Blogs » J.Q. Tomanek of Victoria » Don't shoot the sheriff, or the polydactyl dog

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My wife and I went shopping for presents over the weekend. With three kids, two boys and a girl, the gifts ranged from Barbie clothes to logic games to clothes to blendy markers.

Perhaps the most striking toy strikes indeed. When I grew up we had those orange hard plastic toy dart guns. Remember? You would have to pull the cocking mechanism back, put a dart in (ours were made of flimsy rubber, with the notches in the end), aim straight because if you didn't do that it would bounce off the window. The trade secret that was passed from older sibling to younger sibling? You had to lick the end of the suction cup for it stick to the window. It always left the round dried mark as well. And the always recognizable pop sound when you retrieved it.

Turn the dial to today, and a kid has options. From little single shooters, assault like rifles, various dart (some that whistle, some that go into dart magazines to full fledged rifles. The sibling wars will start in a few weeks. Darts will be found under the couch, inside dirty clothes, and chewed on by the dog. I may have to yield to my consumeristic desire to get me one too!

The rules will be simple for this is Thunderdome.

  1. You can shoot each other.

  2. You can hold your sibling hostage, but I get half the booty.

  3. Ransom notes must be legible.

  4. Face shots are worth double.

  5. If someone falls to the ground, there are no timeouts, "I give up," or "uncle." In similar fashion, there is no base or home.

  6. If your gun breaks, you will be at a disadvantage so you better practice throwing the darts too.

  7. Scanners, x-ray or otherwise, will not be used. You may want to consider traveling in the truck with your toy.

  8. If you want to be the God-Father, you will have to make sure you hide your siblings' toy guns very well.

  9. Extra dessert will be given to the one who tricks another into a shot in the back.

  10. Lastly, whelps and red marks count double too.

Ok, only kidding. I am sure we will have to set new ground rules like leave the dog alone; don't shoot at each other; know when to stop; when we say "Put it away" we mean it; if you lose your darts then you will not be getting more; if we find darts laying on the ground then they are going in the trash; etc.

But really, these little machines are quite impressive. They would have been used quite a lot while we were growing up playing "Guns" in Cimarron. I bet the front yard would have been filled with that spongy substance, especially after mowing the yard and not seeing them until you have already mulched the stuff into little pieces and scattered them through the yard.

I am looking forward to "Let's take this outside and settling this like real men" and then walking 10 paces in opposite directions! What cool gifts are you finding that you thought would have been cool growing up? Any still around that have survived the test of time?