The .22 Quarter
Story circa October 18th, 1997 | Back to Blog Listing
Over the weekend of October 17th - 19th of 1997, and while still a freshman at the University of Texas in Austin, I took a weekend trip up to a friend of a friend's ranch near Plano, Texas.  Jake Shaw (whose parents owned the ranch) was in school with a number of my good friends, namely Jon Weitzel, Nate Christianson, Tom Kelley, and Kelly Dotson.  I drove up to Waco on that Friday afternoon, picked up Jon and Jake in my F150, and we proceeded to drive another 2-3 hours north to the ranch.

There are probably a dozen stories worthy of telling from that particular weekend (hunting catfish, Jon and Jake recreating Woodstock, throwing bullets into a fire, and on and on), but this particular one is with respect to a .22 caliber rifle, a quarter, and shrapnel.

Jon and his girlfriend at the time, Meredith Watson, were already off doing their own nightly thing and I was hanging out in the kitchen with Kelly Dotson.  I don't recall if we were playing quarters or how the idea of the quarter came about, but at some point I thought it would be cool to make it into a trinket for her necklace.  Having played with the .22 all day long, I knew it was sitting outside on the porch and so I went outside with a project in mind.  Of course, I was well beyond a safe level of intoxicated when I decided I could just shoot a hole through the quarter.

My first effort was to shoot downward and into the ground.  I placed the quarter on the grass outside and centered the barrel of the .22 over the quarter.  Without much thought for what might happen, I pulled the trigger expecting to see a positive result.  It did not work.  Instead the quarter got pushed an inch or two into the ground and had an enormous dent in one side of it (this would later lead to another story).

Although I'm sure I was amused with what had happened, I was still intent upon accomplishing my original goal.  I took another quarter out of my pocket and this time instead of shooting into the ground, thought it wise to shoot into the air.  I pointed the barrel of the gun straight up and placed the quarter atop it.  With the quarter balancing over the center of the gun barrel, I gently pulled the trigger.  The quarter flew up into the air and landed on the ground below me.  As you might imagine, it was pretty hot, but it DID have a perfect hole through the center of it.

I excitedly walked inside to deliver my gift to Kelly.  She looked at me and asked what had happened to my face.  Perhaps it was the alcohol, or being the nearly innocent and unintelligent age of 18, but when you break metal apart, that metal has to go somewhere.  As it happens, the shrapnel from the quarter sprayed through part of my face at an angle that covered part of my nose, cheekbone, and the outside of my right eye.  Thankfully none of it actually went into my eye.

I never did have it checked up on by a doctor, so who knows if I still have shards of nickle and zinc in me.  Nevertheless, Kelly got her quarter necklace and I proved to the world that a .22 shell will go clear through a quarter at literal point-blank range.