I shouldn’t have done it, but I did and now I’m paying for it, much like the golfer who has announced that he has finally gotten his swing and game in order and the next time out plays like he doesn’t know which end of the club to hold.
It’s the reason some people superstitiously knock on wood to cover the mistake that has come out of their loose lips. The sappier among them knock on their noggin when there is no real wood nearby, which is yet another sign of practical and moral decay in a world that has turned to particle board furniture.
I know I shouldn’t have done it and now I’m paying the consequences. After a couple months of shooting as well as I ever have, I’m shooting as bad as I ever have. It all came to a head yesterday as a flight of roughly a dozen pintail came down the dike, directly at me and well within range, followed by “Bang…Bang………Bang*…Shit!”
In my circle, it is the lament of the marsh, the woeful whine of the hunter who has missed, missed and missed again, followed by the single and universal word that announces his utter and disgraceful failure.
It would happen again a short time later when a spoonie passed in front of me and later again when a pair of pintail cruised by. And then it happened again when that same large group of pintail came by as if to see if I had actually been shooting at them earlier. I had of course, but how would they know it in the absence of any tangible evidence like a ruffled feather? My auditory acuity is not what is was a few thousand rounds ago, but I still know the sound of ducks, or doves, or quail, or grouse, or pheasant laughing at me – and it hurts.
I know what I was doing wrong. Instead of fluidly tracking the target and swinging through it, I was pointing ahead of it and pulling the trigger. It is the same thing that happens every time. Just when I think I have figured things out, and maybe even made some off hand announcement that sounds conspicuously like bragging, my shooting goes off the rails and crashes horribly.
By most counts, particularly my own when I was much younger, I am an old man, but even so and as stubborn in my ways as I am, I’m going to try to change from now on by keeping my mouth shut. No more gloating, no more bragging curse and if it can mercifully be lifted from heavily bowed shoulders -hopefully no more “Bang…Bang……..Bang*…Shit!”
*An Editing Note of Significance: In the most recent past seasons when I was shooting a double barrel gun, the lament of the marsh included only two “Bangs.” The recent change to semi-auto shotguns with the capability of missing yet another shot in succession accounts for the third “Bang.”
Should you wish to assist in efforts to lift the “Bragging Curse”** please consider gathering a small bundle of dried white sage picked from a south facing slope, and burn it between the rise of the next full moon and dawn.