Sunday, May 13, 2007

Primping for the Paint Ball

If you’re anything like me, when you think bachelor party, you think Allentown, PA. This weekend, I’m heading just outside of Allentown to join a bunch of guys I’ve never met before for my future brother-in-law’s bachelor party. Actually, I’m a little unclear on the rules of whether we are going to be brothers-in-law or not, but we both chose the same family from which to plunder our brides, so that should count for something.

It was with great trepidation that I accepted the invitation to join this party, mostly because the main event will be a full day of shooting each other with paintballs. I usually make it a policy to avoid putting myself in situations in which projectiles will be enthusiastically fired in my direction, but it didn’t seem right to duck this one. Kris and I are going to be family soon, so if I can donate my rear end to the cause of family togetherness by having caps popped in it all day, that’s a price I’m willing to pay. Besides, never having paintballed probably makes me less of an American citizen; paintballing is as American as apple pie and racist mascots.

The first time I ever heard of paintball was in ninth grade, when my buddy Joe sat next to me in biology class on Monday morning. He was covered in welts that were big enough to have served Cornish hens upon.

“Dude, what happened to you? You look like you lost a fight with a tennis ball machine,” I said.

“I went paintballing this weekend,” he said. “Check out these bruises here. It was so much fun. You should try it.”

“That’s very tempting. Maybe I’ll try it in fifteen years or so,” I replied. It looks like my time has expired.

The package deal for a day of paintball includes 1,000 paint balls per person. That’s enough ammo to give Charlton Heston pause. I would have thought twenty or so paintballs would have been more than enough for the day. Is 1,000 really necessary? I guess it’s fine if they want to give me 1,000 paintballs, but I really worry that they’re going to give that many to everyone else, too. I just don’t see how this day is going to end any other way than with all of us limping out of the woods looking like something that Jackson Pollock did.

Dad always said that you don’t learn anything until you get out of your comfort zone, and facing the possibility of getting shot in the crotch with a paint-filled marble is definitely not anywhere near my comfort zone, so I’m really looking forward to all the learning to be done this weekend. I assume the educational topics will revolve around field first aid and different techniques for surrendering.

A quick trip to the paintball field’s Web site dispelled the notion that whimpy participants, should there hypothetically be any, could just hide behind trees or bury themselves in leaf piles while listening to podcasts until it was all over, if that’s what they were planning on doing, which I wouldn’t know. The setup there is alarmingly elaborate, with fake Wild West towns and huge plywood castles. Nobody said anything about storming castles. They better not supply the castle folk with cauldrons of burning paint.

Anyway, it’s good to get outside to do something different from your normal routine, even if that something different is going to leave you covered in bruises, possibly the kind with a yellow tinge. From personal experience, I can say that the most important question you can ask when you’re preparing to do something that makes you a little uneasy is this: Where did I put that old cup I used to use for Karate?

You can train your crosshairs on Mike Todd at


  1. You know, in the spirit of Mother's Day, I gave birth to 3 children. One came with severe back labor and no epi. One was a c-section after two inductions neither of which had pain relief. And so comparing this to paintball, I'd have to, well, actually...yeah, the paintball hurt worse. But hey, when the welts heal, you'll only remember the good. And! And! It won't take YOU six weeks to fit into your jeans again! Go feel the love, buddy. :)

  2. Hey Mike, did you run into James or Scott while you were there? :)

  3. My husband used to play it all the time when he was a teenager, now he does again. But he says the absolute worst is getting hit with FROZEN paintballs. Try that one. Right in the throat.

  4. I can honestly say that I don't think I have played paintball since 9th Grade - but I do remember the huge welt on my forehead. Let's just say there is plenty of "friendly fire" incidents on the field. Now I know what Stonewall Jackson when he said, "What the &*$%!!"

  5. Gary and I used to paintball which a bunch of other people when we were in the service. We'd camo up, paint our faces and a team would hide a flag with a 20 minute head start. The other team had to try and capture the flag without getting hit. I know this sound strange but getting hit with balls does hurt! lol

  6. That sounds dangerous and painful. As a beginner, I think I would work myself up starting with crayonball.

    (Stay out of jail.)

  7. Janelle -- Dude, you win the Most Hard Core Commenter of the Week Award. I've never felt so good about not having a uterus as I do right now.

    D-Rok -- James was there, but Scott was still waiting for Command and Conquer to finish loading. [Dorm joke. Apologies to non-1997-residents of 4th floor Porter Hall.]

    Burf -- That's really hard core. A frozen paint sounds a whole lot like a musket ball. Did your husband play with a bayonet, too?

    Joe Brown -- Good to see you, mofo! Thanks for verifying that I'm not totally full of crap, at least on this one particular point. Frickin' Stonewall Jackson. That joke would have even made Fagoner laugh. [High school newspaper joke. Apologies to non-1995-Right-Angles-to-Reality columnists.]

    Sheri -- Dude, if we were playing against your team, I think I'd hide in the porto-potty until it was all over.

    Buster -- Ha. Maybe fingerpaintball? And I will do my best to stay out of jail; thanks for the public service announcement. The more you know.

  8. Fingerpaint. Much better fit nomenclature-wise. Ouch. You're the best.

  9. Buster, I totally bogarted your idea. Also, did Bogart steal stuff? 'Cause otherwise, I don't get it.