16 – The Paintball Invasion of Normandy

Dave Norman is a writer who wrote about paintball until the industry dried up.

He’s met William Shatner and spent time with Russians who were making tanks to play paintball.

Sweet Russian paintball tank


Original McSweeney’s interview is here.

Show Notes

1:37 Intro to paintball. What is it? Getting dirty in the woods, sneaking up on your friends.

4:27 The Paintball Invasion of Normandy. 6000 people in a week-long paintball event.

6:40 Suzanne’s friend Dave (not Dave Norman, a different Dave) got hit in the head with a paintball and it gave him a huge welt that looked like a pimple gone wrong.

9:15 Dave Norman had paintball wounds that looked like hickeys.

10:00 Paintball journalism. Dave worked for “Action Pursuit Games” and other paintball magazines.

12:52 William Shatner was at an event called “Splat Attack” where he parachuted into the event to promote his horse therapy charity.

14:57 Dave traveled all over the world covering paintball tournaments and playing. Maine, Indiana, San Diego, UK, Thailand, Borneo, Malaysia, Moscow.

15:57 The Russians were a little more extreme in their approach to paintball. They shot fireworks at each other.

17:45 The Russians also made tanks, specifically for playing paintball.

20:00 Dave took a 10-week-long train ride trip through China and Mongolia.

22:36 Dave went from paintball journalism to writing for gun magazines. They weren’t as similar as you might think.

28:00 His first gun magazine article—write about safety glasses. Boring.

30:00 There are three types of gun magazines: Hunting, Sport, and Tactical/stuff that looks cool.

34:35 Suzanne’s brothers’ filled her doll with ketchup, nailed it to a tree, and shot at it.

35:40 Dave saves a stuffed puppy from being shot.

39:56 Why did paintball fall out of popularity? Because paintball guns could fire basically as fast as a firehose, and it took some of the fun out of it. Dave can fire maybe 8-9 shots per second; some players can do 12-13 per second.

44:35 A paintball gun can cost $1300. Yes, that’s 13-hundred.

46:45 He ate a paintball at a government meeting. Ew.

52:48 How yoga and meditation seem a natural complement to target shooting.

56:34 Dave is an aspiring author who’s written about White River Junction Vermont.

57:07 Dave did not stutter during the interview. Very nice job.