Merry Christmas. Let peace over all the Earth its ancient splendors fling!!
McKenzy, in contrast, asked for 30 dollars and an hour on Amazon.com. When we came back, he’d ordered the goodies in the picture, plus two blowguns with ammo and a case full of shuriken (throwing stars).
I’m left pondering this odd love affair that so many small boys have with mayhem, with colors that flash in shades of bruise and flack, and with weapons.
I can still remember how I lusted after weaponry, however. We’d reenact every battle from Troy to Inchon around my neighborhood… and I was always the kid shamefacedly waving a squirt gun, yearning after the rattling M16 replicas that the kid from down the streets would bring to the fray.
When I was a bit older, my family campaigned for the nuclear freeze. I understood- and even loved- the idea of non-violence… and yet somehow a friend and I cooked up the idea of hopping a tramp steamer to Afghanistan and joining some sort of hypothetical junior Mujahidin club, fighting against the Russians. We were 12, and we were quite serious.
Think of ‘All quiet on the Western Front’, and Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen… and then contrast the sentiments in those works with Robert E. Lee’s famous quote about the allure of battle (beautifully evoked in ‘The Killer Angels’), or with the Sebastian Junger’s analyses of war’s psychological impact on young men (‘literally intoxicating, like a cocaine high’) in War.
Maybe it’s hard-wired with gender. Or maybe its not (my own personal experiences certainly suggests that the capacity is there on both sides of the aisle!).
All of this, of course, ignores my personal faith and the non-violence of its founder.
All of this, as well, side-steps the question of whether we’re bad parents for letting McKenzy load himself up with a private arsenal for Christmas. I certainly can’t fool myself that a stiletto is on the same playing field with a Swiss Army knife- these are all targeted anti-personnel weapons.
McKenzy loves a lot of awesome things, including hunting shaggy parasol mushrooms (Lepiota rachodes) , soccer, reef diving, playing ‘Boggle’, and giving his lunch to random street people. He also likes a certain number of things that give me hives, like virility knives, Axe cologne, jet skis, and Adam Sandler films.
(And- for those of you who are worried- Idaho is a long way away… and the knives are in a tightly regulated lock-box).