Saturday, May 24, 2008

I always liked that song by Devo...

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.

Wussy juveniles.


annie said...

We were going to see the Indiana Jones movie last night but ended up putting it off. I've not heard much positive said about it, but still want to go see it for myself.

I agree that kids today are wimps. They don't have much imagination on thinking up exciting things to do either!

We always had fun cracking my grandfather's whip. That's just wrong, selling a stuffed toy whip!

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

you said flaccid...I am sure you are going to get into trouble for that!

We also road in those big STEEL cars with no seat belts. Jumped our bikes over things with homemade ramps.

Survival of the fittest in those days. That is what is wrong with kids these days. There is no weeding out process.

SpookyRach said...

annie - I recommend it. Just keep your expectations realistic.

Mindy - It is the most entirely perfect word for those horrid things. I tried some others, but when you already know what the perfect word is, nothing else fits!

soul and culture said...

I almost fell out of my chair when I read the word 'flaccid'. Who needs a flaccid whip? It's only a matter of time before those are 2-for-1 on a blue light special.

Flaccid whips, meh. You can't even find real Klackers today. Granted, mine were at my grandparent's house, and were purchased by my grandfather in a moment of weakness. Still, I was allowed to fling around two little glass balls with the potential to 'put your eye out'.

And the rusty knife found in a ditch that a friend and I used to cut ourselves so we could be 'blood sisters' did no permanent damage.

No sissies for us.

SpookyRach said...

S&C - Blood sisters by rusty ditch knife? You are officially NOT A SISSY. Good for you!

Dijea said...

My kids aren't whimps. Last weekend they were cage fighting on the trampoline (it has the safety netting) and they were truly going at it. Mine don't wear shoes outside, don't wear bike helmets (have me arrested) and jump from bed to bed in the dark after bedtime. My youngest has gone thru a sliding glass door, and both have broken their noses.

They are 7 & 5. They do cry when they get a boo boo, but aren't total whimps.

Presbyterian Gal said...

Flaccid is the ONLY word that is able to fit around an object that is flaccid. Really.

Saw the Indy movie. George and Stephen and Harrison are getting soft in their old age. Dare I say "flaccid". Ha!

When I was a kid we used to settle arguments by having a war. We'd throw these sticker covered balls that came off trees (called them "sticker bombs") at each other, then rocks when we ran out. Whoever drew blood first won, then we'd all play together again.

And at school we had steel slides that sat all day in hot sun on asphalt covered playgrounds (none of this foam cushion or soft wood chips) where we sat to play jacks and girls had to wear dresses. And when we played dodge ball, we meant it.

Friend of mine called it the "wussing of America". I agree.

SpookyRach said...

djea - If they have to have a trampoline enclosure, then the only logical think to do is cage fighting. Your kids sounded decidedly un-wussy. Give 'em a punch in the arm from me.

PG - I'm way impressed with the sticker bombs. And don't EVEN get me started on the dodge ball issue.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

amen! hubhc & i couldn't agree more on the grand wussification of our culture at large... as a city girl, i used to watch the Hell's Angels who lived next door, practice their knife throwing in the alley. as a country boy, hubhc was too busy shooting any living creature he could find on the river...

esperanza said...

Don't forget the riding--completely unrestrained--in the beds of pickup trucks. Good times.

And "flaccid" cracked me up too. I needed a laugh today, so thanks for the perfect word. A stuffed whip. Please. My brother had a real Mexican leather one.

little david said...

When I was in 6th grade, the park across the street had a three-level concrete structure that we called "The Castle." There was a curved slide from the top level to the ground. We played tag on the castle; if you jumped off, into the sand, you were automatically "it." We had a lot of fun racing around trying to keep from slipping off and jumping from the second level to the slide to get away from "it."

A couple of years after I started college, the city deemed the structure too dangerous. (Well, OK, I did break my arm trying to jump from the first level to grab hold of the slide--I slipped, did a flip, and woke up with a forearm shaped kind of like the numeral 7. But I got over it.) So they tore down the castle and replaced it with a wooden climbing structure which they later tore down and replaced with swings. What's next--a bark-chip circle?

bebo_tech_unt said...

wimps....excuse me?? just to prove it.....i'll beat jackson, both hands tied behind me back, blindfolded, without even breaking a sweat. I'll agree though that LITTLE KIDS are wimps.....with their stuffed whips and what not.......oh and every one go check out my blog!!!!

zorra said...

Wow, S&C, a rusty knife...I'm best friend and I just used thorns.

And yes, Rach, you're right about kids these days, but it's not their fault that they live in the age of the lawsuit and the ridiculous warning (e.g. "WARNING: Do not drive car with sunshade in place"). Stuffed toy whips, indeed.

jonboy said...

I saw that same whip. I even pressed the little button to get it to make that automated whip crack complete with unrelenting white noise in the background. Then I had to explain to my 8-year-old about real whips. She also wanted to know, in Last Crusade, when young Indy whipped himself in the face why did it bleed. I again had to explain real whips.
And, no offense dijea, but trampoline enclosures are "wussification."

... And I put that bycicle exactly where you told me.

JenStar said...

We used to shoot bb guns at the metal shed. I drove through a fence at 12. My brother drove grain trucks at 10. We played in mud puddles and threw mud pies at each other. We played with matches. Cut cane out of the fields with machetes. We rode the mini bike through the ditches without helmets or pads. Stuck our tongues on the frozen sled. This past weekend I had a 7 yr old ask me who Tarzan was?

Bunny Bunster said...

The Nanny State is going too far now with flaccid whips.
"I said Whip It! Whip it Good"

Anonymous said...

What is the world coming to... Great story though!