Thursday night we attended the Cub Scouts family costume party. You remember, Zorro and the chubby green dinosaur. They put together a nice little event for the kids, complete with cupcakes, cookies and a handful of traditional carnival games. There was a ring toss and that classic bean bag tic-tac-toe (what was that 70's toy called?). Kids competed at eating a donut off a string without using their hands and they bobbed for apples (my son is considering turning pro at the apple thing). You could toss frisbees through the wooden clown's mouth, or try to pop balloons with darts.
So while Zorro was repeatedly dunking his face in a tub of cold water (you know, the apple bobbing thing), the dino and I were in line for the frisbee toss, which was her favorite game by far. We were laughing and talking, generally enjoying ourselves, when...
I felt like I'd been stung by a bee.
On my left cheek.
Not the one on my face.
Although I thought it odd that I should be stung in the school gymnasium at night, our local high school's mascot is the Yellowjacket and you don't choose a name like that randomly, so I'm sure it's possible.
I instinctively grabbed my own backside and spun around to face my attacker.
What I saw instead of a bee was a dart falling to the floor at my feet. A dart. Sharp, pointy, fake plastic feathers, you know the type.
I looked across the gym toward the pop-the-balloon dart toss game. The entire line of costumed scouts, siblings and parents were staring at me wide-eyed, hands over their gaping mouths. I gaped back at them, all of us stunned.
Finally, a leader asked if I was ok. I was, although it smarted something fierce. I tried to laugh it off, for the sake of the scouts. The leaders, fresh from an entire den meeting dedicated to safely handling a pocket knife, were clearly embarrassed. They quickly made some adjustments to the positioning of the game so that another wayward dart couldn't make its way to anyone else's backside, or worse.
After a few minutes, I quietly slipped out to the restroom and, finding it empty, quickly half-mooned the mirror. The offending dart had clearly left a mark. I had even bled a tiny bit, but I would live.
I decided that I was more amused than offended, because I would have fun telling this story again and again throughout my lifetime.
Perhaps next year's costume should include some sort of body armor.