Monday, January 7, 2008

Things I wish they made in grown-up size

I'm a man. Spell M. A. N. Man. Not no boy-child. A man.

But sometimes I wish I was a boy-child again, especially being father to a four-year-old lad. Responsibility is all very fine and good, but nothing beats the kind of directed leisure that children get to experience.

All that Dinky Toy stuff made me long for toys, even though theoretically I'm too old and, ahem, mature to play with childish things I put aside long ago.

When I see some of the stuff that kids have today, I get all excited then pouty that we didn't have some of that when I was a child back in the mid-20th century.

Oh sure, I had an Aurora H O raceway set with the crossover tracks and banked curves. I had the game of Trouble which I still enjoy from time to time. I can't remember much more than those, having been a books-and-underwear kind of kid at the time.

And for all the cheap and crappy import toys that proliferate the market, there are still some things that, were they made in adult size (no, not Depends diapers, thankyouverymuch), I'd covet:

1. The "Johnny Jump Up"

Ah, to be suspended in a doorway, bouncing myself into bliss. Both my daughters have had these, but my son didn't get to play in one, having lived at that age in homes that didn't have copacetic door sills.

2. The grocery cart

A modern design marvel, in my opinion. Sometimes, I'd like someone to push me through the grocery. As big as they get are the giant ones at Costco, but still not big enough for me to fit in.

3. The Sit and Spin

Around and around we go. I bet work productivity would go up substantially if there were adult Sit and Spins located in office buildings around the country. Who doesn't love making themselves dizzy?

4. The sandbox backhoe

Okay, well, maybe a Bobcat would suffice, but then it'd be about work and not play, wouldn't it?

1 comment:

Deaconlight said...

You didn’t mention Barbie! OK so you’re a guy but in my neighborhood a boy named Jeff had the best Barbie collection around. My first “Barbie” was a Skipper doll, which I traded in for the "Twist N Turn” Waist Barbie that came out in the mid-60s. But oh how I wish I still had my Barbie “Twiggy Doll.” I can only look up the pictures on the Internet to show my daughters. Barbies today, however, are cheap and have no soul.

Don’t knock these old toys. My younger daughter (age 10), known professionally as “BagelDog,” was initially disappointed when Santa brought her an electric racetrack – crossover yes, banked curves no, a microscope/telescope set, and Tinker Toys, which she claimed were for 3-year-olds. It didn’t take long for the Tinker Toys to fascinate her. As recently as Saturday night she had created a “gas pump” for her Razor Scooter. It looks like we’re going to have to buy her a bigger set soon. Then we had to move the racetrack – which she had reconstructed on her bed – so she could go to sleep.

This from a kid who got her first PC at age 1 1/2, is very impressive at creating her own movies, knows html, and even teaches her mom, who has used PhotoShop for well over a decade, new tricks and shortcuts in the pro version of that graphics software.

Funny thing was last weekend BagelDog had me sit down and watch a bunch of vintage toy and food commercials from the 50s and 60s with her. I had forgotten how I’d always wanted a Jimmy Jet, a Big Shot (one of many vintage toys that give new meaning to “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”), and a Vvroom motor for my bike. And of course “Sugar” was prominently used in cereal names. Sugar Crisps, Sugar Pops, etc, are all still around but the “Sugar” had been removed from the name as have the commercials featuring kids going through major sugar rushes and beating up bad guys. Check it out for yourself at YouTube.