If my flat Fred Flintstone feet weren’t enough to keep me out of the military, my Laser Tag skills would definitely keep me out of rations and camouflage for good. I have been very hesitant to let my daughter venture into the land of laser games. It just doesn’t sound safe to me because the word laser immediately brings to mind a surgical instrument or a lethal weapon used by Dr. Spock to protect the Starship Enterprise. Maybe it’s the fear of cancer from my mother telling us not to wear our blueberries (i.e. Blackberry) on our ovaries. I hate to admit it, but she was right about the association of cancer with cell phones.
Today I chose to face my laser fears head on as we tried out the new local kids entertainment center. I dipped my toe in the water by letting my daughter try out the Laser Frenzy, which is similar to the laser scenes in the movie Ocean’s Twelve. It was very nerve-racking to watch my little girl on a monitor crawling and somersaulting over “beams of death” – so they seemed to me. I was just hoping she didn’t emerge looking like a piece of extra-holey swiss cheese, yet, secretly hoping she just might have Danny Ocean (George Clooney) by her side as she exited.
No George in the end, but she did come out in one piece and appeared to be radiation-free. A good enough warm-up for the almighty Laser Tag. I had no idea what to expect as we suited up in our lighted vests. For those who have never played, you put on what feels like a bullet-proof vest adorned with green or red lights that indicate your team. Now that I think about it, the vest kind of feels like the lead tarp they place over you at the dentist’s office when you get an x-ray. My God, my mother may be right about Laser tag causing cancer too. I digress…Attached to the vest is a 2 foot plastic laser gun. I was just happy that my vest easily snapped shut (thank you Weight Watchers).
As the other kids were suiting up, I asked them what it was like inside. A little kid with braces looked up at me and said, “have you ever played Mortal Kombat? It’s just like that.” I had no idea what he was talking about. I looked at him and said, “I’ve played kick the can.” Apparently Mortal Kombat is an XBox game, whatever XBox is. That’s right sonny, I’m from generation Ex-Lax, not Generation X and don’t you forget it! Ms. Pac-Man didn’t carry a gun. She ate her way to victory like any decent self-respecting video game heroine from my generation.
We all pile in the dark room that is set up like a maze. I feel better already. I was expecting a scene from The Deer Hunter with Voodoo Child by Jimi Hendrix blaring in the background. Instead, a club-like dance track begins as the laser guns are activated. I turn the corner and fire away. A girl shouts, “Hey, we’re on the same team!” Damn it, my first shot was friendly fire. I’ll surely get discharged for that. Meanwhile, my daughter is running around laughing and having a ball as I trail behind her in case I’m needed to cover her. More likely, I needed her to cover me because I didn’t know what in the hell I was doing.
The dance track is still blaring and suddenly, fog is released into the maze. I’m now having flashbacks of dancing at The Palladium in the 80’s and start craving a ten-dollar cranberry juice and vodka. Did I mention the whole time I’m running around I also have my purse hanging off my arm like Sophia in The Golden Girls? Only I’m pretty sure she would have been more victorious than me. I just kept running in a circle with my purse and shooting my gun into the air, keeping beat with the music, of course. Can you say AWOL? Too soon, the music stopped and the lights went up. The battle was over and lead apron removed. I’m pretty sure I came in last place and luckily, had no traces of glowing skin caused by radiation.
So there you have it – my horrible laser tag skills – another reason why I won’t get drafted into the armed forces. I’m better off serving my country in the malls than in the military.