I thought it be would tough Christmas shopping for the boys once they got past the Toys R Us stage. I used to be able to mark the days until Christmas by how many pages were left in the big toy catalog. Most of the pictures had long been shipped to the North Pole for use as instructional material by elves specializing in sophisticated foam weaponry.
The boys are now in their second decade of intense and dedicated toy shopping. These days they want electronic games that feature goal-oriented ninjas, indiscriminate assassins, and more than a few species of vengeful undead.
Nothing says Happy Holidays like a man in black greeting passersby with a six inch throwing knife and a hearty handgun.
When I was a kid, we’d strap on holsters with six shooters and clap cowboy hats made of felt on our heads. You’d have to chase the bad guy clear down to his front porch before he’d admit that he was dead. These days you’re a virtual assassin who can wipe out a planet with a rapid fire Remington and a hamster wheel of death.
As the guys rent newer and more sophisticated video games to see which ones they want for Christmas, the sounds of the season fill my house: swords ring out in duels, gunshots ricochet through quiet villages, gleeful laughter meets the brother who triumphs in the zombie apocalypse.
It reminds me of lunch with the relatives.
It’s never safe to venture into Uncle Joe’s airspace after he’s had his fill of giblet gravy. Even the Labradors avoid crossing into enemy territory at half past pumpkin pie.
So this Christmas we’ll deck the halls with a turkey leg fired high tight toward a platoon of retreating relatives. And if anybody tries to get away with the pumpkin pie, they’d better watch out. I’m a killer with an assault drumstick.
And I’m sitting next to Uncle Joe.