During a preparation day in my first area, my district went to the Ontario Science Centre. It was a pretty cool place, but the display that made the biggest impression on me—affecting my entire mission, in fact—was the gigantic laser.

The thing was probably 25 years old by then, and was quite a beast—several yards long—but it still drew a crowd. It had a long transparent tube allowing the crowd to see what the laser looked like as it interacted with various atmospheres of helium, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. But the demonstrator knew what we had really come to see, and soon she was zapping holes in all kinds of stuff. Which gave me an idea. Wouldn’t that be awesome if I lasered something of my own? Something I could keep as a souvenir?

So after the demo was finished, I went up to the woman who had been presenting and said, “Hey, could you laser my … um … name tag?” I took it off and held it out.

She cocked an eyebrow. “Are you sure?”

“Oh yeah,” enthused 19-year-old me. “It’ll be great!”

The fabled laser tag adding a bit of ambience to a baptism.

She walked over to the laser and stuck my name tag in front of it. A ribbon of smoke squirreled upward and she handed it back.

There was totally a laser hole in my name tag! Well, it was more of a laser cut running from the side into the tag for about an inch. But it was still awesome!

“Thanks!” I said, proudly reinstalling the name tag.

As we went to find the rest of the district, my companion kept looking sideways at me—obviously jealous.

When we caught up to the other guys, one of the elders turned around, looked at me once and said, “Dude, a bird crapped on your name tag.”

“Naw, it’s a laser hole!” I grinned.

“Whatever, man.”

I took my name tag off and looked at it again. As you know, the front of a missionary name tag is black, but its insides are white. This means that the laser cut was white and just a little bit bubbly. It looked … kind of like a bird had crapped on my name tag.

Believe it or not, I wore this name tag my whole mission. Not every day—I did have one or two others, but it stayed in regular rotation. Because it had a laser hole. And laser holes rock.