Pet Peeves: #2 A Tall Tell Tale

In the previous post I introduced stock photography and websites offering photographs for sale. One of the largest topics for archery-related photographs for sale is based upon the tale of William Tell, a tale in which a cruel politician forces the hero to shoot an apple off of the head of his young son. The hero, of course, pulls off this shot, but I will leave the rest of the story for you to find if you are not at all familiar with it. (I have seen the story enacted as a stage play in Europe; it is a tourist attraction.)

The number of photos on the Tell theme is myriad. Real apples, cartoon apples, people with apples on their heads and fake arrows through their skulls. In actual practice I have seen wigmaker’s dummy heads used to perch apples on to be shot off and other such “novelty” shots at fundraising events.

But there are consequences. Almost every year somebody is shot in the head while re-enacting this shot (see x-ray).

My all time favorite story illustrating this bad idea happened in 1993: a man was shot through the skull with an arrow by a friend trying to knock a fuel can off his head and survived with no brain damage. Surgeons removed the arrow from the man’s head by drilling a larger hole around the tip at the skull’s back and pulling the arrow through. Paramedics saved his life by restraining him when he tried to pull the arrow out himself in the helicopter on the way to the hospital. “If he had succeeded, the flanges slicing through his brain would have killed him instantly,” said a neurosurgeon at the hospital. The arrow’s tip went 8 to 10 inches into his’ brain. He lost his right eye.

Shot through the eye with a broadhead-tipped arrow and all he lost was the eye … and possibly a friend.

Drunken yahoos aside, this is a very attractive meme to young boys.

I discourage talk of it. I refuse to allow humanoid targets, paper or 3-D, to be shot at, and apples are banned at my lessons. I encourage you to do likewise. we cannot eliminate this meme but we can discourage its re-enactment.

(And don’t get me started on Archery Tag. It may be fun but it is a bad idea.)

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