Saturday, January 07, 2012

Hanukkah Round-up - Call to Arms

The little Goofs had a banner Hanukkah, getting awesome gifts.

GoofGirl has two primary interests in life, stuffed animals and crafts. And that is what she got. One gift was a stuffed animal that she can draw on, then wash it clean and draw on it again. She also got a stuffed animal she constructed herself - kind of a Mr. Potato Head, but textile oriented instead of a foodstuff. Speaking of which, she also got a long-coveted E-Z Bake Oven.

GoofBoy's dreams came true, he got a Nerf arsenal including a multi-shot Nerf dart gun - pretty cool - and a Nerf disc weapon - amazingly cool. These items rarely jam, they have easy load clips and serious range. They also have laser sights. I recently read an article discussing the "terrifying awesomeness" of Nerf weapons. The author said as a liberal, progressive dad he was caught between his PC, peace-loving values and being blown away by the sheer amazing coolness of the Nerf devices.

I suffer no such qualms, and not just because I am a right-wing fanatic. Life, and certainly childhood, is a fundamentally Hobbesian experience. Nerf guns are an equalizer. I played a lot of dodgeball as a kid. I hated dodgeball, because I inevitably ended up with recieving many blows to the head and broken glasses.

For the likes of me, Nerf guns are a vast improvement. In dodgeball the strongest, fastest kid always wins. Strategy just doesn't make a difference. In Nerf, the strongest and weakest kids will both shoot a Nerf disc about the same distance. Speed, coordination, and aim make a difference but strategy can actually play a role. It is a balancer - at least somewhat.

Best of all, suddenly glasses aren't a disadvantage - everyone has to wear them (Nerf weapons are pretty safe unless they hit you right in the eye.) The fact that I was already used to wearing glasses might, at least hypothetically, be to my advantage (or so I tell myself.)

Of course I quickly learned that strategy is pretty over-rated. When GoofBoy and I went out to play Nerf Wars all of my graduate study availed me not at all as GoofBoy plugged me over and over again. So Nerf weapons probably wouldn't have saved me much embarrassment as a kid, but at least I would have been spared the dodge-ball welts.

Mama Goof had an entirely different set of concerns about the Nerf weapons. She was sure we would quickly lose dozens of darts and disks in the backyard. I kind of hoped so, because then maybe the squirrels would find them, bury them and we'd get a tree that gave us Nerf toys as fruit.
However, GoofBoy also got a basic electronics set and a remote controlled helicopter. (They are both really cool as well.) I fear the coming of Nerf IEDs and Nerf-armed drones patrolling Goof Manor.

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