There’s nothing like a cold paintball hitting you in the ass at one million miles per hour to make you feel alive!
It was a cold, brisk autumn (I prefer saying autumn instead of fall because I’m pretentious like that) morning. I found myself, at ridiculous o’ clock in the morning, at a paintball (place? Site? Area?) with one of those names that inspire feelings of excitement and adventure in people when they go there. Something like, “Exciting Adventure Balls” or whatever. Not important, on with the story.
Anyway, days earlier, in a drunken haze, I had foolishly agreed to go paintballing with some friends. I’d never done it before, but thought it looked like fun. I did plenty of laser tag when I was a kid, (remember that shit?!) and figured that it would be similar, but more colorful. Besides, I thought to myself, I spent five years in the Army and two years in Iraq, I should beast all over the other paintballers like Rambo in a northwestern hick town! Which could make sense, except that I never fired my rifle in Iraq and I wasn’t even in the infantry. Hell, the only military maneuvers I know I learned from Stripes. And I don’t think they would apply on the paintball battlefield.
My first assessment of the paintball place was grim. It was full of little kids wearing eighty different varieties of camouflage. And here I was in a neon-bright orange shirt with yellow stripes, which could be seen from outerspace. Not the smartest move on my part. Luckily I had a left over protective chemical suit from the army, which, besides the elastic strap that goes from the back of the jacket to the front via the crotchtal region, was quite comfortable and warm.
After (literally) three or four hours of waiting, we were finally given the gear and instructions we needed to paintball successfully! (Instructions: Please don’t shoot the wildlife and don’t hit somebody in the head from less than 20 feet. Two annoying rules that I planned on immediately breaking.) Armed with my awkwardly weighted paintball gun and over 700 paintballs, I was ready to go forth and do battle in the name of queen and country!
The ineffectual employees of Adventurous Balls of Excitement trundled 40 of us would-be paintballers about a quarter-mile down this path, laced with rocks, stumps, roots and other hazards designed to rip an unsuspecting foot off. The whole time we had to wear our masks over our faces, just in case an errant paintball found its way into our eye sockets.
The rules were simple; a seven-minute game of capture the flag, 20 on 20. Try to shoot people without being shot. Lather, rinse, repeat. When I stepped out into that wooded playing area, filled with obstacles and barriers, I felt alive! I was a man, getting back to my most primitive urges of trying to shoot other people in the face, and loving every minute of it. Then, just as my sense of connectedness with the world reached it’s ultimate peak and I could barely contain the primal hunter within me, they blew the whistle to start the game.
That’s when everything went to hell.
My enemies melted into the woods, invisible to my neophyte eyes. Paintballs came flying at me from the left, the right and in front of me. I immediately reverted to my finely honed military training, dodging and weaving through the fierce hail of balls, (wow, there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say!) hoping for some sort of cover, a barrier from these small spherical objects filled with a paint that suspiciously had the same color and texture of jizz. But it was no use. My opponents were skilled in the art of paintballing, they knew how to use angles and junk to take out their foes. I was no match for them.
We played a total of six games. In five of those games I was shot in the face. And let me tell you, that mask doesn’t offer that much protection. When we were done and I was able to take the mask off my face looked like I was the willing recipient of a Bukkake shot. Unsavory.
In that one game where I wasn’t shot in the face, I was shot in the ass. To be able to shoot me in the ass a player from the other team would have to have gotten through enemy lines and attacked me from the rear. Since this wasn’t possible three seconds after the game began, I could only assume that it was one of the dozen of people who were standing behind me on my own team who did the evil deed. That’s gratitude for you.
Next time I’m going to freeze my paintballs and then shoot everybody, regardless of what team they’re on. Then, once everybody is dead I will bring democracy to the paintball field and restore the infrastructure there. After all, it’s the American way!