Archer: (n) a person who shoots with a bow and arrows, especially at a target for sport.
When I was growing up, the pursuit of sports in my home was very seasonal–not in the sense of baseball in the summer and football in the fall, but rather, attention span.
My father and brothers developed interests in activities, and always would find a “good deal” on equipment relating to this endeavor, which they would purchase, only to discover that the materials were inferior, which made it impossible to adequately perform the task.
- We bought a canoe that leaked.
- We had some water skis that were cracked and fell apart the first time someone got on them in the water.
- We had a basketball hoop that was supposed to be easy to set up in your driveway which never got higher than four feet.
Likewise, while watching Robin Hood one day on the television set, my older brother wanted to purchase a bow and arrows. My father thought it was “a champion idea.”
So with no understanding whatsoever of archery, they set out to the local hardware store, where the proprietor sold them one of his old bows and six arrows for “a really good deal.”
Without exaggerating, I will tell you that it took them two weeks to learn how to string the bow. The amount of energy it took to bend the bow for stringing nearly crippled their comprehension. The power required to pull the bow back, to shoot the arrow even two feet, was also extraordinarily daunting.
But after a couple of months, they convinced themselves they were experts on the subject and took me out to the woods to try my hand at shooting at a target.
I hated it immediately.
It took too much energy to pull the string, and because the bow was bent from the numerous attempts to manipulate it to our will, the arrows flew crooked, more resembling boomerangs.
After about the sixth attempt, they were ready to have a competition, to see who could hit the target the most often.
My dad stood ten feet to the side, away from the target, so he could give instruction to my brother and myself to make the competition more interesting.
I pulled back the bow and was ready to shoot it when my dad piped up and said, “No, Jonathan! Use more of your thumb!”
Not understanding what he said, I turned towards him in order to be respectful to his instruction, and as I did I slipped and released the arrow, which flew through the air, knocking his hat off.
It was William Tell without the apple.
My dad never said anything about it, but we quickly packed up the gear and it was stored from that point on, in the garage … next to the half-water ski.
Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) — J.R. Practix