Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Wet Blanket Reform

Against my better judgement, I have allowed my 11 year old son to spend his birthday money on an airsoft gun. An airsoft gun is sort of like a BB gun, but less powerful, and it shoots plastic pellets instead of metal BB's.

Before you pronounce judgement on me, you have to realize that I am the quintissential wet blanket Mom. I have put the kibosh on many activities that other cooler Moms have blithely permitted. In our parental version of Good Cop Bad Cop, I am always the guy in the bad polyester suit with the combover and B.O. who chainsmokes and has been put on desk duty several times pending investigation of suspicious circumstances surrounding the "accidental" shooting of a perp. I have heard "But MOM...everybody ELSE gets to go/do it/have one!" approximately seventeen thousand and three times. I have endured the withering disapproval of family members, acquaintances and various Athletic personages for not allowing either son to participate in a certain sport (rhymes with mootball) despite rabid assertions that they were "born" to play the game.

My husband and I often argue about discuss the fact that I am an overprotective ninny and he is an overgrown adolescent. Between the two of us, we usually manage to arrive at a reasonable compromise that allows our children to have fun without putting them at risk for life threatenting injury. But despite my inclination to swathe them from head to toe in bubble wrap, I am painfully aware that I can't prevent them from ever getting hurt. And while I do want to teach them to make good decisions regarding safety, I don't want to raise children who are too fearful to live life with relish and enthusiasm.

Like most mothers, I have my sticking points; hot button issues that I am unwilling to compromise on. But there have also been instances where I changed my mind about issues I initially vetoed on pure instinct. I allowed my children to have a trampoline, razor scooters, and a swingset. Yes, I know. But as risk assessment impresario here at B.A. Inc., I am required to do exhaustive research. After weighing the information, I felt the risks could be mitigated by close supervision, strict safety protocol, and proper protective gear. I can't help but feel somewhat validated, since thus far, we have had no serious injuries resulting from the use or misuse of the aforementioned.

As you may have guessed, ff...mootball is one of my sticking points. Another one is guns. I have no philosophical opposition to guns. I grew up in a culture where hunting was widely practiced and accepted. We were taught to respect guns and nobody, but nobody was ever allowed to handle a gun without thorough education and instruction. They were just a part of life, no more or less villainous than a kitchen knife.

But I didn't and don't feel that even a comparatively meek little gun belongs in the hands of a child who lacks the maturity and the experience to make good decisions about it's use. Even a plastic pellet can put somebody's eye out if shot at point blank range. And though one would think that an 11 year old should know that shooting someone at point blank range with a BB gun is a very bad idea, my sister in law, who lost the tip of a finger trying to protect the family cat from my jejune pre-husband, would argue that is not always necessarily the case.

So as we stood in the pseudo gun section of Dick's (snicker) Sporting Goods, perusing the paintball, air soft and BB Guns, and the vast assortment of accoutrements, I was prepared to be firm even though I was the lone dissenter. Oh sure, my husband gave his token support, but even the boys knew it was a pretense. They knew that we were only a nominally united front, and thus, more easily defeated. Truth be told, hubby was reliving his own adolescent war fantasies and drooling just as copiously over the realistic looking weaponry. I don't pretend to understand these hyper-masculine vagaries, but I have to assume they are a remnant of our hunter gatherer origins. And modern Man has few, if any outlets for indulging the latent barbarism that is the progenitor of today's road rage, so I suppose such tendencies are to be expected and even forgiven.

My son became deeply engaged in conversation with another boy of a similar age. They discussed the pro and cons of various models and evaluated them by degrees of coolness; coolness apparently being defined by both visual and functional realism. They talked about their shared humiliation at being absolutely the only kid in their respective peer groups who did not possess one. And in hushed tones they lamented how their MOTHER (eyes rolling, I'm sure) wouldn't let them have one. Then my son said,

"Actually, my Mom is thinking about it."

There was a moment of silence, and then the other child responded with reverence,

"Dude."

I could hear the pride in my son's voice as he said,

"I know."

Suddenly, I wanted to say YES. I wanted him to have that moment of glorious supremacy. I wanted him to have the acceptance that comes with having what everybody else has, even though I know that it's a completely shallow and self-perpetuating construct. I wanted just once to not be the Killjoy. The Wet Blanket. The Bad Guy. The Voice of Reason. The Party Pooper. The Spoilsport.

You know where this is going, right?

As my son walked through the stadium sized store with the gun under his arm, followed by husband and me who were loaded down with a helmet, chest protector, target and two gallon sized jars of camo colored plastic pellets, he drew admiring and envious glances. He beamed. He swaggered. He exuded the confidence that comes from knowing one is, if only for a fleeting moment, hot shit.

So I have placed a weapon of destruction in the hands of my 11 year old child for completely selfish reasons.

Jesus. I hope nobody puts an eye out.

9 Comments:

  • At 12:37 AM, Anonymous roo said…

    Aw, man, I want a Red Rider BB Gun for Christmas!

     
  • At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Kvetch said…

    OMG I did the same thing. My son, who is now 14, and in tact with all limbs and eyes, has an air gun. He wasn't even allowed to use the guns from his policeman figures when he was 4. Times change. All his friends were doing it. All the time. And, no I don't want him to follow them off the proverbial bridge, but as a preteen/teen, fitting in is of utmost important. And this was something LEGAL, and safe (under the right conditions) that he could do. I must admit that the time has passed - and he rarely if ever is going off to a pellet gun war. And although I'm glad I bought it for him, I'm more glad that phase is over. I realize I may be wishing for it when he is asking me for the car keys!

     
  • At 11:48 AM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Roo: LOL! Don't think that entire movie wasn't playing in my head the whole time we were in the store.

    Kvetch: Thank You! That makes me feel a little better. I hope this phase is relatively short lived.

     
  • At 12:24 PM, Blogger MrsFortune said…

    This is the part where you make him watch "A Christmas Story" even though it's May (well April technically, but you know what I mean). Cuz that kid DOES shoot his eye out.

    But honestly, I admire you for being able to reconsider your positions. And my hubz and I are the same mix of totally overprotective/overgrown 12 year old.

     
  • At 6:37 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    Mootball! Ha!

    This is one of the few times that I'm happy that I have a girl. I'm going to have to worry about boys at the door, but I'm not going to have to worry about guns in the house. On second thought, if my husband has anything to do with it there will be guns in the house for precisely that reason. I can't win.

    I'm glad you were able to give your son that moment of glory. It must have felt good to be the cool mom instead of the killjoy.

     
  • At 9:40 PM, Blogger nursevl said…

    Gosh, my 7 year old wants one because his 6 yr old friend has one and yields it freely! I have since reconsidered letting him go to his house....! I am glad my 11 year old doesn't even know about this gun stuff, BUT my fabulous brother gave him a swiss army knife for Christmas. Thanks Bro!! (It currently lives in the cupboard)

     
  • At 4:44 AM, Blogger sunshine scribe said…

    It must have felt so good to see the look on his face. So good.

    As a mom with a son I have nightmares of this exact thing happening ... but I'd probably do the same as you.

     
  • At 1:22 PM, Blogger Antique Mommy said…

    I fully expect to be run out of Texas when I forbid my son to play mootball -- it's a religeon here and better not blasphemy against it. Same with guns. We'll have to see who can hold up better to the peer pressure, my son or me.

     
  • At 4:57 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Not being from Texas, I can't say for sure, but I think Packer Fans might be slightly more rabid. Religion is right. I feel your pain!

     

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