For the past couple of weeks we’ve been in negotiations, my husband and I. It’s our annual pre-Christmas ritual. I make a big, overblown plan for what to get each of our five kids. I write it in my little “Christmas notebook.” Then I look at how ridiculous I’m being and scribble out most of it. Then I take the list to my husband and tell him what’s on it. He nods. I start purchasing a few things. Then he tells me what he thinks we need to get each kid.
It’s never anything I would have thought of.
Most of the time it’s quite insightful, even if it’s sometimes out there.
This year he said, “Let’s get our oldest a gun.”
A gun? Like to shoot things with? (Like, maybe he’ll shoot his eye out, kid.)
“Oh, I’m only thinking something like a .22 rifle. Not like an automatic weapon or anything.”
He’s turning 15 on Christmas. He’s not old enough to drive. Or date. Or vote. But he’s suddenly old enough to shoot?
I snorted and said, “He’s not interested in shooting.” He’s not. Seriously. He seems like he couldn’t care less. In fact, he went shooting with his uncle (my husband’s brother, who incidentally just bought a gun, so we can see where viruses like this begin). I asked if he had fun. He shrugged.
So, I kind of erased it off the list, thinking I’d probably be hit with some brilliant idea in the next few days and we could just forget this “weapons moment” ever happened. A video game. Could we just do something like Classic Asteroids or something? It has shooting. Perfect.
So I called my dad this week a few times. In one conversation I brought up the gun thing. “I’m with Gary. Sorry, Jen.” My dad was not with me on this one. “A boy needs a gun. He needs to have a gun.”
He’s got an AirSoft rifle. It shoots cute little orange pellets. When it’s not collecting dust. Isn’t that enough?
Fine. My dad might be right. My husband might be right.
THEN…it was date night, which means dinner and a movie around here. (Mostly Taco Bell. My favorite.) And since I’m not a Twilighter, and my husband can only remember the title of that movie as Breaking Wind, we went to the other “Dawn” movie last night:Red Dawn.
Now, I do remember watching the original version in junior high band class. It was long. Took like five class periods to watch it. Maybe we didn’t and we were just talking about it between renditions of “American Patrol.” I liked it, though, so a re-watch was fine with me.
And within the first 15 minutes I’d asked my husband, “That kid is a Marine. Why does he not have a concealed carry permit? Why is his gun not under the seat of his truck? Why can’t he just defend himself? Why is that younger kid so afraid of that gun? Why can’t he hit the broad side of that tree when he aims? Why don’t they have more ammo?” Until my husband was probably shushing me. But, folks–even if the North Koreans don’t invade, there are times when a man needs a gun. He may not have to defend his family or kill his dinner. But he definitely needs to know how. It’s manly. It’s important. I see that now.
Fine. FINE. Buy the kid a gun.