America is pretty jacked up in a lot of ways. We don't really have great fashion designers that don't revolve around denim. We haven't really embraced the concept of siestas, like the progressive Spanish and Portuguese. We have a famous ice cream chain which has artificially constrained itself to only 31 flavors while our burger technology is capable of adding an endless array of meat patties.
But nothing shows this point more than paintball. America may be the only place where people conduct war as a hobby. Grown men will bring their own army-like camoflauge, buy light body armor, drop hundreds on paint guns, and shoot their family and loved ones. That being said my first foray into paintballing was fantastically fun and painful. The perverseness of being enthusiastic about war aside, there is something cool about walking into a forest, with a group of friends, holding guns, with your helmet propped up on your head. It's the thrill of feeling like a real badass which years on my high school debate team never seemed to provide. After watching more than my fair share of war movies, it's kinda cool to feel like a soldier.
However it's funny how pain has a way of changing your feelings about something in a hurry. For some it's the pain of breaking-up with a loved one. For others, it's the pain of seeing a child drop an ice cream cone. For me it was getting shot in the neck by a paintball within the opening 30 seconds of battle.
Being shot has a way of changing your mentality towards people who were arbitrarily placed on a team against you (editor's note: that was a subtle hint at a deep thought). Suddenly it becomes a lot less about the pain you feel and more about the joy of inflicting pain in others. Finding your friends hiding behind bushes makes your heart race for pleasure because you have a glorious opportunity of making them clutch their face in bruised anguish.
Needless to say that after getting Zidaned in the face, back, thigh, and slightly twisting my knee, my gung-ho spirit sorta evaporated by lunch time. If that didn't crush it the sweltering 90 degree heat probably did. Perhaps the only thing funny about the whole adventure were our ganja-happy "Refs" supplied by the paintball place who acted & talked like dungeons and dragons veterans. Their seemingly endless and repetitive babble about high-tech guns and all-night paintball missions in the woods was equaled only in the enthusiasm brought out in several of us to plot to shoot them.
All of this which which leads to my next point: people have a selective policy of hygiene and often display the most leniency in the places of highest risk. For example, if you're in a nice restaurant and your bread falls off the table, there ain't no way you're gonna stick that dough in yo' mouth. You'll just let it sit on the ground, maybe kick it under your table, and ask for more bread. But at the paintball fields they lacked a faucet to wash your hands with soap and water. After running around in the mud and dirt all day under the sun the presence of hamburgers makes you gladly dig in with your mud-hands and ingest rat-meat burgers without thinking twice about the germs mom had always warned us about.
The 5-second Rule for ingesting fallen food is a standard set to rationalize the fact that food that hits the ground doesn't become instantanously contaminated with anti-human germs....there are enough airborne germs to provide that. The problem is that when you're desperate and hungry the 5-seconds expands to something more akin to 5-days. Furthermore you find yourself rationalizing things which would've seemed inconceivable a few moments earlier. "Well dirt is natural, and mud has nutrients, why else would people pay money at spas for a mud bath? ...So surely eating it is actually good for me."
Several more hours of play resulted in my wrist getting bloody, both knees being shot up from point blank, and some asshole firing at my bum twice after I was already walking off the field helped break me. I am merely a shell of my former self.... and no I don't think that even Crocin could've helped...
I was reduced to the state of canning any Saturday night festivities and staying-in to watch "Pretty In Pink." (I know a link isn't necessary but there's always that one person who's never seen it or Sixteen Candles) Any punk can shoot a gun, but it takes a real manly soldier to spend an evening with Molly Ringwald. I hadn't watched the whole movie for a long time and the funny thing is that I always felt sorry for Duckie because in the end Molly (or Andie as her character is named) goes for the rich dude instead of him. This on a sidenote is one of the most debated moment in all of American cinema. Should Molly have chosen Duckie instead? In a way isn't there a little bit of Duckie inside of all of us.
However upon further review, Duckie is a real weirdo. He's not a sympathetic loveable loser, he's actually a dorky stalker. Heck I'd choose the thoughtful rich guy. Duckie never stood a chance at getting Molly. Duckie was a real ass-clown. That being said I don't think anyone should feel too sorry for him, he ends the movie walking out with Kristy "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Swanson.
At least Duckie can walk though. After my wargame adventures my back is killing me, I'm walking with a limp, and my neck looks like it got a hickey... well I guess it wasn't so bad afterall.