I’m sure that my husband is going to be less than thrilled with my sharing this, but once upon a time, he shot a BB pellet into his palm. Those of you who are male or who have known males will not be surprised to hear that the reason that he did this was to show me that my fear of his BB gun and objection to his shooting cardboard boxes in our bathroom was overblown. I believe that he was demonstrating that you can even shoot yourself without any major problems, forgot that he had already pumped up the gun, gave it a few more pumps, and voila–a small metal BB stuck right in the fleshy part of the hand at 1am on a Sunday night. After he dug it out with a butter knife or similar home implement (he used to be in the Army, so he’s weirdly casual about things like this), he asked me for the hydrogen peroxide and band-aids. I told him we didn’t have any. And he said, as best as I can recall, “how can we not have band-aids when you know that I’m like this?”
And then we had two boys. And not long after they were both mobile, I went to the store and got the full First-Aid kit–the one with all of the weird balms and dressings that you think no one could possibly need. I’ve learned that they’re there for a reason. And I’ve learned that there’s really no point in asking a boy–or occasionally a full-grown man with a BB gun–why he does something crazy and injurious because, as often as not, the answer will be something along the lines of, “I just wanted to see what would happen.” (Incidentally–exactly the answer my husband gave when he shot himself in the hand with a plastic blowdart. That one’s kind of a long story.)
So I couldn’t help but smile a little bit in appreciation at the two boys in Indiana who were left with bleeding tongues after attempting to see if it was true that licking a frozen flagpole can get your tongue stuck (as in the movie A Christmas Story). I don’t think I can improve on one of the boys’ explanation:
I decided to try it because I thought all of the TV shows were lies, but turns out I was wrong,” Gavin said.
I know that as a responsible adult, I should be pontificating about foolish behavior and injury and health care or something. But truth be told, I can’t help but love this about boys–the spirit of experimentation and reckless adventure. I can wish that it didn’t have such a high cost in terms of band-aids. (And obviously I never want to see anyone get hurt.) But even when the reasoning is somewhat lacking, I love the spirit of it all.
But you really do have to watch out for those double-dog dares.