If I’m bitter about anything from my childhood, it’s that I wasn’t allowed to play laser tag. Not that the opportunity never presented itself (trust me, it did) but that my parents didnâ€™t let me. My dad is a serious pacifist, and I think the idea of my running around shooting people with a gun, even if fake, was too much for him to bear. I also wasnâ€™t allowed to watch PG-13 rated movies until I was, like, fourteen. (I secretly still did at my friendsâ€™ houses, but Austin Powers isnâ€™t even funny when you donâ€™t get penis jokes)(actually, come to think of it, itâ€™s not when you do, either).
I think that my parents were trying to protect me, that they thought simulated â€śviolentâ€ť images would scar me. And to be fair, I cried a lot the first time I saw Bambi. (Iâ€™m sensitive, okay?). But really â€śprotecting me from violenceâ€ť just scarred me in a different way.
When I was ten, a close friend had a laser-tag birthday party, and I couldnâ€™t go. I was never a cool kid, so not getting to attend what felt like the coolest party ever, made me feel like my social life was over. I also frequently had to turn down invitations to see PG-13 movies with my friends. Obviously none of that really mattered in the long run, but despite realizing now that my parents were actually awesome, Iâ€™m still a little bitter about the laser tag.
So last summer, much to my liberal father’s horror, I went to an actual shooting range to shoot actual guns.
With my mom.
On a whim, weâ€™d decided to take a class, â€śLevel 1: Basic Personal Protection,â€ť an eight-hour, two-night course most people take in order to qualify for a handgun carry permit. We had absolutely no desire to attain such a license, but we both were completely clueless about weapons (unless you count my momâ€™s tai chi sword? No, letâ€™s not) and thought the shared experience would be, well, hilarious.