NERF! Huh... What is it good for?


Running with scissors, playing with matches, taunting the neighbour’s dog—these are all things that your parents probably told you not to do. With good reason too, given that you most probably would have hurt yourself.

Well, now that I’ve grown up (read: gotten older), I’d like to add another phrase that parents across the world can add to the growing list of parental clichés. Don’t play NERF guns with daddy.

Normally, using a couple of small NERF guns and playing cops and robbers, Autobots versus Decepticons or any other version of good guys versus bad guys with your children is about as risky as eating cornflakes with a fork—a little messy and slightly annoying. What the manufacturers don’t tell you about the father-son bonding experience while mucking about with some flying foam darts is that it can be incredibly painful and slightly embarrassing.

One Sunday evening, we were firing upon each other with our little yellow missiles, laughing and generally having a good time. We had, as was customary, enacted the ‘no shooting above the waist’ policy and things were going swimmingly. I was tasked with being the accommodating pirate with horrendous aim and wholeheartedly accepted this role in our little fiction, firing my shots mere metres wide of my target, while allowing him to shoot me numerously, point blank in the buttocks, to much fanfare and triumph.

Needing some relief I called for a bathroom break, pausing the game momentarily. “Okay Daddy,” came the reply and all seemed fine. But as I sat, pants hanging loosely from ankles, I saw the door swing open and as I glanced up. “Twang!” Then all was black.

You see, my son, my precious, good-natured five-year-old son, who agreed to our diplomatic conventions, morphed into a merciless NERF firing machine and shot me fair in the eye.

With next-to-no vision and searing pain, my wife and now guilt-stricken son rushed me to the doctor’s surgery and then to an optometrist, forcing me to repeat my embarrassing war-story twice (to much smirking) before finally getting treated for a corneal/retinal hematoma or badly bruised eyeball.  My son remarked that my freshly bandaged eye made me look like a real pirate now. I was not amused.

My eye recovered in about a week and my vision was restored, but the ordeal could have been much worse both physically and financially. Luckily we had recently renewed our private health insurance so the financial impact was fairly small. So let that be a lesson to you, make sure you cover yourself properly, as you never know when a little foam dart is going to take you down.


Have you ever been injured in a weird or embarrassing way? Tell us below. Go on we won't judge.