Sep 30 2004
For some reason when I was out enjoying a tasty cigarette, I got to thinking about the stupid games that I used to play when I was a little girl.Â I mean, I played the normal little girl games, which could be divided into several easily recognized sub-categories:
- Four square or a variation thereof, called “let’s smack a ball around while we discuss boys” (only playable from sixth grade and up)
- Let’s Pretend: divided into several sub-sub-categories: Spies, Princess, Rock Star, Running From Criminals.Â Also, Let’s Pretend We’re The Cartoon Characters We Like (Jem, Thundercats, She-Ra)
- Dress Up: Requires that big sister not be home so her closet is accessible.
- Clapping Games: “Miss Mary Mack” and the ever-famous and slightly dirty lyrics having “Miss Mary Had a Tugboat”
but I also played several games of my own creation that, when I look back on them, make me very frightened of the child I was.Â For instance, one of my uncles runs the family business, which happens to be a pharmacy.Â “The Drug Store” as it’s known for short, also sold those bags of horrible candy you could buy two for $1.Â My cousin (the pharmacist’s daughter) and I used to go buy two bags of the candy each, then spend HOURS creating a clue-hunt for each other.Â Clue-Hunt was very easy to play:Â You write up a whole buncha clues.Â You hide all but one of them.Â You give that one to the other player.Â She follows the clue to a spot, where she will find another clue.Â That clue leads her to another clue.Â Eventually, the last clue leads her to her share of the candy.Â It sounds fun except if you look at it from the adult perspective: we were making ourselves work for the candy we had just bought.
Another odd little game I played (which I suppose falls under the Let’s Pretend category) involved the critters that surrounded me from the time I was born until my parents got divorced when I was nine: goats.Â Yes, my dad liked to have goats around, so we always did.Â At one point I think we had about 30 of them.Â And we fed them in big galvanized wash-tubs.Â I liked to feed the goats, because I could use a broomhandle to stir their food in the washtub and pretend I was a witch stirring a cauldron.Â This was fun until the day one of the goats rammed me in the face with his horns because he wanted to eat his food without being smacked by a broomstick every so often.Â I guess it wouldn’t have been so traumatic, if the ramming hadn’t resulted in a gash in my nose that required bandaging, making me look “ugly”, and if I hadn’t been trampled by a calf the month before.Â I was starting to feel like our animals were out to get me.
One thing I remember doing more than once wasn’t a game so much as a test of endurance.Â My father built our house from his own design to utilize solar energy.Â Thus, the whole front of the house was a greenhouse with HUGE windows.Â In one corner of the greenhouse, we had a Jacuzzi.Â Another cousin (Shawnsie) and I used to test ourselves: how long can we stay in the hot tub without liquifying our own innards or pruning up so much that we disappear?Â Our record: 7 hours.Â Seven.Â Hours.Â In a hot tub.Â I can barely sit in a hot tub for a half-hour now without feeling like my head is going to explode from built-up body heat.Â Another hot tub game: I used to pretend the fizzies that appeared on the surface of the water when the jets were on were water sprites who only I could see.Â I think the word you’re looking for is DORK.
Come to think of it, there were a ton of things that I did as a kid that made me dorky, and I know I wasn’t alone.Â I mean, literally, most of the time I wasn’t alone.Â Either SpecialOp B was with me, as she often was, and we were chasing the goats, or hiding out in the woods, or trying to drive our four-wheelers up a tree, or burying a “time capsule” in a canvas bag (we didn’t really know canvas rotted so when we dug it up a few months later (we were impatient) we just found our little trinkets in the ground).Â Or I was with Shawnsie, and we were sneaking out of the house late at night – not to DO anything per se, just to be out of the house very late and feel important.Â The last time we did that we got caught and weren’t allowed to talk to each other for months.
The best thing that I ever accomplished as a child was building a fort with SpecialOp B.Â “Oh, yes,” I hear you sniffing. “I also built a fort as a child.Â Ho-hum.”Â But did YOUR fort have windows?Â Was it built along solid construction guidelines, using studs, exterior weatherproof siding (left over from a home improvement project), interior paneling, and a SHINGLED ROOF?Â I think not.Â We used everything we learned from watching our dads and built ourselves a weather-tight fort, padlocked with working windows.Â We RULED.Â We still rule.Â I would love to go build a fort right now, but I’d need to be equipped with bent nails and a hammer I filched from my dad’s toolbox.Â Since my dad lives in Florida and The Man believes in buying brand new nails instead of straightening the bent ones, I am out of luck.Â I guess if I want to feel like a kid again I’ll have to wait until our next bon fire – I can poke the coals and pretend that the sparks are teeny djinn who I created through magic and who are my faithful servants.Â Fun!