Monday, April 05, 2010

Headin' for a (Dart)break

So, I was at Jeff's house and he has apparently lost his mind and bought each of his three children one of those Nerf dart guns. Then, his wife also lost her mind and bought one of those jumbo bags of darts so they'd never, ever run out.
Jeff even bought himself a gun so that, presumably, I could come over one afternoon and do battle with his children. I noticed these guns, his daughter challenged me, and his two sons came up from their Wii-Boxstation playing, passing guns and darts to each and all.

Well, we had a battle royale to rival that of Japanese schoolchildren, shooting and dodging and running through the living room, stairs, kitchen, dining room, abattoir, family room, foyer, doorway, hall, and lounge, firing darts at each other, sometimes hitting, sometimes missing, declaring alliances, betraying those alliances, laughing, shouting, falling down, aiming for crotches, stealing each others' darts, gathering fallen one, teaming up against the weaker gazelle, hiding, and ambushing.

But then I shot Jeff's daughter in the face.

Well, time stood still, as it usually does in this situation. The boys were the first to realize that the fun was over, and I, being out of practice (accidents happen, right?), took a little longer to figure out why no one was running and laughing anymore.

The wailing commenced, and I then understood the pallor that had come over the others. Spraying tears comparable to blood on that new "Spartacus" TV show, the child ran immediately to her parents to inform them of my heinous crime.

I got that wonderful feeling in my stomach, you know, the one that you get when you see the police car pull up behind you or the crackhead in your garage or the Jehovah's Witness at your front door, and prepared for what I like to call The Richard Teague Moment.* In other words, the moment when friendship is given the boot over family.

And Jeff calmly told his daughter to stop keening; she knew the dangers of the game when she started playing.

A minute later, the tension in the air lifted, and we went back to playing.
What amazed me is that this is not the first time this has happened with Jeff and his kids. He seems to understand, as no one does, that children fall down and hit things and take part in activities that will inevitably hurt them Every Single Day, and that that being a parent doesn't mean creating a world that will service your children, but to do what you can to help your kids get along in the world as it is.

I have things that I think about blogging about every single week. Some of them, like going to my first rugby game, I was too lazy to share. Some, like when my best childhood friend's wife died, I find too personal to chat about in my usually-trite little blog. Others, like when I _____ ____ ___, I simply forget about. I've no idea why I felt this was worth mentioning.

Maybe that says something about me too.

Rish "Deadeye" Outfield

*This is named after a guy I had a nominal friendship with in college who terminated our relationship a couple of years later when I made a Damien Thorne crack about his Limey newborn son. Despite his histrionics and overreaction, I still think the joke was funny, which I suppose says more about me than I ought to admit.

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