Sunday’s Column: The War To End All Wars

Aug 26, 2012 by

Here’s Sunday’s column from The Newnan Times-Herald:

“So let it be written. So let it be done.” – The Ten Commandments

Let us recount the glorious day of pain, honor and victory; what future war historians will refer to as The Great Nerf Recon Battle of 2012.

Or for you non-military types, the big 0-9, the Youngest SON of Thunder’s birthday.

The Little Black Dress and I were discussing various themes for the upcoming celebration with the Youngest. He had a one-word response.


But of course.

I immediately suggested the Medieval era. One team storms the house/castle. The other side shoots crossbows and throw rocks down on the marauding invaders off our ridiculously steep roof. I was drawing up plans for a moat filled with tar that could be lit at the appropriate moment …

The Dress gives me one of her trademark looks, this one being the “Do I even know you?” one. So the crossbows and rocks got nixed. And no moat, even with eliminating the whole lit tar idea.

I then started pushing for various things that actually shoot. But the womenfolk decided devices like the Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle might result in someone shooting their eyes out.

And so we settled on Nerf guns. And yes, I realize Nerf is a trademark and duly noted to the attorneys out there, but I don’t know how to put in a copyright thingy and saying we decided on using foam projectiles shot out from a launching mechanism just sounds dumb; and takes up too many words.

The Dress went into party/battle mode. Some people are gifted with the ability to throw a party remembered in history books. This would be The Dress. She laughs at Martha Stewart.

The battlefield would be the front yard. We took various large pieces of plywood left over from building the LBD’s doll house, also known as the “creative center,” and strategically placed them around as cover. We had chairs, a wheelbarrow, and of course, my old truck right out in the middle of the yard to provide offensive/defensive shelter. A massive 12-man tent, the “Condo,” was set up as the Mess Hall/ER center.

The Dress emptied various gun stores of ammunition. Backup weapons were field stripped and loaded. The warriors started to arrive, dressed in their finest camo. Some were already painted up, all the better to eliminate detection.

The Dress, as is her style, was also prepared. She was in some Laura Croft/safari warrior outfit. Yeah, that worked for me. And she was busily painting up the various warriors who weren’t quite adequately camouflaged.

Some of the more inexperienced combatants only brought small handguns. They would die quickly. The more grizzled veterans brought everything from shotguns to machines guns needing eight D batteries and a 50-round clip. They would survive. The Youngest was given the Retaliator for his birthday. A powerful sniper rifle capable of shooting 75 feet.

As for me, well I had this little old battery-powered device: shaped in a circle, it held 25 bullets and could fire them all off within three seconds. Think Gatling gun.

And as the warriors test-fired and loaded up extra ammunition, The Dress asked about the rules. Please. It’s a war, there are no rules. But The Dress was rather insistent. Fine, half of you at one end, the other half at the other. Charge each other and after you’re hit you’re out. Last team standing wins. Simple.

But no. Because Youngest decided you could get hit six times before elimination. Why not five? I don’t know because Youngest was adamant on six.

Anyway. Teams line up, the signal is given and well, throw out all the rules. It basically becomes a free-for-all. And one of the warriors has the audacity to actually shoot me. And I just smile and unload my Gatling gun on him. Twenty-five shots in under three seconds.

And I’m feeling pretty cocky and doing the whole victory dance/war whoop thing as we are picking up more than 500 rounds of ammo to restart the next battle when The Dress walks up and gives me another one of her trademark looks.

“I hope you are proud of yourself,” she said. “You beat a nine-year-old.”

I will not let The Dress pop my victory bubble. I simply look at her, smile sweetly, and unload the entire magazine from my Gatling Gun on her.

And run.

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