Tag Archives: guns

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.

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