Hopscotch or videogames?

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First Posted: 10/7/2014

Who’s responsible for sucking every ounce of fun out of childhood?

Whoever it was needs a good spanking.

My friends and I were recently reminiscing about the side-splitting high jinks we enjoyed as kids. You know, back in the days when “you’re so hot” meant you had a fever, Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangaroo were our heroes, we had four TV stations and one was PBS, and the closest we came to cell phones was a walkie-talkie, with which we communicated with aliens.

Sadly, anything that used to be fun in 1978 may now be illegal, or at the very least, detention-worthy. For example, in 4th grade, we used to allocate one day as “dress-up day”. On this day, we wouldn’t dress-up, as the name might suggest, but flip-up the skirts of any unsuspecting saps who were not prepared and forgot to wear the obligatory shorts underneath their dresses.

It sounds deviant, but file it under innocent amusement, because the act itself was so non-malicious that both the flipper and flippee would giggle about it, instead of alerting the principal, the school therapist, or the Chief of Police.

I’m now old enough to realize certain childhood shenanigans may’ve actually been a tad harebrained and dangerous; a prime example of this nonsense was when we heard a train coming and put down our pennies on the track to see them get flattened into obscurity. Just a touch perilous. And we always thoroughly enjoyed robust episodes of ding-dong-ditch…which meant, for those readers younger than I, ringing as many doorbells as we could before escaping like our underpants were on fire. I’m afraid that if kids did that now, they’d be looking at the back of the officer’s head in the cruiser.


Prank phone calls! Who didn’t laugh uproariously after making thirty or forty obnoxious calls during the chaotic hysteria of a slumber party? It couldn’t have been just me, right? But, in this age of transparency and Caller ID, prank calls are as extinct as good manners. Sadly, I was the Queen of the Call. However, my voice was/is, ummm…distinctive, and I was deposed from my throne after the mother of a classmate recognized my squeak and alerted my parents to my nocturnal hobby, involving a running refrigerator. Grounding and phone bans followed. Fun. Suckers.

And who remembers that favorite childhood toy: Clackers?! Clackers were comprised of two enormous marbles united by one string. The object was simply to, well, “clack” them together by manipulation of the string. Of course, in the wrong hands (my sister’s) they’d also cause deep contusions and follow-up concussions. Clackers became contraband at school, therefore cementing their huge appeal to me…until my teacher removed them from my desk (no search warrant required) and I never saw or heard from them again. However, he may’ve saved a life. Or two.

Still…double funsucker.

You can’t convince me that the electronic, button-pushing youth of today have as much fun as we did with walkie-talkies and doorbells, silly putty and hopscotch and Magic Window.

Those times were as refreshing as super-strength Kool Aid and candy cigarettes.

Just don’t try to institute your own dress-up day in these litigious times.

You’ll be met with a mischief-sniffing dog, a citation, order of protection and court appearance. In fact, before you try to enjoy any hilarious escapades of yesteryear, hire an attorney. Better safe than fun.