Jackson and I took a break from "The Official Who's Idea Was This, Anyway? Home Repair and Improvement Weekend" and went to see the new Indiana Jones movie with some friends. The movie was enjoyably predictable and comfortingly unoriginal.
Earlier in the day, during our second trip to Wally World to buy painting and flooring supplies, I noticed the Indiana Jones action figure aisle. I made detour so I could take a quick look. It was frightfully appalling.
Do you remember when kids were tough, resilient, regenerative little rubber monkeys? I do. My parents kept an eye on us, but from afar. We had limits and rules, but we had a lot of freedom within those rules.
We didn't know anyone who owned a bike helmet and no one would have dared to actually wear one. I learned to drive a car when I was in the fifth grade. I learned to shoot a gun much younger than that. We always played with knives and throwing stars, things you can't even buy now unless you're 18 years old. We had a bow and real arrows that couldda put an eye out. One of our favorite games was climbing up on the roof of the house, with said archery equipment strapped to our backs, then shooting at the dolls laid out as targets across the lawn.
When we got bored with all of that, we climbed up on the roof of the church and tested various towels, blankets and sheets for parachute potential by jumping off the roof onto the sand dunes piled up against the side of the building.
The only major injury either of us had, that I can remember, was the time we were swinging on a rope hanging from a tree, a la Tarzan. My brother moved the bike we were swinging over, and he moved it too far. When I tried to make the jump, I landed wrong and broke my wrist. Four weeks in a cast (a plain old plaster cast - not a specially molded and fitted arm brace) and I was good as new.
Kids today are just sissies.
Wally World had a whole row of Indiana Jones toys. I checked out the cheaply made action figures, none of which were particularly impressive. Then I saw something that made me want to give the nearest child a massive and malicious wedgie.
It was a whip.
Well, not really. It was a stuffed toy. A soft, flimsy, stuffed whip toy. Cottony. Fiber-filled. Embarrassingly flaccid.
When we first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark, my parents let us buy real whips. Leather lengths that cracked and popped like gunpowder flashes. I could never do anything impressive with it, but I could make it crack and, as my brother indicated in a previous post, I still have it.
Stuffed toy whip? Don't even bother.