Incense, (Peppermints) and Guns

12 Jul

Photo: Robby Mueller

You would have thought I was negotiating to form my own drug cartel, what with the references to automatic weapons, marijuana and LSD. Throw in the odd request to stop at Burger King to appease a serious case of munchies and it’s no wonder I was feeling a little like I’d been dropped into an Al Pacino movie.

The conversation up front was all about allowing incense burning in our house. I graduated from high school in 1976. As I told my son, “I know about incense! First it’s incense and then it’s marijuana and pretty soon you’re a has-been rock star chatting about your dysfunctional family with Dr. Drew.” Ok, maybe I didn’t really say that, but only because I was interrupted by my daughter, who wants a gun.

I was prepared for the conversation with my son. I’ve lived through decades of don’t-do-drugs messages. It started with my mom saying, “Don’t do drugs,” rolled through “this is your fried egg on drugs,” then it was “Just say ‘no’ ” and I’m now firmly established in “Parents: the anti-drug” territory. As an anti-drug, I am supposed to be a powerful force in preventing my son’s appearance on Celebrity Rehab.

I am finding, though, that the anti-drug, like all things good for you, is best taken in small doses. So, the drug talk is a hit and run operation. I wait for an opening, drop in a “don’t do drugs because blah, blah, blah” and move off the topic. I have a short list of reasons for not doing drugs and I rotate them. One day I might use, “Drugs are illegal and you’d be eaten alive in jail.” Another day it might be, “Drugs impair your judgment. Just look at what the hippies wore!” Frequently, it’s “If you die stupid, I won’t go to your funeral and I’ll cry forever.” This one is particularly useful when a celebrity dies stupid.*

The incense issue came to the fore over a video game tournament my son has planned. My son isn’t big on organizing events, so when he decided an all day Zelda marathon was the way to while away the summer, I was onboard. Bewildered, but on board. Each of his friends was assigned an iteration of The Legend of Zelda that he would play through while the others watched. One friend wants to burn incense to “help him concentrate.” I try not to judge, but as the anti-drug, I am highly attuned to disturbances in my son’s force field. This friend is also enamored of the Beatles’ Maharishi Whatshisname period and wants a sitar.

So, it was easy to just say “No” to the incense. The Zelda marathon will go on, but there won’t be anything other than Axe body spray hindering my pot-detecting senses.

That brings us to the gun.

There are certain conversations you expect to have when a daughter comes into your world. There’s the one about how it isn’t nice to chase the boys and kiss them when they don’t want to be kissed. There’s the one about strangers with puppies. A little later, there’s the one about bra-lettes. And a little later than that, there’s the one about, you know, THAT.

I never expected to have a conversation about guns with my daughter. I know, shame on my feminist self.

Seems all the girls have guns now. Nerf guns, that is. But my daughter won’t be content with the little manually powered pump action gun. See, my daughter aspires to be a ninja like the ones in those bad Asian action movies. She’s already well on her way. Combining her gymnastics training with a friend’s Nerf gun, she’s turned target practice into something out of The Matrix.

She’s very good, she assures me, at performing a cartwheel, friend’s Nerf gun in hand. On landing, she executes a perfect bull’s eye into the target. The pump-action model is holding her back, though. “I have to stop and pump it up to shoot again,” she complained. The ideal gun, she assures me, will allow her to execute cartwheel after cartwheel, shooting all the while.

Her dream gun is the NERF™ Dart Tag Swarmfire Blaster. It has “a full-auto 20-dart attack! . . . and a rotating barrel for rapid blasting and a removable stock for high-mobility attacks!” Obviously, the euphemistically named “Blaster” also comes with lots of exclamation marks.

This cartwheel/weapon maneuver could well prepare her for a career in the military.

Here’s the fly in my daughter’s machine gun ointment, though. It will be a cold day in hell when I buy her a gun of any kind. And it will be a colder day when I let her sign on for a tour of duty. It’s not just the getting killed in action—or inaction—that scares me. It’s the fact that she’s more likely to be raped by her comrades than killed by any foreign enemy. Just for the record, I took the same stance with my son. No guns; no military duty.

Anticipating outrage from several quarters, I do not in any way believe that military service is not honorable. My dad and brother served and my niece is in the Navy. I realize, too, that my kids could die any day by just about any means. Still, I’m not out there pushing them in front of buses just to tempt the fates.

So, there will be no guns and no incense. Peppermints might be nice, though.

* Dying stupid includes: suicide with or without weapons, accidental overdose, accidental overdose involving either of the Olsen twins, aspirating vomit, driving cars into solid objects, stepping in front of buses, getting involved with drug addicts and being accidentally killed, allergic reaction to burning incense, choking on sandwiches, etc.

23 Responses to “Incense, (Peppermints) and Guns”

  1. Mary Rayis July 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    You’d better keep your daughter away from the “Charlie’s Angels” movies!

    • jmlindy422 July 12, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

      She’s a conundrum. Alan just told me that she’s watching “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and can’t take her eyes off of it. Marilyn Monroe with an Oozi. That’s what I’m raising here!

      • Mary Rayis July 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

        I loved that movie myself when I was a kid. You’ll have to watch all the Gidget and Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello beach movies with her next!

      • jmlindy422 July 13, 2012 at 7:37 am #

        Mary, I loved it too!

  2. clownonfire July 13, 2012 at 8:54 am #

    My son is obsessed with guns, especially LEGO guns (something called BrickArms). For the longest time, we did what we could to keep them out of this house, the toy versions, of course – we would never have a gun in our house. But at this point, we think it’s better if we let TWP choose his toys, and educate him while he plays with him… Perhaps one day he will trade them for a Rubik’s Cube.
    Le Clown

    • jmlindy422 July 13, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

      We bought our son Super Soakers, but not guns that looked too much like real guns. I know someone who did not buy her son a gun and, when all the little boys were playing, he unzipped his pants and pretended his penis was a gun. They bought him a gun soon after. I did not know LEGO made guns! My daughter is trying to do an end-run and has asked a friend to give her a gun for her birthday. Sigh. Good luck with the Rubik’s Cube!

      • clownonfire July 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

        I would still prefer my son showing his penis than pulling out a gun… But that’s just me!
        Le Clown

      • jmlindy422 July 13, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

        Well, the Super Soakers are pretty much a polite way of whipping out the weenie, don’t you think?

  3. nevercontrary July 14, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    oh my, I am scared of what my daughter will want to do.

    • jmlindy422 July 15, 2012 at 9:13 am #

      I find it amusing that everyone is honing in on my daughter wanting a gun so she can be a ninja when she grows up, but no one is much interested in the fact that my son and his friends are about 1/2 an inch away from doing drugs. (I happen to have inside information I did not reveal)
      That said, my daughter is frightening is so many ways, especially when she flips her hair and says, “Nobody gets me!”

      • philosophermouseofthehedge July 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

        OMG. Get ready to hang on. Your stealth drug message are quite good and it probably is the best delivery system.
        Your daughter, how about archery? It’s so much more elegant (and trendy now – and there’s always the Olympics and college scholarships) If you say no, you have to replace it with something – redirect.
        Stay calm and carry on!

      • Mary Rayis July 17, 2012 at 10:48 am #


      • philosophermouseofthehedge July 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

        Very cool idea

      • nevercontrary July 16, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

        Guess we are more afraid of guns then drugs.

      • jmlindy422 July 17, 2012 at 11:38 am #

        OMG, Mary! We tried fencing. Complete and utter breakdown in the hall outside the lesson area. This, of course, after spending the bucks for the electric fencing vest. This is a child who was impervious to any sort of punishment. If he didn’t want to do something, it wasn’t happening.

      • Mary Rayis July 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

        I was actually referring to philosophermouseof the hedge’s suggestions for your daughter!

  4. twistingthreads July 16, 2012 at 4:03 am #

    A teenager who wants to play a video game with their friends doesn’t put a flag on my radar, but when all the other kids want to sloth out and WATCH someone else play each section on a one player game, only getting to play themselves ONCE while burning incense “to help them concentrate” I’m not at all surprised that your cannabis alarm sensor went off. Either someone has a charming quirk or is a poor liar. I’m betting on the last, but hey, at least you can keep an eye on them. No pressure, right?

    Your efforts to inform your kids of your feelings on drugs…priceless.

    • Mary Rayis July 16, 2012 at 9:28 am #

      I agree that you should be very wary of your teens and any indication that they might be wanting to get high. As much as you have indicated in other posts how stressful it is to have your kids in so many activities, when it comes to boys, in my experience they cannot be too overbooked. I would insist that your son participate in a camp, get a job or something in the summer. During the school year, I would expect him to participate in a couple of after school sports or other activities. When my son was swimming, his grades went up because he was forced to be better about budgeting his time.

      • jmlindy422 July 16, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

        How do you do that insisting thing? My son is virtually impossible to get involved in something he doesn’t want to do. He used to be in the orchestra; quit that because he had to practice. Now, he has guitar and drum lessons. Wants a job and we’re behind that. Have been looking. There is no way in hell he’ll do a sport and I can’t make him chose an activity and then fight him about getting to it. Maybe I’m not pushing enough, but pushing this kid just doesn’t work. It makes life a living hell for everyone. Getting homework done is a major feat with the unmedicated ADHD.

    • jmlindy422 July 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

      In the boys’ defense, Legend of Zelda games are notoriously difficult to play. They aren’t shooter games, but problem-solving games. Some of them are so frustrating to play that players only get ahead by getting clues online. The game the incense burner has been assigned to play is the most difficult. So, even though the others will be watching him, they will be learning from the way he solves the problems. Still, incense to concentrate??? Nah!

      • Mary Rayis July 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

        I guess you can’t literally force your son to do something, but you can think about what things he has that you control and use them as carrot or stick – i.e. money, privileges like using the car etc. Easier said than done, I know. I also know that if you’re dealing with some huge issue, such as ADHD, it may not be worth the battle. At the end of the day, the most important thing is what you’re already doing – teaching him what you value and why.

  5. philosophermouseofthehedge July 16, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    Oh, no matter what the movie images show, real military recruiters don’t always tell the kids the truth.
    Maybe she’ll change focus soon? You know I’m a big fan of well run martial arts programs. Great movies she’s into. Any chance she and her ninja crowd can write and produce movies with all that talent?
    LIfe guarding is always a good teen job if your area has those opportunities – really builds confidence and you’d be surprised at how mature and competent kids become. You have to be 15 yrs here to get certified ( YMCA or private companies offer it when hired). Summer day camps often need help – even volunteers are appreciated – and it fills the time…looks good on college applications
    Just hang on and stay close to them for the next few years – it’ll be fine, really

    • jmlindy422 July 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

      Life guarding is an awesome job for my son. He’s an excellent swimmer, but he’d have to be the certification. I’ll look into it. Thanks for the idea!

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