Friday, May 26, 2006

Laser Tag Redux

[First, thanks for all the birthday greetings. My wife Wendy believes I make too much out of celebrating my birthday. I’ve even tried to push the envelope by declaring May to be my birthday month, asking for special treatment all 31 days. That idea hasn’t flown. But anyway, the blogging community made my birthday special this year.]

My ‘official’ birthday has come and gone. Since not all the family could gather yesterday, we’re going out tonight for my dinner, then cake afterwards. Since my son Greg is going away for the Memorial Day weekend, he gave me his present yesterday. Just for Men hair color. Supposed to work on just the grey, which is pretty much what I have up top now.

Sometimes I do a retro-birthday. Re-live some moment from the past. A few years ago, we enjoyed a round of laser tag at a local arena. For those unfamiliar with the game, laser tag participants suit up with a vest that’s wired to record a hit, should the wearer be hit by a strike from an opponent’s laser gun. Everyone has such a vest and their own gun.

Sometimes you’re a member of a team. Other times it’s every man for himself in the darkened maze-like arena. Once you’re hit, warning buzzers or lights go off on your vest, and you’re disabled from playing for several seconds. After you’re hit several times, you must go to a re-charging station in the arena to rejuvenate and gain another “life.” A computer keeps score. After the game, you get a print-out of who hit you, whom you hit, your score, and usually a comment on your performance.

My family’s first time on the arena came on vacation at the CN Tower in Toronto over a decade ago. It was the four of us against two experienced laser tag veterans. We were slaughtered. Our pre-teen son Scott, frustrated that we were losing badly, resorted to hand-to-hand combat, knocking an opponent’s laser gun away with his own gun. That’s a no-no, by the way.

Eventually, we got better. I learned that, though Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone get away with standing out in the open blasting away with their machine guns in the movies, that doesn’t work in real life. At least not in laser tag. My wife Wendy never caught on as well as us menfolk. Her computer print-out afterwards kept containing comments like, “You must have been an easy target” or “Try shooting back next time.”

So a few years ago, we tried laser tag again for my birthday. When we arrived, I thought the head arena employee gave us a look as if to say, “Bingo is across the parking lot.” I worried that my grey hair would light up in the blacklit arena. Well, it might scare the kids into turning tail if they spot something that looks like a ghost or zombie coming at ‘em.

There was a large church youth group there, so we joined them in their game. They paired off predictably, boys versus girls, and the girls were trounced. In a re-match, they decided to choose teams in hopes of making the game more fair. One team captain had a winning strategy. While her opposing captain picked his friends, she looked at her scorecard from last game and selected those players who had scored the most hits against her team.

“Who’s Red 16?” she’d ask. And some hotshot would amble forward and join her squad. I guess she was playing out the laser tag version of the old saying, “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” Needless to say, her team won.

Maybe next year I’ll do another retro-birthday. Is Chucky Cheese still around?


Anonymous Old Horsetail Snake said...

Yes, next year I want to see you dive into the big pile of colored balls, Dave. Act your age....

2:30 PM  
Anonymous bonnie said...

When the going gets tough, Spartans resort to hand-to-hand combat (or burning couches)!

Your better half appears to be your nicer half, as well, Dave!

7:50 PM  
Blogger WordWhiz said...

Happy birthday! I think Chucky Cheese is still alive and kicking. Err...make that dancing?? Paul's birthday is on Monday. He'll be 49...and HOLDING!

8:01 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Happy be-lated Birthday! I've never done laser tag, though I was once suckered into a paintball arena. Ouch... those things hurt! Lasers sound less painful. And yeah, we still have Chucky Cheese out here last time I checked.

3:43 AM  
Blogger Nankin said...

Happy Birthday. I've been incognito all week. Twelve hour days at the office are getting to be old hat. Laser tag sounds like fun, but I'd probably be the one with a note on my scorecard saying "Are you alive?"

7:39 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

I need to take a page out of your book and make a list of what I want for my birthday. Last year hubby gave me a manual meat patty shaper. Grr. Not a good gift idea.

Laser tag sounds like a blast. Chucky Cheese is still around here too.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Well Dave, I guess I missed your birthday. 53 are three years younger than me. I have some of that grey hair too, which I need to color right now. WEll, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

The lazer tag does sound like fun. My son goes and plays with his friends, he does paint ball too.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Laser tag is so much fun. When I was in the corporate world, I used to take my team there for a little fun. I remember seeing very quiet people suddenly turning into monsters while playing. Very amusing.

Hope you had a great birthday!

6:55 AM  
Blogger Spider63 said...

I like the retro-birthday idea. Every year, go back one year.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Really enjoyed reading this post and funny enough, my son was just telling me about laser tag. (had never heard of it before)
They took the kids to play it and it sounds like a ball! I'm thinking Nana is going to have to join them and partake of the fun.

7:02 AM  
Blogger vicki said...

Terrifying coming by here: Bill Knapps with ham croquettes on Jackson, Chucky Cheese in the castle on Stadium! Some things are best forgotten, Big D! The only thing missing is a party at Putt-Putt. But I'm glad your birthday was remembered and celebrated- Happy Birthday to you! And by the way, is it HOT enough for you today?

8:50 AM  
Blogger poopie said...

Happy (late) birthday Dave! How about a party at McDonalds next time with the tour of the freezers :) Those were always such a big hit.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous kristy said...

There is laser tag without the vests now. We've got a bunch of the guns that have the sensors built in. The things that surprises me is how many times you get to die before it becomes a disabling condition. Who knew?

10:14 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Maybe next year you could play 'Laser Tag' at Chucky Cheese!!Wouldn't that be a surprise for all the little kiddies!!!? :)

Let me know how it goes. ;)

~~~I'll need to know where they lock you up~~ if you want your cake.

9:04 AM  
Blogger LZ Blogger said...

Don't forget to tell Kelly to put the SAW in the cake! ~ jb///

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Maria said...

Well, I think I will have to try laser tag for my next birthday. Sounds like a lot of fun. Can you just see me out there with those kids? Heck, I would probably break a hip.

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:54 AM  

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