October 22, 2011
The Laser Tag Birthday Party
Several months ago, one of the popular flash sale websites sent me an offer for a laser tag party package. For $100 (1/2 of the regular cost), the company promised me that a guy would come to my house, construct a makeshift army bunker in my backyard, and let a herd of boys play laser tag for an hour.
There were a number of things about my boys birthday party that I knew was going to be a surprise, like the number of party guests. Since very few people called in to RSVP, I was expecting between 7 and 22 boys.
I also wasn't sure how many parents were going to stick around. Despite my encouragement to drop off/pick up, several of the mothers who did RSVP told me flat out that it would be weird not to attend their eight year-old son's birthday parties. One even asked me if it would be all right if she brought her poodle. Evidently the dog urinates on the carpet if it is left home alone.
I was surprised and happy that 17 boys (and only 7 parents) showed up for the party.
I was equally surprised and considerably less happy when the laser tag guy didn't show up for the party.
At least not on time.
Five minutes after his scheduled arrival time, the laser tag guy called to tell me that he was stuck in traffic 30 minutes away.
My husband and I looked at each other in panic. Then we dragged out every bat and ball in our garage. "Let's play a quick game of soccer!" my husband suggested.
Half of the boys cheered and ran onto the grass. The other half crossed their arms and pouted.
"I don't like sports!"one boy cried as he plopped down on my driveway.
I had to think of something fast.
Cameron screamed bloody murder when he saw me grab his industrial-sized can of bubbles.
"This is fun," I suggested as I blew a huge bubble. The non-athletes looked at me like I was clinically insane.
"Do you guys want to play with sidewalk chalk?" I tried again. "Anyone want to learn to say something in Latin or Old English?"
The mothers in attendance began to murmur ugly things about me under their breath.
I sent my daughter inside for the Oreos and Doritos. "But those are for my Halloween party at school!" she whined.
"Do it!" I hissed.
Around that time, my husband started sending me distress signals from across the yard. "Hurry!" he mouthed, as if I could will the laser tag guy to drive faster.
I began to regret my decision not to let the woman bring her poodle to the party.
By the time that the laser tag guy arrived (45 minutes after the party started), I felt like I had been pecked by a hundred hungry chickens.
"He's here!" I screamed in jubilation when the van pulled up. I clawed at the laser tag man as if he was Jesus at the Second Coming.
"Sorry 'bout that," the man said as he passed out the laser guns. "You want one?" he asked me with a knowing smile. "You can shoot me if you want. I'll totally understand."