Frisbee with a Girl

The backyard of any daycare is a microcosm of human society really, and any particular day out there could've been very informative about why peace and harmony has so far eluded human society. Don't let anyone fool you, kids are "little adults" to a point. Sure they may look dumb and innocent, but behind those bigger heads, larger eyes, and smaller bodies, they are just as conniving, merciless, and buttheaded as the most hardened adult. It's just that adults have the whole world to play with... kids only have the confines of a backyard. Case in point, I think this story really gets at the heart of why there will never be peace and harmony between the sexes. The fact of the matter, as I have learned from bitter experience, is that girls are needlessly manipulative, and boys are just dumb jerks. Sound familiar?

Summers meant I was stuck at daycare on the days my parents worked, which meant long afternoons of heatstroke in the blazing backyard of the sitter's house with nothing but the occasional tube-Popsicle or hard plastic kiddy pool with more grass in it than water to give us some relief. Each day after lunch we were all just stuck out in the backyard like dogs to while away the hours with the clouds and the ants, and that was all there was. In any case, you can imagine why we might start getting on each other's nerves.

So there I was, about 8-years-old, scuffing the grass like a rearing bull, upset with a girl there because she had no intention of going along or playing off the arm of whatever grand make-believe movie I was trying to make with her, and at some point a Frisbee entered the equation. We tossed it back and forth at each other for a minute or so, and she just couldn't throw the thing right. It'd always end up rolling back somewhere toward the bushes and the trees, and I'd always have to go fish it out "because I was closer." This happened time and time again, so I began purposely throwing it wrong at her just to get back at her for her lame "girl-tosses."

"You throw like a girl!" (Yeah, those famous last words.) A bit of a shouting match ensued, so on one of her turns, she winged that thing with a perfect precision there-before unseen... and on target too, right between my eyes! Clonk!

It hit my face so hard I fell over backwards on the ground, and my eye and nose stung for a few minutes. She couldn't help from cracking up. And so there I lay on the grass, humiliated, and emasculated, which got me so enraged I stormed off to "tell on her." Here we go, I thought, let's see how she likes this! I really played it up too when I got to the sliding glass door: "she hit me on purpose!" I may have even tried to shed tears. But that sitter did the right thing. She said, "Oh don't be a crybaby. You're not hurt." And I swear the second she said that, the "pain" was gone.  

If only she'd been good at it, I thought, then I could say it was on purpose! Something told me she knew what she was doing all along.

Here's the lesson kids. This is why it's always a good idea for girls and boys to play together. That day I learned that when it comes to getting even with someone by hitting them with a Frisbee on purpose, two words reign supreme: plausible deniability. Girls know this by birthright. We boys learn it the hard way, if at all. Yeah, we think we're hot shits, but in fact, when it comes to girls bulls-eyeing grumpy boys, it's always 5 points for the arm, 20 points for the head!

I'm just lucky she didn't want to play the game of splits! 

Battle Chess was Badass

Battle Chess was badass, as in, probably the coolest computer game you could play in the early 90's (besides Doom), and all the boys loved it. And for once I can actually include myself in that equation. It tapped into something primative, something absolutely out for blood and guts, the great hard-on for gore we all have. This was a decade before all these first-person shooters and role playing games took over the scene, and back then you were lucky if you saw blood in a video game.

But if I remember right, this game not only had  blood, but guts... and limbs getting chopped off one by one... and people going up in a blaze, or getting shrunk down and squashed...etc. This game was hard core in those days, and guess what, they even let us play it in school. Something about watching these little minions smash each other to a bloody pulp made me shit myself with "aww-yeah."

I don't know much about other schools, but in my elementary school, if you could play chess, you were considered one of the elite... the coolest of all. You had skills. If that game of chess involved knights that cut the arms and legs off pawns, rooks that turned into rock men who could pound pawns into a puddle, and kings that had a whole arsenal of weaponry under their capes (whips.. swords... bombs... guns??), then you weren't just cool, you were flannel cool. Heck, this game was so badass, it didn't even care if you saw it cheating. Seriously, you'd be playing against the computer, and all of sudden the pieces on the other end of the board would just switch places. "That's right, I just did. What you gonna do about it bitch?" 

This game was chest beating on a 32 bit scale. You only played it to be cool, playing it made you cool, and refusing to play it made you absolutely de-balled. If you were a girl playing it, it bestowed on you honorary balls, which as everyone knows are even ballsier. This is literally the game that taught me what Chess is all about. Strategy, battles, and pure unbridled machismo. Hoo-rah!  Time to go knock over a vending machine with all my rage! Aw yeah! *Burp *Fart "Look at all its blood!"

Now I'm sure they would have preferred us playing girly games like Sticky Bear and Grammar (which to the eight-year-old me was something you called your grandmother), but the only other game that could touch this in "computer-class" was Oregon Trail (and that is deserving of its own post). Without games like this, computers sucked my big fat one.

Freezies and Fumes

My favoritest.
The smell of boiling diesel gas automatically awakens my sweet tooth, and you want to know why? It's because that's exactly what the ice cream truck smelled like when it came sputtering to a stop along the street when I was a kid. It's funny how that tingle-toned "Do your ears hang low?" doesn't harken back sweet thoughts, just the burning gas. Either way, summer was made for Popsicles--that's not an 80's or 90's thing, that's an eternal thing (but for some reason I still think they were better then, but that's what everyone says, so obviously everyone is right).

We were fortunate enough to live on the end of an L-curve at the time, which meant we had much more time to grab some fast cash and run out to meet him somewhere along the perimeter. Those other kids who only had one side facing a road usually met up with us in our yard once he stopped. The old guy (always old guys) would pop open the hatch and the whole menu would spill out on the back in colorful, hand-drawn illustrations easy for kids. My brother and I loved the snow cones and Popsicles the best--especially the ones shaped like cartoon characters and the classic "red white and blue" rockets. They also used to sell the ones with jokes on them, where the bottom of the stick would say something like, "How did the square become a circle?" And then you'd eat down the Popsicle and the other end would reply, "He cut the corners!" 

No cymbals? Okay, how about this one... "Why did the window go to the doctor?  Because it had panes!" Or this... "What did one tomato say to the other when rolling down the hill? Don't worry, I'll ketchup!" Or...  "What do you call a frog that's illegally parked? A toad!" 

Okay, the jokes were corny, and yes, the smell of burning diesel is not what you think of when you think of sweets, but that was all a part of that classic summertime charm I will never forget. The one big regret I remember having about moving to the new house in 1991 was that the ice cream truck would always skip our street. And whenever he did make a run on it, he really was running-- seriously, they could have got him for speeding. 

Don't Taste Like Apples?

I might have been alone in this (judging by the commercials), but I thought they kind of tasted like apples.

Seriously, you always heard them ask the question: "Why do they call them Apple Jacks if they don't taste like apples?" But that's not even the half of it, because not only are they called what they're not, they're advertised as not being what they're not. Maybe this was reverse psychology or something.

And all this attention on the word "apple," but what about "jacks?" If apples are nowhere in the equation, then the real question ought to be "what the hell is a jack, and why are we eating it?"

Because we do?