Ten minutes after the scheduled 1 p.m. start of Las Vegas’ contribution to Saturday’s International Pillow Fight, I find myself discussing strategy. The long-haired brunette across the patio is wearing combat boots. That scares me. I’m fragile and unathletic. Pillows are typically soft, yes; but pillowcases can also be filled with rocks—and misdirected anger. I’m starting to hope organizers from William Joseph Communications or corporate sponsor Platinum Hotel cancel the fight for lack of turnout—only two dozen fighters are here, typical Vegas—but no one does. Instead, after waiting a few minutes for stragglers and insisting on the participation of two tourists who simply happen to be lunching at the host Arts Factory, the pillow fight begins … and I quickly learn a valuable lesson.
It ain’t the college-aged student you need to worry about. It’s the 8-year-old charging full speed ahead, pillow swinging like there’s no tomorrow. My mind blanks. Should I defensive pillow block? Run away? Hit back? The kid’s 8! He’s half my size. It doesn’t seem right to swing.
Oh, but a pillow to the face will change a mind quickly. Two minutes into this pillow fight I find myself shouting with no shame, “Back up! I will hit a kid!” to a little girl. I swing at her. I smile when the pillow connects. She deserved it. Only once do I back down—that’s when a little boy falls over into the dirt. Then, I stop and help him up, praying he doesn’t literally start crying into his pillow.
I doubt this is what I’m supposed to have learned from the Vegas outpost of International Pillow Fight Day, but I’ll take it—just like a kid takes a pillow to the head.