Two Bad Christmas Gift Ideas & A Brady Bunch Life Lesson
Call me weak, a bad parent, or suffering from a lapse in parental judgment but the "man cave" in our house boasts a PS3 with a number of games including the popular "Call of Duty." It should be renamed "boy cave" as I've been overrun by the boys, but occasionally reclaim my lair for NFL on the Plasma while dipping into the almost freezing beer fridge. I resist the temptation to blow up aliens or race strangers online in the virtual world as my personality is too obsessive to get sucked into something with no significance yet I feel I need to master.
The real lapse in parental judgment (I'm sure there are already critics who have the score as lapses=two) was caving in on the boys request for airsoft guns. When I was a kid, I had a BB gun which would be used to shoot empty Coors cans in the backyard when parents weren't home so it would be hypocritical of me to not allow them to have the modern-day equivalent...right? (Insert Christmas Story's "you'll shoot your eye out!")
After publishing a list of rules and having them literally sign a safety contract, they had their guns (and of course safety goggles.) Two of the obvious rules were; always outdoors and always wear safety goggles. Independent of that, the most egregious house rule violation is lying.
We have a long list of toys our kids talked us into (the remote control alien car comes to mind.) The airsoft guns were used a few times with friends--the coolest battlefield is the temporarily abandoned spec home in a wooded area near one of my son's friend's home. Kinda like a "Dirty Harry" police academy. Eventually, the guns were set aside next to the alien car...a poor return on the parent investment dollar.
Last night, we're eating dinner and one of our boys comes downstairs with a red dot in the middle of his forehead that resembled a Hindu bindi (traditional red dot of jewelry.) One thing my boys haven't figured out yet is that parents don't need the lie detector test...we usually can sniff out the bullshit pretty quickly. The story went, that "I hit my head on the counter" cleaning the bathroom. First dead giveaway...cleaning the bathroom...REALLY?!?...why not say you were doing homework...both are hard to believe, but anything is more believable than the bathroom story. Second dead giveaway...the wound didn't match the story--thank you Dexter.
I let it pass...trying to build "I trust you" with one of the boys. Just like Carol and Mike Brady discovered the broken vase in the family room and whose basketball broke it, one lie spins another and another before the truth unravels. Best accounting of what actually happened was that "we were horsing around" and Jesse shot me. Jesse's excuse was his brother forgot to set the safety. Both didn't fly with me and the "fine print" on their airsoft contract was any infractions and their gear would be on CraigsList. (Posting here.) The only proud moment was that as far as shots go, it was a perfect "killshot" symmetrically placed in the middle of the forehead. Perhaps too much time playing Call of Duty. An inch to the left and and an inch lower and we would have had a Christmas Story "you shot his eye out!" COD and airsoft guns make my two gifts NOT to give your teen this year.