“If I don’t deserve the credit, why do I deserve the blame?”






I draw the hammer back like a wolf peels its lips to bare its fangs.


I keep my eye on the iron sights.


Just like the best pistoleers the U.S. Government has on its payroll taught me.




The revolver a friend loaned me feels comfortable in my hands.


(Even though I grew up in New Jersey, with a mother that hated guns and a father that loved her too much to argue with her.)


I breathe.


Slow and steady.


On my exhale, the weapon roars.




I let it howl for me.


All my rage in a compact .357 dimension.


The silhouette barely moves, as a round passes through its center like a sultry woman’s words in a man’s ear.


Powerfully yet almost imperceptibly.




Now, a lot of men throw lead downrange angry.


Thinking of the folks that hurt them or would, if given half a chance.


I’m not those men.


Not quite.




I’m not thinking of the fiancé that left me on Christmas Day for another man.


I’m not imagining the best friend I had that abandoned me when I needed him most.


I’m not pretending the target is the amalgamation of the officials that drummed me out of my career in disgrace and shame.




The silhouette is a mirror.




I’m shooting at me.


The fat, old, broken man I’ve allowed myself to become.


The fuck-up that made more than a decade’s worth of bad decisions.


The fool that let women and the outside world determine his value. 


While bullet after bullet finds the paper reflection of the broken heart that brought me low.




After I finish the ammo a good friend generously gave me, I look at my work.





Not bad, old man.


Not bad.




Then I think on these tweets:



And what they, despite their humorous tone, reveal.




That, even with all my flaws, there’s something respectable – perhaps even a bit intimidating – left inside me.


Just waiting for aim to be taken.


And the trigger pulled.




Call it:


Six-gun salvation.


Who knows?


Maybe you need to realize your powder is still good, too.







18 Responses to ““If I don’t deserve the credit, why do I deserve the blame?””

  1. Nice post. Target shooting is fun, no doubt. And can be therapeutic. So is working out. If I can make a suggestion, stop being a old fat man, and start becoming an old, lean strong man.

    • MD,

      Excellent suggestion. I’ll take you up on it.

      Thanks for the kind words

      All the best to you and yours,

    • MD,

      I wanted you to know I joined a gym since you commented and have gone every day since.

      Here’s to the habit of a lifetime.

      Stay well,


      • Congrats! Joining a gym is actually a significant milestone. I’m not sure how knowledgeable you are about working out or nutrition, but if you want any advice feel free to shoot me an email. I’m no expert but I am a lean and strong 50 year old, with 3 decade of experience in fitness.

        Cheers to a new start.

    • MD,

      I greatly appreciate your kind wishes and, most of all, your willingness to help me along my path.

      I may very well email you at some point in the coming week.

      All the best to you and yours,


  2. VERY timely post, A♠. Within the past hour an acronym came into my mind:

    PBSD – Post Beta Stress Disorder

    As you’ve noted before, we should bury that old man. Mourn his naive passing and move on. But like an old Somme veteran, long after the last echo of angry drumfire has receded into the past, his life will ever after be defined and shaped by this experience. Loss not merely of friends, but years of youth and vigour … beliefs and certitude … blood and treasure. Reflexes that ensured his survival during wartime now useless baggage that will hamper his life in peacetime.

    Naturally it should be kept in mind, these were men who faced an unrelenting threat of sudden violent personal extinction. Only in analogy could we equate our experience with stark horror like that. The point is they were there because their societies taught them it was appropriate that they be there. Long before the shooting stopped they knew the truth.

    We were enslaved and plundered by our own society, and especially its women, as if we actually DID lose a war. As if our lands were overthrown in a violent revolution and we are the Ancien Regime loaded onto the tumbrils. Our extirpation proclaimed in the media as if it is already accomplished historical fact.

    Shooting the man – in metaphor ONLY of course – who led you into disaster is, indeed, Holistic Suicide. Unequivocal and implacable revolt against the society who tried to shape us into a consumable cog. A worn-out plow still has plenty of steel left for a sword.

    Long Live the Revolt, my friend. Be blessed.

    • JD,

      “Shooting the man – in metaphor ONLY of course – who led you into disaster is, indeed, Holistic Suicide.”

      Truer words were never spoken.

      As always, your comment speaks volumes.

      All the best to you and yours,


  3. I’d recommend everyone who’s on a journey to fix themselves, read it when it seems like it’s all coming down.

    Also – excellent shot group.

    From what distance are you shooting?


    • Wald,

      Sincere thanks.

      I shoot mostly between 15 and 20′ as that’s where the majority of gunfights occur.

      Recall, I’m not – and never have been – a soldier (in the official sense).

      Stay well,


      • That’s as good a distance as any.

        There’s little need to be accurate with a pistol beyond that distance, even in combat (automatic rifle almost always suits you better past 20′ anyway).


  4. This is a take on “die-to-self” that I hadn’t considered before. Might be worth trying…

  5. If you were given the option right now to win $50 million in a lottery, or go back to your 18th birthday knowing everything you know now—which would you choose?

    If everyone on the planet were 6ft. in height, there would be no tall or short. If every day were 70º, there would be no warm or cold. If there is no pain, you cannot experience joy. If there is no hate, you cannot experience love. If there is no offence, you cannot experience forgiveness. Every molecule of your being already knows everything there is to know. But knowing isn’t understanding, not without the experience. You can describe sex to a virgin a thousand different ways, but the virgin will never have your understanding without the experience. This is the Biblical Parable of Talents… the servant who buried his master’s gift so as not to lose anything ends up being chastised by the master when he returns. The Talent given is your life. Doing nothing with it out of fear of losing something is the greatest of waste, because it denies the very reason you’re here.

    Having your heart broken is doing something.

    Having your wealth plundered is doing something.

    Having your reputation crushed unjustly is doing something.

    Have you ever noticed what sports reporters ask every champion moments after their victory? “Tell me, how does it feel…?”

    The reporter asks because he’s never had the experience. This is the virgin asking you what sex feels like.

    How does it feel to have your heart broken? You didn’t see it coming because you didn’t want to see it coming. Everything became obvious afterwards, as it should be. You wanted the experience of pain, so that you could appreciate the feeling of joy. You don’t need to experience this pain twice to have context, so you now see the warning signs when they arise. Experience hasn’t made you jaded, cynical or broken. It’s victory. It’s a greater gift than any winning lottery ticket. So smile you son of a gun.

    • Myopia,

      You touch on a ton of points I was planning on addressing in a post.

      Now, I’ve no excuse to forgo such.

      “You didn’t see it coming because you didn’t want to see it coming. Everything became obvious afterwards, as it should be.”

      Spot on.

      More than is comfortable to admit, in fact.

      But then, that’s why we’re here.

      All the best to you and yours,


    • Myopia,

      I neglected to mention in my reply:

      I’m smiling now.



    • Myopia,

      Golf clap. Fantastic.

      We were going the wrong way until experience showed us the right way. The harder the experience, the deeper and more thorough the lesson derived.

      My personality is still a vivid shade of Beta Blue, but my win/loss ratio has tilted dramatically since the men like our esteemed host here gave a language and a context to explain those experiences. Like a secret decoder ring that may not reveal the location of the treasure but at least you know where the land mines are … and there are many.

      My own experiences haven’t made me a financial or relationship expert, but my knowledge of what NOT to do has become encyclopedic. That certainly makes decisions a lot simpler!

      • JD,

        I confess:

        I laughed out loud at “My own experiences haven’t made me a financial or relationship expert, but my knowledge of what NOT to do has become encyclopedic.”

        The guffaw was fraternal, not mocking in any sense.

        Because, frankly-

        That’s EXACTLY from whence my wisdom comes.



      • (Ace may have told me this)

        The old joke goes:

        “Dad – where does good judgement come from?


        Where does experience come from?

        Bad judgement.”


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