Stress busters. I’ve tried them all. From lavender bath salts to meditative yoga to compulsive chocolate digestive eating, I’m yet to find the ideal solution.After being set an essay that threatened to ruin my weekend, desperate times called for desperate measures. Mere stress busting would not do: I needed something that would smash it to smithereens. It was time to call in the clay pigeon shooting club to help me let off a considerable amount of steam.
Lest it be feared that I’m a potential threat to my fellow students, I can assure you that everything was monitored and controlled by excellent coaches, who provided an in-depth safety talk before letting us anywhere near the weapons. Once outside, I was first to have a go. Let me tell you, those guns are powerful machines, and not to be underestimated. I heaved it up on my shoulder, waited for my target to be released, pulled the trigger – and missed by a mile. “Oh, but it feels good, doesn’t it?” the coach said with a grin. A few pathetic attempts later, I finally hit one. My stress had been blown to pieces, and what was left of it lay scattered across the field in front of us. “Atta girl!” the coach called out, giving me a mighty pat on the back.I took a break to allow others to get their thrills, and noticed my cheek getting sore. One of the more experienced shooters explained that I probably wasn’t “cuddling” my gun properly. I never thought I would hear the words “cuddle” and “gun” in the same sentence, but there you go. On my next turn I clutched the gun close into my cheek and took aim – only to be stopped by my coach to correct my posture. The best stance is, apparently, sticking out your bottom and leaning slightly forward. Not the most ladylike of positions, I’ll admit, but since I hit considerably more targets this time round, it was a concession I was more than happy to make.
Having sorted out my stance, there were certain technical tricks that would also help me. I’m no physics whizz kid, and the thought of calculating the precise point to shoot so that you don’t miss the moving target was enough to get my brain thoroughly muddled. “You’re over-complicating things, my dear,” the coach reassured me. The trick is – so I’m told – to shoot just slightly ahead of the target, so that it will fly into the shot and meet its bitter end.Imagining the clay pigeon that was now flying across the sky, oblivious to the shot that would soon blast it apart, was in fact that horrible supervisor who had set me the unwelcome essay, I followed the coach’s instructions. As it collided with the shot I had fired and showered down in fragments, I felt a sense of cruel gratification. When I got back to college I still had to write the essay. But I nevertheless smirked with satisfaction knowing, in my mind at least, that I’d taken my revenge.