shooters medal. You had to attain at least a 250 to earn your badge. I got a 257. Without my glasses. Only one other girl made the mark as well...she got a 265. Good times.