Games People Played

I was shocked to see a child ride past my office window on his scooter. Thought all kids did after school was played “kill things” video games. (Yes, here comes another back-in-my-day rant.) Not only was this child on a scooter, but it was also a self-propelled scooter. Amazing.

One of the reasons children stay in their little cells called “rooms” is because the media has convinced their parents that if the children go outside, they’ll be kidnapped, raped, and murdered. Guess it’s more humane to kill your children slowly with fast food.

Anywho, back in my day, we spent as little time as possible inside. We wolfed down the food, and flew from the house every chance we got. Once I turned teenish, I discovered bare-naked titties on HBO–tuned between channels three and four–and spent less time outside. Still, as much as I looked forward to the next set of glorious black-and-white glands, my greatest love was to be outside playing games with my buds.

Aside from the ordinary games such as basketball on a slanted driveway, wiffleball in a small yard, and football on any random piece of land with few trees, we created and played various games, and I admit that some were quite violent.

  1. Fumble-Rumble: I think this might have been called “Kill the Queer” before sensitivity training. All we needed was a group of guys and a football. If you had the ball, everyone simply pounced on you until someone got the ball away from you, then it was his turn to get pummeled. I’m unsure what the object was, but I was smart enough to drop the ball quicker than a girlfriend with a lip sore.
  2. Capture the Flag: This was usually played in the dark. Two teams would be formed. Each would hide a piece of cloth somewhere on their side of the yard. There was an imaginary boundary midway between the teams. If you crossed it and were tagged, you had to return to your base (some tree in the back of your half). Folks, running in the dark in the days before electric clothes dryers was precarious at best–hence, the term “clothesline.”
  3. Tick-Tacking: We’d husk old corn (hard as rocks), sneak up on houses where we’d see some old fart reclining with a pipe and a paper, then chuck fist-fulls against the aluminum siding. Made quite a racket. Not sure why that was fun. Oh, we’d also take bars of soap and write dirty words on parked car windows.
  4. Pyromania: One of our buds would have the cool father–the one who never grew up. That father would venture to North Carolina, and bring back firecrackers and sparklers. We’d have Roman Candle battles, and throw lit sparklers at each other. Our fathers would beat us for leaving the sections of burnt wire all over the yard, which would become dangerous projectiles while mowing the lawn. We’d also blow up mailboxes … because. When we discovered the interesting effect magnifying glasses have when combined with the sun, we’d burn ants, leaves, and friends … because.
  5. Bang: Nothing is much cooler to a kid than making a loud noise. We’d buy explosives (yes, completely legal for an eight-year-old to buy gunpowder in the form of rolls of caps back in the day), grab a ball-peen hammer from Pop’s toolbox, and proceed to deafen ourselves by striking rolls of caps on the sidewalk.
  6. Jump Off Shit: Kids don’t comprehend gravity very well. Must be caused by all the movies, cartoons, and pro-wrestling we watched. We’d make ramps, and skin/bruise ourselves as we went over them on bikes and sleds. No material to build a ramp? No problem! Jump off stairs and rooftops. Heck, a carpet or pile of leaves should break the fall. Ow, my head.
  7. Throw Things at Things: I didn’t develop my pitching arm by throwing baseballs. The older kids in the neighborhood pelted me with snowballs, dirtballs, and walnuts, so it was either learn to catch and throw back harder, or be a sissy baby. Often this was as simple as find a can, put it on a branch (or have little brother hold it), then knock it off with rocks. When this bored us, we discovered moving targets. Living next to a busy street presented many prime wintertime targets. We’d toss balls of ice, trying to hit cars going around 50mph. What’s a few dents? Back then cars got dented. Nobody gave two shits. But, when one exceptionally no-fun-having driver would pull over and chase us, that was the stuff legends were made of.

I could go on, but most of my readers were dressing Barbie and Ken while I damaged my internal organs. Sorry, ladies. Let’s just hope you don’t have any boys like me.

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Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.
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