When I saw all the cute little toddlers in crazy costumes marching from door to door and stuffing their mouths with candy, I have to say I was a little frightened because it was two days after Halloween.
No, actually the kids I saw on Halloween were adorable and brought back memories of my own trick-or-treating experiences, namely the hatred I had for people that would hand out boxes of raisins or even pencils.
Do you remember these people? They gave out pencils on Halloween! These people obviously had no idea what it was like to be a kid. I'm convinced they were never children - they must have come straight out of the womb at the age of 75. The doctor said, "Congratulations Mrs. Holland, you've given birth to a 75-year-old man."
"Hello, Mom. You know what I think kids would like for Halloween? Pencils."
There were other things about childhood that piss me off now that I look back on it. Remember Slip n' Slide? I used to think it was the best thing in the world, but now I realize that it wasn't fun at all. You flew down a hill on paper-thin plastic with a huge smile on your face while rocks and sticks stabbed into your stomach and chest. And when you got to the end of the Slip n' Slide, you just kept going on the bare grass for at least 20 yards. Grass and mud covered you. Entire cities of insects were running for their lives. Finally, you came to a stop, you dizzily sat up, and that was when the next kid in line careened into you at 70 miles per hour. It was so much fun, wasn't it?
There were other gimmicks to trick us when we were little. Think about the marketing genius who thought up the jump rope.
"We'll sell a rope that the kids can jump over. The commercial will say, 'You can't jump over any regular rope. You gotta buy a rope that's made for jumping.'" Nowadays, I want to run up to the kids and yell, "You don't need to buy a jump rope! See that dog leash, use it as a jump rope! Here's an old electrical cord - jump rope!"
Do you remember Skip-It when we were little? It was this dumb device you could put on one foot and skip over it with the other foot. How evil was the man that came into the sales meeting and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, it's come to my attention that children are doing a lot of skipping, and they're not paying a damn dime for it! We need to find a way to charge them for skipping."
There were some good things too though. Lemonade stands were great when you were little, weren't they? Nowadays I have to admit I get a lot of funny looks when I'm working out there. Come on, English majors have to make a buck somehow.
When I was little, I was fascinated by the concept of the lemonade stand. All you had to do was take the lemonade out of the fridge and sell it. You essentially took something your parents had paid for and made money off of it. When I figured out that I was allowed to do this, I was like, "Forget the lemonade, I'm gonna sell the stereo system." I filled up the piggy bank with that idea.
The idea of the piggy bank always seemed cruel to me. You tell a kid to put all his money in a cute little ceramic pig, and then when he wants the money back, you tell him to smash the pig on the ground. "Look Timmy, Mr. Piggy is now horribly mutilated, but look at all the money he was hiding. Let that be a lesson to Piggy."
The piggy bank is basically just training for the Mafia. I can just see a 4 year old in his room talking to the pig. "Mr. Piggy, you have my money. I don't like it when my money is taken by people or pork. I have no other choice but to 'accidentally' push you off the shelf. Next time, don't mess with the family."
The idea of the piggy bank is reinforced by the pinata. By the time I was 6, I had learned that when you break an animal open, something good comes out. For years my parents wouldn't let me anywhere near our dog.
Yet, by far the best part of being little was the television shows. Do you remember the cartoon plots back in the day? They were crazy. They made absolutely no sense, and yet we loved them. Every bad guy always had the same motive -- to rule the universe. They didn't even know why. They just wanted to rule the universe. I wanted to see some real-life motives.
Snake Eyes: Oh my God! Cobra Commander is going to destroy the entire city of L.A.
G.I. Joe: It must be the first step in an evil plot to rule the universe.Snake Eyes: No. He said something about his brother shacking up with his ex-wife, and he just found out his father's a transvestite.
I watched "Sesame Street" a lot when I was little, and now that I'm older, I realize that most of those characters are on drugs. It's so obvious now. To begin with, they all sing that song at the beginning of the show, "Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?" They don't know where it is, yet they're there every day of their lives. They've smoked a little too much. There also is a line in that opening song that goes, "I want to go to where the air is sweet." I bet you do.
Now, think about the different characters. First, you've got Big Bird. I figure he's the dealer because he's friends with everyone, and he does his rounds every day. The only person who's friends with everyone in the neighborhood is the one selling drugs. Then there's Cookie Monster. He's obvious - always has the munchies. I think Oscar the Grouch is probably just a depressed alcoholic, and I'm pretty sure Grover stole his Prozac. Finally, there is Snuffalupagus. Tell me he isn't snorting something - his name is Snuffalupagus. Did you ever notice that it sounds oddly like "Sniff-a-lot-of-this." Coincidence? I think not.
I hope I've helped remind everybody that childhood was a wonderful, magical time. I wish we could reminisce longer, but there are some kids standing outside my door. I've got to go spray them with the fire hose or they'll never leave.