Friendly fire

ou think you know a guy, you spend years going places and doing things with him, you may even fill the bed of his pickup with manure at his wedding, and then one day he says something about himself that you never thought possible. Like maybe he’s had his teeth capped, or something. Women don’t seem to have this problem. Women tend to tell their friends every little thing about themselves, every thought, every feeling, even personal things such as how many children they have and when their birthday is. Men generally don’t care when their friends’ birthdays are and wouldn’t exchange gifts even if they knew. So when I learned something recently about one of my old friends I was, quite frankly, a little surprised. Stephen and David Bynum, identical twins who grew up in San Saba, have been two of my best friends for almost 30 years, and I know them both about as well as I know myself. I spent so much time with them while we were growing up that I could tell them apart as far away as I could see them, even if they weren’t together. I could even tell them apart over the phone. But I guess there are always secrets. David and I were talking about bowhunting recently. He is a Navy Chaplain stationed at NAS Kingsville, and we were discussing the possibilities of him being able to line us up a pig hunt on the nearby King Ranch. During the conversation David casually remarked, “I’ve been shot with an arrow.” After making him repeat himself two or three times, the story finally came out. When Stephen and David were in high school they got interested in archery, and acquired an old bow and some arrows. They were out shooting one day with their friend, Bobby Clark, who is a great big fellow who looks like a bear, and has a very laid back attitude toward life. The boys set some aluminum cans on a log for targets, and took turns retrieving the arrows and setting up the cans. At one point, while he was bent over replacing the cans on the log, David looked over his shoulder and noticed that Bobby had an arrow cocked and was aiming it in the general direction of the log. This is not a safe practice to engage in, and David turned around and told Bobby not to point that thing at him, and then went back to setting up the cans. About the time Bobby said, “Don’t worry, I won’t let it . . .” he let it go. The string probably just slipped out of his fingers, which goes to show you that you should never talk while you have a bow drawn and aimed at one of your friends. David was facing away from Bobby, and the arrow flew between his legs and hit him in the forearm, penetrating about an inch and a half. Luckily David had the presence of mind to follow the recommended procedure for someone who has been shot with an arrow. He started jumping around, screaming, and pulled the arrow out to allow most of his blood to squirt out onto the ground. Now, you’re probably thinking, “How could anyone be stupid enough to aim a loaded bow at a friend'” That’s a very good question, but we shouldn’t be too hard on Bobby. For one thing he’s bigger than we are, and he knows where we live. We’re also dealing with “adolescent male brain disorder” here, which causes teenage boys to do all sorts of dumb things, such as play “bull” with their pickups and drink Tabasco straight from the bottle. Instead of condemning Bobby for pulling such a knothead stunt, what we really should do is look at what he did right, so that he won’t decide to come to our home and rearrange our face. For one thing, if you’re going to shoot a friend with an arrow, you should always aim for a part of their anatomy which doesn’t contain many vital organs. In this case David was hit in the arm, where very few vital organs are known to be located. Bobby also used an arrow fitted with an old, blunt field tip. Broad-heads should never be used when shooting friends, as they tend to cause a great deal of tissue damage. Lastly, before you shoot someone, you should make sure they are smaller than yourself. Of course, almost everyone is smaller than Bobby, since he is six foot three and 300 pounds, but the rest of us would do well to pick our target very carefully. There is always the chance that they will get well. Archery is an enjoyable family activity which can provide hours of entertainment, and translates well to hunting simply by adding broadheads to normal arrows. But use common sense and observe some basic rules of safety, or else your pickup bed could end up full of manure at your wedding. . . Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and avid bowhunter who would never shoot a friend with a broadhead. Write to him at PO Box 564, Mason, Tx 76856 or email hemphill@towa.org

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