EDitorial ± 26-Apr-2010

More Than A Nerf

Saturday afternoon and I'm trying to cajole The Boy into coming out with me on two wheels. In and of itself, this would be No Go. Dangled before him, however, like a stick of beta carotene, is the prospect of acquiring a new Nerf gun.

His Nerf habit began about six months back with the chance purchase of a Maverick, your standard issue foam dart six-shooter, suitable for taking out a single sister on the stairs. Later, some Christmas money was burning a hole in his pocket until it was exchanged for the Recon CS-6: nothing says New Year like a fully configurable night sight blaster.

Cuts in the defence budget forced him to dig deep and ebay a bunch of PS2 games, giving him the financial leverage for an even scarier Raider CS-35, complete with drum magazine. Each move up the Nerf food chain required both parental consent and a new Ikea hook or two on his bedroom wall.

In pursuit of the next weaponized high, and having exhausted YouTube of all related videos, he then suggested that his remaining cash would be better spent on the Havok (known as the Vulcan in the US, he informed me), "the Nerf gun to end all Nerf guns." At a cool £50, Dad finally said NO. Cue County-level sulking. Dunno where he gets that from.

As with any child, if they're happy, you're happy. Much hurried Googling later, I suggested that he might like to switch brands and cut costs by opting for an Air Blasters model, the Rapid Fire Foam Air Rifle, a snip at a tenner and with automatic ejecting shells. Sounds good, he said, when can we get it? Er, I had to order it online, I said: pick it up on Tuesday from Mr Tesco. That was a mighty long wait over that weekend. He's been a jolly little soldier since then, sniping us from left, right and centre.

Back to this Saturday and there's renewed Havok murmurings. Ain't gonna happen, I point out. Throwing him a bone, I say that he could buy the relatively cheap Nite Finder. Previous research tells me that Argos are sold out: let's bike up to Toys R Us, I say -- they're bound to have it, they've got everything.

Some 2.9 sunny miles later and we've made it, father and son. In we stroll -- by now, you could blindfold both of us and we'd still go straight to the end-of-aisle Nerf display -- and I'm right, they've got everything. Everything, that is, except the Nite Finder. I've come all this way for nothing, he says. For nothing.