My First Trip To The Shooting Range

I’ve done all my shooting outside.

Sunday, a friend had a birthday.

A few days previous, she emailed:

This Sunday December 13th, my b-day, release your rage, at an indoor range downtown at about 2pm. Its really cheap, too.

If that is not reason enough, afterwards we are meeting up at my second favorite place in LA around 3:30.

House of Pies
1869 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

So I skip the Dallas Cowboys game. “You want me to meet you at your place,” I ask. “Or do you want to scoop me up?”

“I’ll scoop you up,” she says. And she does at 1:20 pm.

She’s nervous. It’s her 41st birthday. In her car, she has on Garrison Keilor’s Prairie Home Companion. Cars are flying around unpredictably. It feels dangerous.

I keep checking the football score on my Blackberry.

Her phone buzzes.

“Please don’t answer that while you’re driving,” I ask.

“You’re one to talk,” she says. “I’m not going to answer it.”

We’re driving along the 10 East at 65mph and she’s picking up her phone to see who called. During that glance, we travel 100 yards.

We arrive at the shooting range after 20 minutes. I feel nervous driving to and around downtown LA. It seems like a separate world from the westside.

I bring my gun inside. I give them my driver’s license. I sign forms certifying that I don’t have mental problems. I give my thumb print. I get 50 bullets. We select our targets, put on our glasses, put on our headphones and go in.

It’s loud and smells of gunpowder. We’re both scared.

I load my gun, send my target 50 yards away, and start shooting.

After 50 bullets, I’m done for the day. I sit beside the TV and watch the football game.

I talk to her friends between plays. A few times I say things like, “If you let me do this dance, I’ll be completely secure and won’t need any attention for the rest of the days.” Or, “If you let me tell this joke, I’ll be…” Or, “If you’ll just let me show off about how much I know on this subject, I’ll be…”

Then we head for the House of Pies. I take off my yarmulke. I tuck in my tzitzit. I look around to see if any Orthodox Jews are watching. Then I go inside the non-kosher restaurant and resolutely refuse to eat anything.

When the waitress announces she’s going home for the day, I prompt my friend to leave a tip.

I get home at 6pm without having spent a penny! Not even on gas!

My man-whoring days are back.

Beth emails: Good blog. But, manwhoring? Please. When someone invites a guest to an event he or she is supposed to pay for it. But let’s not talk etiquette. Let’s talk about how your friend did this nice, correct thing, with as far as I can tell from what you wrote, no expectation of you (you’re supposed to reciprocate, BTW). That’s because your friend is a lady. I’ll go further, it’s because your friend is a woman. If it were reversed, could you honestly say you’d have had no motive, no expectation? I ask not because of any flaw I perceive in you as a person but because you’re a guy. In my experience, men always have an agenda when they do anything for their female friends. And another thing. Why is it that men can be as close as brothers with other men but women always want to scratch each other’s eyes out? This is why pretty much every friend I have is male or a lesbian. The only straight girls I count among my friends are the partners of my male friends. These guys might want to sleep with me but at least I don’t have to wonder what they’re saying about me when I’m not there.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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