Saturday, May 06, 2006

I Think Our Parents Were Trying to Kill Us

No bike helmuts? The only kids who wore helmuts were the ones riding the short bus to school. Sure, we road our bikes (“look Ma! No hands!!”). We fell. We messed up our arms, legs, faces and sometimes teeth. But I don’t ever recall any of my acquaintances getting a head injury.

No shin pads or wrist guards? We roller skated. We didn’t roller blade. We had only those fucked-up $1.49 metal skates that were made up of 2 flat, open sections held together by a nut. There was a one-size-fits-all clamp that half-heartedly held your big and little toes in place, and an ankle strap that barely held the skates to your feet. Yeah, THESE were safe. And we were just stupid enough to hold onto a jump rope and let the bigger kids pull us behind their bikes.

Those skates would then get so hot they’d burn the rubber on the sides and soles of our canvas Keds tennis shoes, giving us a case of "hot foot."

It was a real treat to try skating down a rough sidewalk. You’d inevitably trip, one (or both) skates would flip off at the toes, sending you falling (face-first) with the skates still rattling around your ankles. Crying, with skates flapping, you ran home for some mercurochrome and a band-aid. We were too stupid to undo the ankle straps before running home.
Sometimes you opted to NOT get fixed up because the cure was worse than the injury. The orangey-red mercurochrome burned like hell. And when it came time to remove that band-aid, you’d lose more skin than your boo-boo took off in the first place. Those band-aids could hang on for a week, no problem.

As a curly-topped 3 year-old, I remember ironing my dad’s boxer shorts with the adult-sized ironing board lowered to my height and a miniature iron. It was a real iron. I never got burned. I remember getting the SHIT shocked out of my hand as I plugged it in, but I never burned myself. The electrical cords were thick, braided & rope-like. If they were frayed, you got zapped. Hell, I didn't know that. But my parents did, I'm sure. Hmmmm...

My greatest thrill in ironing the boxers was using spray starch. I loved the scent of Niagara Spray Starch. Needing two hands to work the can, I’d practically soak the shorts & then iron them perfectly. In later years, my mom told me how she and my dad would laugh because I had ironed the all the flys shut. Dishtowels and handkerchiefs were my other specialties.

Once upon a time someone came up with the brilliant idea of “Mr. Potato Head,” using real potatoes. Yeah, yeah, I know I’m old. I vividly remember the exceptionally sharp and pointy accessories that came in the kit. After all, they had to be sharp and pointy enough to make it into the raw potatoes. Those were some lean years and you didn’t want to get caught wasting food. You ended up having to use the same potato over & over again. It would look disgusting as the potato starch leaked out of the holes & turned black. We also used green peppers. Mom would just about shit herself when we did that.

I remember an especially unpleasant encounter with one of those sharp, pointy pieces. It seems that when cleaning up after playing, I’d missed one sneaky piece. I don’t recall which piece it was, but that sumbitch went right into the bottom of my foot. I hopped over to my mother, blood dripping, and she pulled it out. Mercurochrome & a band-aid; No trip to the ER. But we never saw Mr. Potato Head again. I got an extra punch from my older brother for that one. Fucker.

13 Comments:

Blogger CP said...

Mecurochrome. HOLY shit. That stuff went on EVERYTHING, remember that??? *L*

And it stained you for like, weeks! Ha! I love that stuff. Too bad it got banned for causing like, mercury toxicity or some shit...cause I thought it was way cooler than Bactine and less slimy than Neosporin.

Sometimes? When I die my hair? It comes out Mecurochrome orange. It's way cool. It attracts a lot of Jewish doctors.

CP.

3:21 AM  
Blogger Jege (Jen) said...

Jacks were banned from our house after my dad stepped on one that had burrowed into the living room carpet. It was worth it though, seeing him hop around and yell "GODDAMN IT!! GODDAMN FARGINBLARGINRACKINFRACKIN JACKS!!!! WHO THE HELL PUT THIS HERE?!! AMY EMILY JENNY!!!! GET OUT HERE!!! GODDAMN IT!!!!" My sisters and I would just run outside, laughing our asses off.

Also, I remember riding my bike, no helmet of course, at age 7, down to the park several blocks away all by myself. That would NEVER happen now. There would be helmets and knee pads, and a full secret service convoy, and long lectures about Stranger Danger. Such times we live in.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Key said...

Hear hear. Kids can't take a crap crosswise without instructions and safety equipment up the ying yang these days.

My parents gave me a wood burning kit. Good times.

2:06 PM  
Blogger patti_cake said...

I wish they still had merchurochrome. Happy memories! And yeah it bugs me all the bike helmet, knee pads crap these days.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Pisser said...

This was GREAT. (You ever read Lynda Barry? You remind me a lot of her...scroll down for comeeks) She wrote a great piece on Toys Your Mom Wouldn't Allow You to Have (and why), esp. the EZ Bake Oven, etc.

Legos hurt pretty bad, too, btw. For plastic, those f*ckers sure were murder on the foot(s), especially when camouflagued by 70's shag...

Frank Zappa's autobiography also has some great stuff on how his Italian mother/grandmother poured olive oil in his ears for infections, and his dad brought home DDT and Mercury FOR HIM TO PLAY WITH. o_O

11:35 AM  
Blogger ~Deb said...

Oh LAWD I remember those fricken roller skates! How awful. One pebble and it was off to the ER!

Very funny post!

Espresso bean sent me. :)

6:50 PM  
Blogger Butchieboy said...

I had lawn darts as a kid. I remember sharpening them with my stepfather's rasp. They eventually worked their way into my ninja arsenal.

8:16 PM  
Blogger The Stevo in H-Town said...

Bought back some memories fer sure..but starching and ironing BOXER SHORTS?!?!?..I'll be brief: That li'l chore may rank amongst the top of any "Monumental Waste's of Time" lists I've ever heard of.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Revenge Ho said...

Hey, do you remember your little brother sleeping in the back window of the car? Now the bitches have to be in a booster until their fucking 8 years old. Wtf?

8:30 PM  
Blogger Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I love that E;ectricity Tickles bit, very funny. And yes, I recall even getting Mecurochrome on my lips by accident.

12:26 AM  
Blogger Michele in Michigan said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone! And welcome to my new visitors :)

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Meg said...

Remember "go-karts"? My brother used to nail some wheels to a board and go flying down the street. Without a helmet, of course.

And station wagons? We used to sleep in the back. or play games. all without seat belts.

4:27 PM  
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