Lucky Girl, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Come Out Shooting

It’s better to be lucky than good. If you’re not good enough you can always work harder… but if you’re not lucky, you’re pretty much cooked.

Lesson One

I feel I have been very lucky.

I have been very lucky in my friends, who taken all together are an odd lot! But when my heart and mind connect to someone else, I become better and smarter and faster — and often, so do they.

I think a meeting of true minds works like this for all of us, I’m not suggesting that friendship with me has magical side effects.

My most unusual — and in many ways most valuable — friend is Doc, a man twenty years older than I am, who taught me to shoot pistols. I don’t just mean he took me to the range a couple of times; we have formed a longstanding alliance based on mutual respect, affection and willingness to provide effort. I won two Ladies’ National Championships under his direction, and he is the happy proprietor of a web site built by me that has doubled the value of his business several times over the last decade.


So, it’s easy to see that this was a mutually satisfactory arrangement. And it still is. But what I really owe Doc is what he taught me about how to trust myself.

A gun range is a great place to learn about yourself in relation to others, especially if you are a woman. There were other women shooters around the range, but they tended to be there with husbands or boyfriends. I have a husband, but I usually went to the range by myself — or with Doc. This gave rise to rumors, as you might imagine, which left me with two choices: face it out, or slink back home and take up knitting instead.

I’m a feminist (of course!) and would never welcome a choice pushed on me by old-fashioned thinking about my supposed place in the world. But I learned this: it’s easy to think that, if you know what’s true in your own heart, you can stare down anyone who thinks they know differently. But it’s much harder to do!

And I was not the only person affected by these particular rumors. When I realized what people were saying,the first thing I did was take Doc’s wife out for lunch, and offer to get lost. Like her husband, she shrugged off my concerns. I am very lucky.

Most of the people who were prepared to believe such a thing were not a worry to me anyway, but I did feel shock and distaste from some people who heard the rumors and weren’t able to discern the truth. Knowing I had the support of the people who mattered most to me, I learned to live with it.

I guess that the “courage” of my convictions developed over time, like any other kind of courage, and now I can face down anything at all.