I waited a long time for the Olympics. When they finally arrived I got my stand ready and I began. First, there were the old ladies. You always start with the old ladies because they're so slow-moving and nearly impossible to miss. You get a couple of good old ladies and then everyone notices and everything really starts to wiggle. It becomes more difficult then, yes, with all the distracting shouts. But difficulty is a challenge, and a challenge overcome is a delight. After the old ladies I go for the quickest moving of those who remain. Those are usually the alert young men. There's not a lot of those anymore. After you get the young men you just take what comes. On day four it was a guy weighted down with a tuba. Then there was a woman in red body paint. I skipped the boy with the patch over his eye. It's never indiscriminate, you know. It can't be. Indiscriminate means shots wasted. You always lose that way. It has to be precise. Deliberate. Conscious. Targeted. We're not spray painting here. We're sharp shooting. Anyway, it went on for some time. You know the Olympics is a two week event. And it doesn't come all that often so you really got to take advantage of it when it's there. I enjoyed all the festivities surrounding it, too. That's part of doing something well, I think. Finding a balance. There was the camaraderie with the other athletes. A little lager in the mess. But not too much. I know how much I can handle without unsteadying my hand. So much of this has to do with steadiness, you know, with calm, and with not fearing the recoil of the weapon, or its report, or results. A two week event. Yeah, it was grand. I've never shot so well. A lot of my buddies find me morbid. They say my technique is disturbing. They say they shoot best by thinking of the targets as targets; that if they try to think of them as people it distracts their concentration. And they've tried my method, believe me. Success like mine does not go unnoticed and uncopied. But the rest just can't bear it. It's not a target, I tell them. Call it a human being. A human being with a savings account and a favorite movie and a grandma and a stick of juicy fruit in his mouth. You have to feel this thoroughly, really believe it, or my method won't work for you. The target then is living, you know. The target becomes your equal. You are doing something meaningful then. Measured. Focused. That's what makes me so good at this. My buddies just blanch. But, at the end, which of us is standing up their shaking the hand of the president? Which of us? Me, I'll tell you! Me! When they told me I won, I wasn't surprised at all. There was some competition, yeah. I mean, I wasn't the only one getting a medal hung around my neck. I wasn't alone on the podium. Altogether, it was pretty fun and cheerful. I thought the president seemed like a nice guy. He has a funny smile though that I didn't expect to look so real up close. His handshake was strong. He was a little skinny. I liked the part where he talked about that "Conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifle squad leader..." I wasn't sure he really understood what he was talking about when he said that, though. I mean, the people never shoot back at me or anything. And I didn't expect there to be so many winners. I mean, what kind of competition can it be if they're giving medals to everyone? And all these "medals of honor" looked the same. Weren't they supposed to be gold and silver and bronze? And why was it in that small hall at the White House instead of in the big sports stadium like I expected? Maybe it made it easier for all the cameras. But who am I to question? I just do my job. It's just my job. I shoot people. That's what I do. And I always remember they're people. That's what makes me so good at it. That's what got me my medal. Goddamn, the Olympics are fine!
turn page >>>