Went to a birthday celebration on Saturday night. Was going to blog from the event, however the sterling conversations, excellent entertainments and abundant comestibles hooked me Lionel Ritchie style – all night long. ‘If it bleeds, we can kill it’ was the theme of the evening, military/ nerf warfare with the occasional foam sword flare up kept the lads happy. Some girls joined the foam bullet battles but were mainly ensconced in animated conversations around the main heat source, the bonfire.
Almost all partygoers had some form of military inspired apparel, the best by my judgement were the army green ‘onesie’ / jumpsuit which caused difficulties during bathroom pitstops. With the plummeting temperature the outfit saved a life later in the night. The other honourable mention was a barbarian body armour ensemble that had been accessorised by foam swords and fanged foam skull morning star, hung with hip insouciance from the belt.
The birthday boy had a great night, I talked to people I hadn’t seen for years and the evening managed to be an unmitigated success without drawing the attention or ire of neighbours or enforcement agencies.
Boys playing war while drinking copious amounts of booze did make me think of the one time I engaged in the higher art of paint-balling. I’d had no interest in this pursuit however my participation was guaranteed by the organiser – my then boss and housemate.
We travelled over the border into New South Wales as paint ball had been illegal in Victoria at that time. After a big evening of swimming in the motel pool, drinking dubious quality vodka, we rose early (and gingerly) so I and my fellow patrol mates could be encased in heavy duty overalls, chest, head and hand protection and sent scurrying through the Australian Bush in 36 degree (celsius) heat.
In no time at all I was shooting friends in the face and having some deep philosophical conversations (with myself) about the futility of war, humans’ unending ability to wage such pointless activities and deriding myself for not refusing my boss/housemate. Probably a bit upset that this transcendent moment was being played out under the merciless sun with only last night’s Bad Life Decisions fueling my existential dilemma. But I digress. The rest of my troupe had fun shooting each other, the boss/ housemate even managed to ‘pull’ a date from a stag party fighting us. With a full face mask on I’m guessing it was the saucy Cockney accent that clinched the deal.
Enjoyment is what I experienced, albeit vicariously by watching this group of partying nerf gun toting friends on Saturday night, six years after my fraught foray into the realm of mock warfare had seen me have a partial A.N. Redux moment…
No true fatalities, though there were a bloody swathe of ‘dead soldiers’ strewn across the lawn and fallen ‘heroes’ cluttering the kitchen. This made making my breakfast cheese sandwich a precise manoeuver the following afternoon. Amazingly clear headed and no chattering philosophical monkey on my back, I let the boys be boys with their attendant urges and didn’t over-think the event too much.




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