Friday, April 22, 2011

Knit Knit Bang Bang

(Title brought to you with special thanks to KidBrother Sam for exposing me to that work of cinematic brilliance.)

Last Sunday, I managed to (a) live out a lifelong dream while (b) knitting in the most unusual locale I have yet to manage.

Not my shells. But you get the point.
I've always wanted to go to the gun range and learn to shoot. You see, in my imagination, when I think about what I want to be When I Grow Up, it's always a job that requires a gun. And a tango. Also, possibly costumes and some undercover work. FBI, CIA, CSI, that type of stuff. Let me re-iterate, there is always a tango.

Now when I say, "FBI, CIA, CSI, that type of stuff", I don't mean the *actual* FBI/CIA/CSI, because it's 99% paperwork and bureaucracy, no Tango-ing, and probably less than 1% running around, shooting at bad guys, and generally being sexy. And it's usually not the people who sit back and do the paperwork that get to run around and be awesome. What I'm looking for is the Criminal Minds, Chuck, Mr. & Mrs. Smith type of work. The kind that only seems to exist in the movies and on TV.

[Side note: Have you noted that even the Government Geeks have sexy jobs on TV?** It's all data gathering from mysterious sources that collect completely bizarre data. Yes, I'm looking at you, Numb3rs. I am suspicious of your incredibly convenient and never-ending sources of data. Your deductive reasoning is also questionable most of the time.]

So, KidBrother Sam and Bromantic Brandon invited me to join them at the shooting range. With the level of enthusiasm they had about taking me shooting for the first time, I half expected them to make me put a bright red lipstick "V" on my forehead.

I beat the guys to the range because I had driven separately, since I had obligations later in the day. I sat in my car and worked on my Daybreak, which is so brightly colored it can raise the dead. (That was one of the selling points from the dyer. This yarn comes with built-in necromancy!)

The guys eventually got there, we paid, and headed down to the range, where I was exposed to Range Culture.

There are lots of safety rules, and well there should be.  

Guns are loud, scary, and incredibly dangerous.

In my imagination, where I'm a sexy crimefighter (taller, too, for those who are curious), guns aren't a Big Deal. Bullets only hit Bad Guys, and if a Good Guy gets clipped, it's minimal and easily fixed with a few stitches, leaving you with a minimal scar and a great story. (No, I don't subscribe to the BBC mentality, where anyone is game. Yes, MI-5, I'm talking about you.)

In reality, I jumped like a rabbit every time someone fired a gun. The sound of the shot would resonate in my chest it was so loud. I changed my mind, quietly.

I'll think of a graceful way of ducking out, I thought. This is scaring the living daylights out of me. I am not a badass.

Then, Jasmin 2009, the Jasmin who grabs opportunity squarely by the shoulders and embraces new experiences shouted down Cowardly Jasmin.

No. I have ALWAYS wanted to do this, and now I'm finally getting the chance to, said Jasmin 2009. You're safe, you're with people who will make sure you're doing it correctly, and you're wearing appropriate shoes. Buck up and take your turn.

We had to wait for a Cease Fire, which is part of Range Culture, before we could start, so out came my knitting, and I cheerfully sat down and settled my nerves by putting a row or two on my Daybreak shawl. There were about 300 people there; of those 300, 3 were women, and only one of us was knitting. I have never gotten such strange looks in my whole life.

I have learned that with guns and gun ranges, it's an optimal arrangement for an alternative knitting opportunity. There is some shooting, some set up, and a lot of waiting. Only KidBrother Sam and Bromantic Brandon thought this was as funny as I did, once I pointed it out. My humor is deep like that.

The guys decided that I should go second, after Bromantic Brandon, since I had never fired a gun before. He helped me load the clip (for gun enthusiasts, I fired a Kimber Custom TLE II .45ACP M1911A1), walked me through how to stand, breathe, brace my wrists, and how to use the sight. I fired my rounds, and I'll be damned if they didn't all hit the target. Some in the center, even!

I finished my turn, and handed Bromantic Brandon the gun. I was shaking from the adrenaline, my chest ached from the kickback, and I felt sick to my stomach. I decided that I was probably not cut out for a job that requires the handling of firearms. I let the guys know that I appreciated being brought along, thank-you-for-inviting-me, and that I really needed to be going.

Bromantic Brandon headed back up the hill with me, and was thoughtfully making sure that I had a good time, and that I wasn't upset.

"Guns are loud," I told him, "And heavy. And I think it bit me."

He agreed on the first two statements, and suggested that next time I try a lighter gun. And you know what? If I am invited again, I just might. We'll see.

While I don't think I'll ever be an agent of any TLA agency, I still have my imagination, and I will have my tango.

**Shout-outs to sexy movie Government Geeks: Garcia from Criminal Minds, Untraceable, Abby Sciuto from NCIS, and let's not forget Adam Kaufman from 24. As Willow aptly pointed out, "It's the computer age. Nerds are in." (BtVS, Season 1, episode 12, "Prophecy Girl")


  1. This had me laughing! As a native Californian (an someone who, too, always thought about shooting guns as being sexy and tangoy), I recently shot a gun for the first time. Now, living in Ohio, I was out in the middle of god-only-knows-where, shooting at a target on a box. And there was no sexy clothes or tangos, just waterproof boots and mosquitoes. I had the opportunity to shoot two, smaller caliber handguns before shooting a .38 magnum. That one was loud, heavy, and maybe bit me as well. I told my husband that it was so loud it made me want to start crying. Amazingly enough, I landed several shots in the red target. So now my father-in-law tells everyone that my two talents are shooting and knitting.

  2. I've always wanted to learn to shoot too -- haven't had the chance yet, though.

    And I love the never ending supply of data! Because, duh, there's a massive nation-wide database for *everything* and anyone in government can access it, right?

    Either too many TV writers have NO IDEA how technology works, or they're all conspiracy theorists. I'm really not sure which.

  3. I'm Canadian. I think they might revoke my citizenship if I went and shot a gun. You're now my heroine.

  4. You go Jasmin 2009, check it off your bucket list! We're proud of you. At the very least you make knitting look badass!

  5. My husband belongs to our local gun club, goes to the range every weekend he can, and does all of his own reloading. It's his passion, just as knitting is mine. He has wanted me to go with him for a long time, but I've really had no desire to shoot. So, I made a deal with him. If I go shooting with him, he has to try knitting. He's a good ol' boy from the Idaho hills, so I promised I wouldn't tell anyone when it happens.


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