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How The World Wags

I LUV that gun!
By Dave Kiffer


September 11, 2004

Ketchikan, Alaska - It is hunting season again but my 3-year old son is not going to be heading out into the muskeg this year to bring home the venison. At least I don't think so.

Don't get me wrong. I can still smell the gunpowder from Dad's bullet loading station and I remember deer hanging in the basement. Just the thought of fresh venison makes my mouth start to water.
jpg Dave Kiffer Ketchikan, Alaska

But I was emotionally scarred by the opening scene in Bambi. My idea of hunting is getting a clear shot at a nicely packaged rib eye or picking off a beautifully wrapped turkey roast on the wing.

My son's big game hunter aspirations will also be squelched by his mother. She says that all weapons are bad. Even toy ones. If nuture trumps nature then hunting or weapons will just not be an issue in our household.

You other parents out there are already smiling. Nature always trumps nuture when it comes to little boys and guns. Let me explain.

Maybe it was the time a couple years back when he pointed his bottle at me and made a very, very, very quiet little psshhh sound. I guess the milk acted as a "silencer".

Or maybe it was when we noticed his odd attachment to sticks. Any pointed object is suddenly a sword and our little peacenik is a knight of the round table. You can be challenged to a battle at any time, his "bloodlust" is particularly strong when you are reading a book, thumbing through the paper, watching "your" tv show or - god forbid - settling in for a nap. Yes, he is an only child. And is probably gonna stay that way at this rate.

And then there is the Buzz Light-Year lazer pose (left arm extended, right arm grabbing the left forearm, many sound effects). I can't count the number of times our Little Space Ranger has - hypothetically speaking - zapped us into oblivion from across the room.

Our happy potential warrior also takes an interest in child-sized weaponry in the stores and is always ready to point something out that you may have missed with a cheerful, hopeful Daddy, I LUV that gun! That little shot always causes a spike in mommy's blood pressure.

But even though we avoid buying any toy guns, nature trumps us. You can make a handle out of little Legos and the bigger ones make nice barrels and stocks. And all it takes is imagination to turn a stick or a toy golf club into a majorly gnarly-cool bazooka.

Part of me (secretly) relishes my little boy's creativity in circumventing his mother's ban on household weapons of mass destruction. Just the other day we were sitting at the table having a rare - he is 3 after all - peaceful breakfast..

Daddy, he said. Can I have a gun?

Uh, no, I replied, somewhat surprised by the question because we were discussing the relative artistic merits of Bob the Builder and Blues Clues at the time.

He just smiled and took two bites out of his toast, creating an L-shape slice, which he then pointed at me with a big smile.

Toast gun! he said.

Who knew the double-barreled Toastmaster needed a trigger lock?

Dave Kiffer ©2004


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