Sunday, 30 May 2010

Drinks Under Fire

Sometimes someone will say to you something that you will think is very, very crazy. Sometimes you will say "What the hell?" and that will be that. But sometimes one of these very crazy sayings will pass you by, like a leaf on the wind, and you will be completely enthralled. This process of not noticing craziness usually happens with one person to another, and maybe a subsequent third person. But on a rare occasion, when the planets align and the sun grows a deep black, and the sky blood red that craziness will spread from person to person until around ten people are involved. This is how the sport of paintball was invented.

Today, I had the absolute joy of going paint-balling with my friends. This is not sarcasm. I really enjoyed it. It sounds surprising, and considering that I had paid to go and pretty much get shot for a day, you would be forgiven for thinking that I have had one too many 200mph speeding capsules to the head.

At first glance, paint-balling is a horrible, horrible experience. You are dressed in embarrassing clothes, given uncomfortable masks, awkward and ineffective gas-powered guns, are told that all of this protection will be useless against the blinding pain that will follow after you are hit, and the you just go. You are sent out into a wood to have the shit shot out of you. And its terrifying. I felt fear that I have only felt twice before, and both of those times I was also paint-balling.

It was more the sounds than anything else. Everywhere you go, the short popping blast of a paintball gun can be heard, the sound ricocheting round the forest like a wayward paintball. And then there's the fear when you are pressed against a tree. Part of you is thinking "I'm safe behind this tree" whilst the rational part of your brain knows that the very next thing thats going to happen is you're going to be shot in the dick almost instantly.

I fear for my unborn children, who will no doubt grow up with an intrinsic fear of being shot in their delicate areas.
On the first game, I was stoked. The adrenaline kicked in straight away, meaning I felt like I could do anything. Paintballs would bounce off me. I would be invincible. Then I got shot in the second game. In the thigh. It was right on the inner thigh, in the soft pink flesh. I'm sure if I had been riding horses all my life I would be fine, but I didn't, so I wasn't. After a small while contemplating my mortality and my place in the Earth, I got on with it and vowed to shoot them back. And I did. And it was fantastic.

The joy you get from pulling a trigger and seeing a small orange capsule explode on the chest of a person shooting at you makes you feel awesome. It's like a combination of finding a £20 note in your pocket and perfectly throwing something in a bin, and ten times as satisfying. Then the person you hit does something awful. He rubs the paint off, and carries on, and no doubt shoots your face in the process. The despicable sod, The unmitigated audacity! I bet that sick bastard gets off on seeing your face, a combination of horror and sadness, and he loves it. He can't get enough of it. God you hate him.

Then there's the bastard who shouts surrender when you have your back to him, and then ignores your surrendering and pelts the crap out of you anyway.

They are all assholes.

I was told one thing by my friend James (Whose birthday event it was) before we all left for the paint-balling place in the morning; "The person beside you in a trench or a barricade is your best friend, whether you know him or not." Truer words have never been said, as half of our team, a ramshackle operation of different stag parties, birthdays and other people headed to our final battle. The other team outnumbered us, and we were charged with storming their little fort thing and diffusing a thingy, which seemed like an impossible task considering we strongly suspected they were cheating. Well, less suspected and knew for a certain fact, but anyway.

As we walked toward the start area, we were laughing nervously, joking, having fun, and trusting our well being with complete strangers. It was weird. We ended up winning that last game, more out of an unbridled anger and rage for the other team than anything else, and it was great.

If the person next to you was your best friend, then the person shooting at you, regardless of who he was, was your mortal enemy who had wronged you in some way. He was probably a single father of two letting off some steam, but that doesn't matter. He is wearing red, and he must be destroyed, because blue is way better.

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