What Friends Are For

Once upon a time a young Rob Sama and his college roomate Jon had decided that they wanted to try their hands at hunting together. Young Rob and Jon started reading everything they could about the topic, including books about techniques, game animals, and regions of the country where one could hunt game. They started researching lodges too, where experienced guides would take you out and help you navigate your way around, locate and then shoot the animals. But there was a hitch in their plan. The two young men lived in Chicago, and in Chicago you need to be 21 to own a firearm. But the two young men saw a workaround to this obstacle.

They decided they’d go bow hunting.

In recent years, many advances have been made in bow technology, including the invention of the compound bow. A compound bow is sort of like a longbow, except with pulleys that dramatically increase the power with which the string can be increased without requiring the bowsman having to pull nearly so hard. This means that one can shoot a bow with upwards of 100lbs per square inch of power delivered to the arrow. The two young men bought books on bow hunting, and proceeded to plan their excursion.

The first step was to buy compound bows. Over the summer, the two young men, both from the Boston area, headed to Roache’s Sporting Goods of Cambridge, MA to make their purchase. The man at the store told the two young men that if they practiced about an hour a day, they could be proficient in 5 weeks time. That sounded good to them, as they had an archery range on campus, and they sould therefore be ready in less than a year’s time. So $100 later for each of them, they both walked away with Browning compound bows and a number of arrows.

It was then that young Jon discovered what seemed to be the hunting trip best suited for them. It was a lodge in northern Quebec where you could go to shoot Caribou, and they had a bow hunting season. The season was in the early spring, which was perfect timing for us. And what’s more, the success rate on shooting caribou was 98% at this lodge. This because the lodge provided hunters with a skilled guide to help in the hunting, and because Caribou are so stupid, that one can literally walk right up to the magestic animal of the Canadian tundra and shoot it point blank in the face. This was very exciting to the two young men, as was the fact the caribou are the only deer for which both the male and female grow antlers, meaning both men were likely to return home not only with 1,000lbs of meat each, but with wall ornamentation likely to make Gaston himself green with envy.

The two young men shipped their weapons back to Chicago, and eagerly awaited their self-imposed training regimen. Once they had returned themselves, they ran out to the campus archery field to begin, and needless to say, these two city boys found themselves floundering like idiots in the middle of a public field, lucky to hit the target at all, let alone the center. That was the only time they actually practiced, their cockamaney plan never having been executed.

For various reasons, Jon left Chicago for Harvard, and Rob shipped both bows back to a friend of his in Boston upon graduation. Rob returned Jon’s bow to him, who hid it in his parent’s basement in what he believed to be a safe hiding place. One day, when the two men, now living in Boston, went out drinking Jon explained to Rob that his mother had found the bow. His parents, being two good people of the liberal persuasion, didn’t take kindly to Jon bringing deadly weapons into the house. And so Jon did what any normal person in that situation would do. He claimed that the bow belonged to Rob, and that he was holding on to it because Rob was afraid of what would happen had his parents found it. Jon’s parents, loving and gullible, believed his story and held on to the bow for “Rob” ever since.

Well this weekend Jon, no longer so young (or with nearly so much hair), married his long term girlfriend. On Friday night was the rehersal dinner and of course, Rob was invited. Almost as soon as he entered the room, Jon ran up to him and pulled him aside. Jon explained in hushed tones that his mother was intent on cornering Rob and confronting him about the bow. Rob laughed and asked if Jon was serious, figuring that some 12 years after the bows had been purchased and on the eve of his wedding that Jon could at least come clean and own up to the bow. He was, after all, an adult living on his own now, and should be allowed to own any deadly instrument his heart desired. Nevertheless, Rob agreed to Jon’s request, and proceeded to have a wonderful dinner with Jon and his family and friends.

The next day, Jon and his bride had a beautiful wedding and a wonderful reception, including what had to be the funniest best man toast I’d ever heard in my life. Following the reception was an after-wedding party at Jon’s parents house, which Rob attended. Almost as soon as Rob had entered the party, he was cornered by Jon’s mother as he’d been foretold. She gently placed both her hands on Rob’s hulking shoulders and said, “I believe I have a crossbow which belongs to you…” She very nice about it, and Rob decided it would be best not to explain to her that what she has was not in fact a crossbow but a compound bow, and instead thanked her kindly for holding on to it for him.

Moments later Jon accompanied Rob out to the car to load the bow in, and Rob explained to Jon that he was sorely tempted to tell her the truth about the whole thing, and Jon thanked Rob for not doing so. Rob asked Jon if he should just deliver this to his place after he and his wife returned from their honeymoon, and he explained that he wasn’t sure what his wife would think, thus asking Rob to continue with the decade of deception. Rob agreed, and reminded him of the circumstances under which the bows were purchased, the planned trip to Quebec, etc. Jon said that he still wanted to do it, but that this time they should plan on making the trip with rifles, instead of bows. Rob agreed, and took the bow home with him.

You may ask, why would Rob subject himself to the humiliation of letting everyone at a wedding party, including Jon’s parents, believe that he was too wimpy to take possesion of the bow himself, that he needed to hide it in someone else’s parent’s basement for a decade. For the answer, you can read the title of this piece.

As for the bows, well, see for yourself:

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