Lasker Pool

Lasker Pool
Central Park, summer 2011

Friday, September 25, 2009

Nerf Wars

My kids must be just about the easiest targets for marketing tactics around. When they find something compelling, they REALLY find it compelling.
A few years ago, Kyle, my 10-year-old, was obsessed with the TV ads for Floam--a sticky, icky low-rent version of Play Doh that's apparently made only in colors that are not found in nature.
Every time a Floam mini-informercial came on, he'd run to the phone and dial the 800 number.
But, of course, the poor boy had no credit card with which to pay.
When we finally gave in and ordered some Floam (suckered, no doubt, by the bonus of a free, extra-large container of chartreuse), it was a colossal flop. The stuff stunk so badly of some unidentifiable chemical that Kyle and Jesse ran from the room, crying.
The Floam ended up in the garbage.
Since Floam, we've been through the Bakugan thing, the Star Wars thing, the Pokemon card thing and about a dozen, interests.
Right now? For Seth, it's all about Nerf Guns. He knows every model and price, apparently, and talks with great insight about the differences between them. For those who care, the newest and most coveted Nerf is the Rapid Fire-Raider SC-35, and Seth is excited enough about this one to stop begging for the Nerf Tommy 20. (He's been talking about that one at least three or four times a day--literally--for months. It's a bit hard to take.)
Seth has taken to watching Nerf gun videos on You Tube, making his own Nerf-fascimiles out of toilet paper and paper towel tubes and drawing his own vision of a Nerf-filled future.
There are flowers, apparently, and many, many Nerf guns.
Yesterday morning, I woke up to a most peculiar noise: the sound of a soft little Nerf dart hitting a piece of paper.
I peeked into the living room to find Seth, wearing his goggles and shooting at a paper target he'd drawn and taped up on the bookshelf. Luckily, he missed hitting our wedding photo.
His latest idea is a Nerf party, where all the kids (27 of 'em) in his second-grade class will come to our New York (read: small) apartment and attempt to whack each other with Nerf darts. Seth has it all set up in his mind:
"Mom, we can turn the table on its side and some kids can hide behind the table and shoot," he told me as I rushed the boys to school this morning. "Some kids can be in our bunk beds and shoot into the living room. I'll be under Kyle's desk, blasting. We'll have goggles for everyone and bags of extra ammo!"
He hasn't brought up the idea of a Nerf birthday cake yet, but I'm thinking that's next.
Of course, next month, we'll be on to something else.


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