Friday, December 7, 2012

Childhood Memory, Current Malady: The Shotgun Wad


One day when I was about twelve years old I was walking my paper route in the suburban/rural outskirts of Buffalo, New York, when I came to the house of a schoolmate I'll call J.B. (Haven't heard a thing about him in decades.) We'd known each other since kindergarten. I remember him being a nice enough guy, but we weren't close friends.

J.B. was standing at the front door of his house as I walked up. I think we exchanged a few words, maybe I handed him his family's newspaper. I walked on, paper bag over my shoulder.

When I was maybe fifteen, maybe twenty feet away, I was suddenly hit in the center of my back by...something. At the same time a huge sound (or maybe just a "bang") exploded. I was thrown several feet forward, face first to the ground, with a feeling like I'd been kicked in the back by a moose.

I got to my knees and turned around. J.B. was standing at his front door, shotgun (20-gauge, pretty sure) in his hand.

I don't remember how the information was conveyed (I think he just told me; I don't think I was saying much) but I somehow found out that he'd taken the shot out a shotgun shell and shot me with the shell's plastic wad. Like he figured that might be a fun thing to do.

I left. Feeling hurt, feeling scared, feeling dumb. I don't think I ever told my parents. Hurt like hell.

I've got a back problem now, 13 years and counting - unfortunately worsening these days - surrounding a spot in the center of my back. Related? Who knows? One wonders, though. Or at least I do.

I also wonder if J.B. became a serial killer.

The pic up top (from here) shows the parts of a shotgun shell. J.B. took the shot (the BBs) out of the shell he used to shoot me. That plastic thing you see, which they call a "shot cup" (we always called it a "wad"), was what hit me. May not seem like much; maybe you can try it yourself if you think so.


  1. Hey Joe....
    Where ya going with that BB gun?

    Sorry, that's what I thought about when I read this post.

  2. Ha! I've been thinking af that song, lately.

    Damn - you've got a good memory!

  3. Hey man, I feel for you. Both the incident and your back trouble in general. Even a tomato at enough velocity can do real damage. Don't pieces of straw get stuck in trees during tornados? Sorry to hear about your back. Mine went out on my this past Monday and I was in serious pain. Every day I've gotten a little farther on that evolutionary know the one that shows the stages of ape to man. I might have just reached "Home Erectus" today! I actually did 3 shows in less than 24 hours this weekend. Luckily I had Samarra to drive me to and from and lend support. I could also sit at all 3 and I had a little pharmaceutical help for the 2 last night. But it is no picnic and I'm a long way from 100%. I have what is probably a congenital defect in my lower back that has always left me prone to trouble but when I was younger I could sort of plow right through it more. Now...not so much. I'm going to dig even deeper into posture work and see if I can minimize further attacks. Luckily with all my T'ai-Chi training I've been able to minimize the effects of this one, but I don't want to have to. Best of luck to you with your back Thom. GB

    PS: I was organizing my files a little bit tonight and came across some of our old Trialogue posters. Brought back fond memories of the several we did with Ocho.

  4. Yeah, could not have been good. And I was just a skinny 12yo. Sorry to hear about your problems too - ouch, with three shows that quick. No way I could do that now.

    Really good memories. Really good. So glad we did that.