A friend of mine, in her college days, had a bumper sticker that offered this peaceful counsel: Don’t Buy War Toys. Once, she and a companion were stuck in a traffic jam on the highway, next to several young men in a pickup on their way home from deer hunting. The traffic was creeping along, one lane inching forward and coming to a halt, the next lane overtaking it momentarily before stopping a few yards ahead. Every time my friend’s car had to stop, the men in the pickup pulled alongside, windows cranked down, and held up various examples of the deer-rifle genre. They also hollered in tones of good-natured hilarity that became more good-natured and hilarious the lower my friend’s passenger cringed in her seat, “Hey, ladies! Don’t buy war toys? Like this?”
As it happens, in my family, with boys in the house, we do buy war toys””not nuclear missiles, of course, just the normal assortment of blasters and cork shooters and swords of various kinds, including an actual antique Indian scimitar in a moth-eaten velvet scabbard, which was the one thing our eleven-year-old wanted for his birthday.
We don’t buy toys of any kind often, mind you, relying as much as we can on nature to provide materials for hours of imaginative play. And what nature provides a lot of are war toys….