I often listen to Vermont Public Radio on my way to work.
You’d think that since part of my job is booking concerts, I would listen to the radio or my iPod. But I find that the radio station I like best advertises so many concerts that I get stressed out about all the competition. And the music on my iPhone makes me think I don’t listen to cool enough songs to be in the music business.
In short, listening to music in the mornings gives me too much time to think.
If I listen to public radio, though, I’m thinking about what they are saying instead of worrying, so I arrive at work much more relaxed.
There are many funny programs on NPR. I like Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me and Car Talk. I even find myself laughing at This American Life sometimes.
But I don’t giggle at All Things Considered very often. Or the local headlines. They just aren’t very funny.
Today, however, I laughed so hard at a story that I was afraid I was going to drive off the road.
I tried to find the article on the Vermont Public Radio website and couldn’t. But I did find it here.
In case you don’t feel like reading it, let me tell share the facts with you. (My version is more entertaining than the article anyway.)
Sometime last fall, a guy from Southern Vermont was driving on a twisty road with his fiancé. The article doesn’t say this, but I imagine he was driving a pickup truck. Read on and see if you agree with me.
The guy — who is in his early forties, not a dumb teenager — decides that driving on a twisty road is the perfect time to unload his shotgun. (See why I pictured a pickup truck? Gun rack.)
While attempting to drive and unload, he accidentally shoots his fiancé in the leg.
It was in the news today because he pled no contest to a domestic assault charge. He didn’t get any jail time.
The most horrific part of the story (yet strangely the part that also made me laugh) were the last two lines:
“It eventually had to be amputated.”
“The two have since gotten married.”
It was that ending — read in a stuffy, over-educated public radio voice — made me hoot with laughter. And I don’t hoot often.
It doesn’t help that I got up at 4 am to watch a tennis match on tv and was already feeling the lack of sleep.
I kept thinking about the story throughout the day, too.
First, what possesses someone to try to unload a shotgun while driving? It wasn’t a little pistol, which would be bad enough, but a big old shotgun. Even in a large pickup truck and sitting still, unloading a shotgun in a vehicle would hard to maneuver.
Was he driving with his knees and using his hands for the gun? Or trying to unload it one handed?
And why on earth did that gun need to be unloaded at that exact moment. Why couldn’t it wait until he pulled over or arrived at his destination?
I wonder if his fiancé was trying to shoot him and so that created his sense of urgency.
Or was he driving along and happened to think “Crap, I forgot to unload that gun. It’s not safe to leave it loaded in the truck.”
I think leaving it loaded would have been the safer of the two options.
Why couldn’t the woman have unloaded the gun, if it was such a pressing issue?
Second, I’m not sure I could forgive the man who shot me in the leg because of his stupidity. At least not enough to go ahead and marry him.
Here’s how I picture the situation:
Being in the fall, it was probably hunting season. The man, let’s call him Bud, was out hunting on a Saturday. He didn’t get a deer, so he put his shotgun in this gun rack on the back window until he could go out again.
The next morning, his fiancé (we’ll call her Vicki Lynne) asked him to drive her to Wal-Mart. She needed diapers, razors and a six pack of Diet Sprite.
As they are driving the twenty miles to the store (We’re in Vermont, remember. Every Wal-Mart is at least twenty miles away), Vicki Lynne gets thrown against the passenger side door when Bud takes a corner too fast.
As she’s complaining about his driving skills, she notices the shotgun in the back window and asks, in a shrill voice, “That thing isn’t loaded, is it? I don’t want to get my leg blown off.”
Bud replies, “Hell yes, it’s loaded. What if I see a deer on the side of the road? It’s not going to stand there waiting while I load the effin’ gun.”
That sets Vicki Lynne off.
She starts complaining in a high pitched voice about the gun, how she’s going to get shot, maybe they shouldn’t get married if he’s going to be an idiot. And she’s glad they didn’t bring little Cody and Ashley along in the car with a loaded gun.
Fed up with the whining, Bud grabs the gun down from the rack with one hand, yelling, “Fine, I’ll unload it!”
Just as he starts to pump it so the shells come out (I’m envisioning it was a pump action shotgun), he hits a bump and bam, he blows a hole in Vicki Lynne’s leg.
She starts screaming while he’s trying to drive and put the shotgun down. They’re careening all over the road, blood everywhere.
But Bud recovers quickly and drives Vicki Lynne to the nearest hospital, which luckily is closer than the Wal-Mart.
But in the end, Vicki Lynne loses her leg anyway. She forgives Bud when she realizes that she loves him more than her leg and, after all, he is the father of at least one of her children.
Don’t you love happy endings?