OK, Yes! I shot my foot! Now shuttup!

I'm not Wild Bill, obviously. Unless there are legends he kept secret.

OK, Yes! I shot my foot! Now shuttup!
New Bourne movie...The Blockhead Conundrum.

This will be my most embarrassing story since I picked DeSantis to lead the Republican field. And I'm a guy who has spent a lifetime in broadcasting embarrassing myself pretty much daily. But this one pretty much takes the cake, and any other pastries handy.

I shot myself in the foot. On purpose.

I know, that makes no sense, and even when I explain, it probably won't either. Let me start with the fact that ostensibly, I'm a Texan. Though I have some thoughts on things like AR15s, and how inappropriate I find them to be for the civilian market, I have guns and I enjoy shooting. I've never been a hunter, but I generally have nothing against it, other than a certain lack of understanding when a deer is having a perfectly splendid morning only to have it cut short by, well, being killed.

Yeah, I like old stuff.

So, other than big, rare, and declining species, I don't have any real arguments with hunting. And this day, I was after a creature we universally hate. I was hunting mosquitos.

Luckily I didn't have a bazooka.

OK, let me explain. Since we live in a small town now, though on an acre and a half of nicely treed land, I don't shoot real guns here. I love playing with air guns. Targets, vermin, that sort of thing. And it was a balmy Saturday afternoon on the deck, before this ghastly heat set in, and I was popping pine cones with a nice little air pistol.


It's a small Daisy BB pistol, powered by a Co2 powerlet. It sends a BB out the business end at about 475 feet per second, about a third the velocity of a .22 caliber bullet. It's fun to plink with when your yard is big enough and real guns are out of the question.

The culprit...well other than the moron holding it.

So, It was a lovely day, with a glass of wine, and lots of pine cones to test my skills on. Did I mention wine? At any rate, since the heat was not an issue yet, there were mosquitos buzzing around as well, and when I got tired of swatting and squishing, I had a brainstorm. The gun was empty of BBs but still had plenty of compressed Co2, I thought, why don't I just pop them with an empty airgun?

And it worked well. Knocked the little buggers, and the occasional fly, off my pants, off the side table, etc. Frankly, in a sort of 10-year-old boy way, it was fun. Only a 10-year-old could have predicted what came next. Now, I was wearing deck shoes with no socks at the time, and one of the little blood suckers landed on my bare foot. Knowing it's just a puff of air, I took aim.

Yeah, I know...

You can probably make out a small dot on the side of my foot in the restaged photo. That is where the "Puff of air" hit. Except it wasn't a puff when it hit bare skin. It was a wound, and wouldn't you know, that mosquito was about to chow down on an artery. Well, that's his job after all, and he was as accurate as I was in dispatching him. I stared for a split-second, and then blood actually began pumping out. I mean pumping, like in a war movie. You can see the results on the rug on our deck...

I have lasting evidence of the results of bad planning.

After a couple of requisite "Oh, shits!" I remembered my Boy Scout training and pressed on the little dot with all my might. I called for Karen in the house to bring me a towel, and she thus became the first actual, thinking human being I had to confess to that I had shot my foot. On purpose. After her obligatory "What? Why?" she brought me the towel and I stopped the bleeding. I apparently coagulate well.

Believe me, when Miss Kitty told Matt Dillon to "be careful, Matt," she never meant, "Don't shoot your damned foot, you dumbass." But my Miss Kitty was filled with that strange combination of concern and incredulous pity for the man she'd plighted her troth to. A decision she must have been questioning at that moment.

After it was cleaned up and bandaged, I wondered what in the hell I hit. I did a little research and it is an artery called the dorsalis pedis artery (DPA) and is a main artery of the foot. It is the bottom end of the femoral artery that runs down the inner leg, you know, the one that can kill you if it is breached.

Figure, Dorsalis Pedis Artery. StatPearls Publishing ...
For the record, this is not a place to shoot yourself. You've been warned.

Once I read that, and in the description of the possible effect of injury saw the phrase "necrotic tissue," I again uttered a few "oh, shits" and went to the doctor the next day. Not only did I have to explain to the nurse what I had done, but then the doctor herself. She had to ask me twice, "You did, what?"

I am a man of a certain age, and with age is supposed to come wisdom. It is hard to explain that 70-sum years of acquired experience, maturity, and perspective can go out the window when you have a chance to shoot a mosquito off your foot. She gathered herself up and, I presume stifled a laugh and an urge to ask if I was drunk, and told me it looked alright but to get some imaging done. I'm guessing it was the mood elevator for the clinic for the rest of the day. "You broke your leg? Well, at least you didn't mean to. There was this guy in here this morning..."

Great, now I get to go to the imaging center the next day and explain this all over again. Luckily I could get away with telling the receptionist that I simply injured my foot without the humiliating details. But the imaging tech was a perfectly lovely young woman and I got to let her know that her patient today is a numbskull who didn't know any better than to...well, you know the rest. Then, of course, the "What? Why?" from her as well. Dropping your drawers to get your entire leg scanned is embarrassing enough, but the giggles added relish to this humiliating stew.

But then, there is work. I anchor the news for a radio station in Tyler, TX, and make a long drive up there every day. A radio station that, in this case, is a primarily male atmosphere, with the exception of one newswoman who is more acerbic and sharp than any guy I've met in the business in 53 years. She, and my male colleagues would be merciless. I pictured a cake ordered with a drawing of a Red Ryder aimed at a cartoon foot.

I could have claimed an icicle hit me and broke my glasses.

So, like Ralphie, I had to whip up a plausible lie for my pronounced limp. I claimed to all and sundry that I had twisted my ankle badly and my trip to the imaging center the previous day was to make sure I hadn't broken anything. Then came the questions. "Oh, no. How did it happen?"

Well, OK, now I had to invent a whole scenario involving yard work on our 1 1/2 acres and some uneven land and a rolled ankle and fall, and...it started getting complicated. As my long-suffering better half can tell you, I lie badly.

So, finally, my lovely wife of 41 years told me to give it up and write about it. Like Mike Pence, she is just too honest.

So, there you are and I end with the requisite warning, "Do not try this at home, kids." No, seriously, even if you are an, uh, older kid.

Roger Gray has toiled at the journalism trade since 1970 and his first radio news job at KTRH in Houston. Over those woefully misspent years, he has worked in radio, TV and written for magazines. He was twice elected President of the Texas Automobile Writers Association and was elected to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He covered the first Persian Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, Oslo Accords in Israel and peace talks in Ireland. He interviewed writers, actors, politicians and every President from Ford to George W, and none of them remember him.
Now, he is part of the Texas Outlaw Writers, and if this doesn't pan out, the outlaw part will still work as he will indeed resort to robbing banks.