21 July 2008

Sometimes, the target just isn't big enough

I was reminded of this idea when I was covering an archery group giving youth classes in Lakeville. While the last (and only) time I’d ever shot an arrow was 15 years ago in Boy Scout camp (a miss by a wide margin, if I remember correctly), I was confident that, if put to the test, I’d be at least as good as Kevin Costner’s stunt double in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.” Well, I was wrong.
First off, I made the mistake of not taking archery very seriously, as my instructor did. Apparently, there is no smiling involved in archery, which was news to me. Anyway, I listened intently as he instructed me how to properly load the bow (by taking the arrow and raising it up the right side of the bow to drop it down the left side) and how to pull back on the string (firmly and calmly). I was not comfortable with the idea of brushing my chin with the feathers of the arrow (having pulled it back far enough), but I took the instructor at his word, and was unharmed when I launched my projectile of doom to what I thought would be a bull’s-eye.
I was wrong. Not only did the arrow not hit the bull’s-eye, it seemed to travel like a tiny senior citizen on the feathers was controlling it. It traveled listlessly, with a peculiar nose-up attitude that made it seem almost lazy. It hit the target with a subdued “TWUNK!” It hung limply from the lower left quadrant of the target, nowhere near the bull’s-eye, but at least impaled on the board. I lowered the hot pink bow (the color the guy selected for me), and walked back to the bow rack dejected.
There’s a reason for my hand wringing. My plan for the apocalypse was that I would somehow find an arrow in the rubble of what used to be Minneapolis and use that to defend my beef jerky from my mutated neighbors, who (unlike me) would have been drastically affected by the nuclear bomb that wiped out our city. The more I look at it, the more holes I find in my theory. For one, if a bomb hit Minneapolis, I would more than likely be wiped out of existence (an oddly comforting thought after seeing “Threads” and “The Day After), and that shooting a bow and arrow would be the least of my worried. Second, what are the odds I would actually find one in the rubble, let alone be able to shoot it well?
I finished the story feeling slightly deflated. I guess things that look easy on TV shouldn’t automatically be considered as easy in real life. And, come to think of it, I should really stop watching post-apocalyptic nuclear holocaust movies on YouTube. Like I don’t have enough to worry about. Besides, the only one who would benefit from combining the apocalypse with a bow and arrow is Ted Nugent, and he would most likely be HUNTING people like me, not helping them. Just kidding, Ted - don't shoot!

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