One of my chores growing up was to dust the furniture.Hanging near our front door was a stuffed and mounted mallard duck. Like the furniture, it would collect its weekly coating of dust. I would attempt to dust this thing and, much to my horror, the head would usually fall off. Why did we have an animal carcass as part of our home décor? You don’t see that as part of the home collection at Belk these days.I think it’s because people, for some reason, like to shoot stuff, and stuff what they shoot. My husband and our 7-year-old son have taken to target practice in the backyard with Phil’s BB gun. We don’t live on several acres in the country. We live in a development, and I’m pretty sure the neighbors don’t want us shooting at their houses.So we shoot at our own. Phil taped a paper target to a box and set it up a few yards in front of our attached garage. I raised my eyebrows at the location of the target.“The kids won’t hit the house,” he assured me.Who said anything about the kids? This is the same man who put his grill next to the siding and thus managed to warp a good 20 square-foot section. You could only tell from certain angles, he later insisted. In his defense, I admit the hamburgers were perfectly cooked. So was the house.We ordered a box of siding. Good thing, too, because within 24 hours of turning our yard into a firing range, there were two holes in the back of the house. I will give Phil credit; it wasn’t him. It was the kids.And in case you’re wondering, BBs do not make BB-sized holes in siding. The holes are more like quarters. Which reminds me: Why are we wasting good money on siding to learn to shoot things that, apparently, serve no better use than to hang on the wall and occasionally lose their heads in freak dusting accidents?It wasn’t long after the BB incident that we did some heavy landscaping in that area of the yard. It’s amazing what a roll of duct tape and a trellis can hide. I suppose we’ll save the extra siding for when he gets a cannon. Or a barbecue smoker.When our son was 5, Phil decided he needed to go hunting. They bagged a single squirrel. Our child was horrified; I was somewhat relieved.Still, the meat was not to be wasted. They cleaned it, dressed it and carefully preserved it in plastic. It has been sitting in the bottom of my freezer for two years. At least I don’t have to dust it.If shooting were completely separate from violence, I might consider it a fun hobby. But target practice means something will be destroyed, whether it’s vinyl siding, a soon-to-be-dusty mallard, or a soon-to-be-frostbitten squirrel.But there’s no stopping the guys in my household. At this moment, Phil is on his way to a friend’s house to practice with his new pistol. On the way over there, honey, you may want to stop and pick up a roll of duct tape and a nice, tall shrub.
Monday, Aug. 19, 2013
Taking target practice against the house? First, buy replacement siding and a tall shrub
Erica Batten is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Erica? Email her at email@example.com.
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