Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kidz in the Hood

     A couple of days ago, I saw two children in the field behind my yard. Now, after calling the police on them for trespassing on what is undoubtedly some development company’s property, I got sad for reasons I couldn’t quite pinpoint. Then it was made clear to me- those children were playing, and they didn’t care who saw. One of the boys had a large (hopefully) plastic rifle, and the other was carrying a small red pistol. They walked in large circles, seeing a different environment and different challenges to be conquered, not to mention entirely new bad guys to be shot in the face.
     These were the afternoons I remember as a kid- playing inside of my imagination. Now, you might say “Mick you ran around your house pretending to be a mutant because X-Men reruns were on after school and you didn’t have friends to go play basketball with!” and you’d probably be right, if a little creepy. I mean, you’d have to have been watching me a decade ago (that’s right. I did this till I was eight) and remember it all up until now. That’s stalking to an obsessive degree. Well, more obsessive than most stalking, I mean.
     Now, this wasn’t any throw-away pretend time like “Look, I’m Wolverine! Time to go kill those Sentinels!” No. I had a complete, over arching narrative with all my characters that spread multiple mediums. Not only did I have my running-around imagination, but it was exported to the G.I. Joes and Star Wars figures that were assigned specific characters. Side note, the G.I. Joes always hated on the Star Wars guys because they had less movable joints (who needs elbows?). Except Boba Fett. The only person who can talk smack to Boba Fett was Snake Eyes, and he’s a mute.
"Duke said capes are for wussys? Contact Dusty,
he's about to take over G.I. Joe."
     But the cast of characters runs down like this; there was Zeus, who could shoot lightening, Morph, who was a shapeshifting, womanizing (to Princess Leia, my least favorite toy ever) traitor, Pyro, the fire worker, which I thought of before the X-Men movies made him a character, and many more.
    These guys had quite a few adventures in the sandbox, basement, and trampoline, but really, I kept it all in my mind. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m kinda proud of all the imagination I managed to keep around from my childhood and direct to more constructive and slightly less depressing outlets. But there were a couple things I couldn’t bring through to young adulthood, and since I’m in a list-making mood, let’s hit ‘em on up.

1. Taking baths
     What? You’re saying I can sit in a tub of warm water for 10 minutes, zone out, and come out clean? That’s the best deal I can think of. Ever. But as everything else when we’re kids, we resist the most delightful things in the world solely because our parents are telling us to do them, and without cars or the power to get our own haircuts, it’s our only way to rebel. Now, tragically, I’m above 6 foot, and my tub at home is approximately 20 inches long. So unless my knees are to remain dryer than your mom’s underparts (BURN), I’ll have to stick to showers.

2. Accepting things at face value
     In movies, bad guys are bad because we’re told they are. The tan army guys are the enemy AND THAT’S THAT. Kids don’t have to worry about motives or realistic portrayals of evil, we just want Buff American to beat the crap out of Vaguely Ethnic Villain and maybe see some explosions. There’s a car flying through the air! Who cares why it’s up there, it just is. Enjoy it. That’s why I’ve always said Michael Bay is the child of Hollywood.
    And even though within thirty seconds of meeting a four year old you want to punch them in the face for why asking “Why?” so much, they’ve already accepted what you’ve said as a fact, and they’re being little dumb pieces of redundancy.

3. The opposite sex is separated
     Man, girls are tough to figure out. If they’re not yelling, they’re crying. After puberty, men are willing to put up with this for boner-related unknown reasons. However, as boys, we look at these behaviors and are like “Pfff screw that, I’ma go play more football with mah bros, holmes.” What, you didn’t talk like a combination frat boy/ early 90’s gangster when you were little? Being a little kid means that you really don’t have to watch what you say around women, or even around your friends. Your friends are your friends either because your parents are friends, or they just live less than a bike ride away. Which brings me to…

4. Bike rides
     I’m not talking “Man-bulge spandex shorts” bike rides. I’m talking no helmets, sidewalk, friend on the pegs behind you bike rides. To a kid, riding a bike doesn’t mean plain transportation, it’s all about freedom. I can ride to school and back, look at me, I’m the big man on elementary-school-campus. Bikes could also be used to create childhood gangs. I was in the Beckett Brawlers or some such.
In a pinch, bikes could even be used to find a dead body.
5. Enjoying, and having a low standard for, profanity
     Now, although I keep this blog relatively cuss-free, it’s admittedly because my mother has the internet and as a college student, I’m deathly afraid of angering her. But in real life, I do swear. I’m quite a big fan of it, even. However, nothing compares to the joy I used to get as a young child when I deemed anything obscene, like some sort of elementary school Potter Stewart. Yeah, that’s right. Supreme Court reference ALL UP IN HURR. My standards for naughty words were almost insultingly low. I once giggled for three straight minutes because I read the words “ticked off” in a book, and thought I was pretty B.A. for saying the word bitch to a 5th grader. To be fair, I was pretty B.A.

6. No sense of responsibility
     Let me just put this out here: the most money I spent as a child was 15 dollars for Pokemon cards. In those booster packs I got a Blastoise, so in my mind it was a brilliant investment. Childhood responsibility consists of eating your vegetables, learning how to spell the word “sphere”, and giggling at the word “vagina”. Heh. Vagina. Since you lacked responsibility, you just automatically assumed because adults were trusted with it, that they knew everything necessary. Now, I still have no idea what a deductible does in terms of insurance, so I’m still quite confident my parents have it together more than I do. But, unfortunately, I know can put a Band-Aid on my own skinned knee and even kiss it, so my mother has lost a little bit of her “magical mystery healer” credibility.
Have we tried curing cancer with these things?
     Once I had a dream that I was playing basketball with Conan O’Brein, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the kid from Home Improvement. That has nothing to do with anything, but I just didn’t know how to end this post.

Yosky Wosky, Peesky Weesky

Mick Dickinson 

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