Several years ago, my wife gave me a paintball gun for Christmas. Actually, the preferred term is paintball marker. With the “don’t point guns at people” rule in mind, painball players decided to go with the term “markers” instead of “guns.” Either way, you’re still pointing it at other human beings, then pulling the trigger. And the result is a paint-filled ball whistling out the end of the barrel at an extremely high velocity. When you get hit by one, you’re lucky if you don’t wind up with a nice welt.
I was extremely happy when I opened the package. The only trouble was that none of my friends in town owned paintball markers, and I didn’t know of any paintball battle zones indoors in the area. You can’t play outside when the temperature is hovering near zero. Well, you could, but getting hit with a frozen paintball is NOT recommended. So I had to wait a couple months before I could play. When I did get a chance, it was with my wife’s brother and his friends.
These guys are serious paintball warriors. They all have customized markers, complete with sniper barrels, enormous CO2 tanks and specially designed protective gear. I had my off-the-rack marker, a regular-sized CO2 tank and my warm-weather BDU pants and jacket. I blended well with the surroundings in the woods around my brother-in-law’s house, but there wasn’t much cushion between my flesh and the speeding paintballs.
After earning about my 12th Boone and Crockett welt, I started to wonder if my wife was trying to kill me. When you’re old, fat and out of shape, running from a platoon of 18-year-olds who are trying to shoot you is not what the doctor ordered.
I did finally get the hang of the game. I used my best skill – hiding in the foliage and not moving. I just sniped my young, athletic opponents as they ran by.
If you’re still looking for gifts for someone who seems to have just about everything, get ‘em a paintball marker this Christmas. They’ll love you for it, despite the welts.