Today is my birthday, and to celebrate, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. I promised myself a few years back when I was younger–and not as panicked as I am now–that I would step out of my comfort zone at least once a year and try something classified under the heading of “daring-do stuff.” Sort of like a bucket list, only without the bucket, since I didn’t make a list limiting myself to specifics, like jumping out of airplanes (not in a million years) or climbing Mt. Everest (“because it’s there” is not a good enough excuse to climb something taller than a stepladder). It was just a simple promise to myself to broaden my experiences. Now, one would think that turning 60 would be dangerous enough to get me off the hook for 2012. It is, after all, something I’ve never done before (and won’t do again, a fact that I’m a bit ambivalent about, actually). And, it definitely gets me out of my comfort zone, as my 50’s were very comfortable indeed (I had, obviously, ten years to get used to them). But it doesn’t count because it’s not voluntary…I have no choice but to become 60, because that’s what comes after 59.
Therefore, for my one deliberate act of daring-do for 2012, tonight at 6:30, I am going to travel across town and boldly walk into a Gun Shop (I bet you thought I was going to say “strip club” but I’ve already done that). Before you snicker and tell yourself you could walk into a Gun Shop with one hand tied behind your back, please be advised that (and this is the daring-do part) not only am I going to walk into a Gun Shop, I’m going to actually pick up a gun and actually shoot it.
It all started when my husband walked in from work one day and said, “how’d you like to get your concealed handgun license?”
“Huh?” I eloquently replied.
“Your concealed handgun license,” he repeated, wide-eyed and expectant.
I thought about it for a minute, and let the import of the question sink in.
I have to admit, I’m not sure I want to do this. It surprises me that I’m more hesitant about this than I was about climbing on a motorcycle twelve years ago, which could be because (a) twelve years ago I wasn’t as smart as I am now, or (b) my definition of “living life with gusto” has undergone a subtle, albeit definite, change, probably because of (a) above. Either excuse would give me license to back out, but I’m not going to do that. I’m going to keep my word to myself, boldly trudge forward, pick up a pistol, and, hopefully, avoid shooting my foot off.
To put this in its proper context for those of you who haven’t read my very short–but succinct–“About Me” page on this blog, I live in Texas. The land of cowboys, tumble weeds, Judge Roy Bean, and, yes, concealed handgun laws. To be honest, I haven’t given the issue of the right to carry a concealed weapon much thought. I’m a very trusting person (spelled n-a-i-v-e) who believes that everybody who carries a gun on their person, in secret, out of sight, unbeknownst to anybody else, has been thoroughly and properly vetted as a Pillar of Good Citizenship. Probably more to the point, though, since the issue is a pretty polarizing one down here, I’d just as soon stay on everybody’s good side, especially the good side of those who carry concealed handguns. In this case, ignorance is bliss.
Anyway, once my brain rebooted itself and I began to mull it over, it occurred to me that before I took to carrying one around in my purse (or strapped to my thigh, like Honey West), I’d have to know how to shoot one. I mean, isn’t that sort of a prerequisite?
Which brings me to the apex of my discomfort with the whole idea…if I learn how to shoot a gun, handle it safely, accept responsibility for it, I take the risk of becoming obligated to educate myself about the whole right-to-carry issue. I just might actually have to jump off the fence, form an opinion–an actual well-thought-out opinion–with facts to back it up. That gives me the willies just thinking about it.
On the upside, that gives me two daring-do’s for 2012, making 2013 a bye.