Author Archive

My Childhood Games Part 4: “Mealworm Fights”

January 2, 2009


For a group of heterosexual youngsters, a sleepover was a great way to have some weekend amusement.  And when there was a sleepover at Mike’s place, you can bet there would be mealworm fights.  All participants would stand erect and ceremoniously place their sleeping bags over their fledgling and kittenish bodies.  Then the frolicking would begin.  Blind as Al Pacino in his beloved role as Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slate in Scent of a Woman, we pretend giant romping larvae would wrestle and wriggle ourselves into a silly huff until someone hurt his head on the coffee table or broke one of Marge’s ceramic lamps.  My pals and I would titter all the way to the 24-Hour Emergency Center where Darren would receive stitches in his right butt cheek.  Oh how hopelessly I crave a second youth.


My Childhood Games Part 3: “Bird Hunting”

December 31, 2008

Often after school, if we felt the time was right, we would hunt birds.  This meant we would set up a trap on my driveway and hope to catch a wild sparrow or robin.  We propped up a box with a stick, tied a string to the stick, and waited far away in a secluded vigil with the other end of the string.  Inside the box was whatever we considered to be effective wild bird bait- seed, birdy toys, or a female bird decoy that I fashioned out of Popsicle sticks.  When the unsuspecting bird entered the box, we intended to pull the string, trap the warm-blooded vertebrate, and feel like real men.  I don’t know what we intended to do with the egg-layers once caught, but as we never actually caught any, I suppose it doesn’t matter.  The hunt was the fun part, a male bonding experience probably not unlike two cops at a stakeout, only instead of being hepped up on coffee, we were sucking down Lik-M-Aid Fun Dipⓒ.

My Childhood Games Part 2: “Milk Jug Dragging”

December 30, 2008


Whenever the Johnson family finished a gallon of milk, I would exult.  When I was done exulting, I would phone any number of neighborhood cronies and begin an activity that would inevitably provide endless hours of harmless diversion.  First we would jump on the empty plastic jug, rendering it flat, and throw it onto the street.  Then one of us would mount a bicycle and, after gaining the proper speed, approach the carton with an extended right leg.  As the young shaver reached the milk vessel, he would firmly step on it and drag it under his foot as he rode the Bramble lane circuit.  This would create an annoying noise for the neighbors to enjoy, and sometimes the participant could maintain the non-biodegradable lacto-corpse under his foot for several trips around the block!  I become teary-eyed as I remember the carefree larks enjoyed during this blissful experience.

My Childhood Games Part 1: “Sprinkleball”

December 29, 2008

Oh but how I loved to invent little games and activities when I was but a piglet.  No G.I. Joe dolls for me, boy, I had an endless collection of fun pastimes in my own head that required nothing but common items.  Items that any young suburban kid could find around the house, like a tennis ball.

Sprinkleball was a summer sport that I invented as a pup.  My young male white suburban friends and I would fill up a bucket with water and grab a nice tennis ball.  Friend “A” would sit in the back yard on a lawn chair and wait for the fun to begin.  Friend “B” would remain in the front yard with the bucket and dip the tennis ball inside the bucket, saturating it with water.  Then Friend “B” would throw the ball over the house, hopefully to send it whirling over Friend “A” on the other side.  He pre-calculated the flight path of the trajectory– assuming the position of the lawn chair was constant, success would occur if the ball was thrown over the ‘2’ plate on the house front (from 325 Bramble, then my address)—Friend “A” would experience a delightful shower.  No catching is required.  No points were accumulated.  Who wins?  Everybody!  Directly after the mission, Friend “A” would run to the front, usually delighted, and reveal just how much he had been sprinkled.  What hilarious giggles would ensue!  Imagine keeping cool in the summer heat via such a novel childhood experience.  Oh how I miss pre-adolescence.

Krüebert, the Foul-Smelling Elf

December 24, 2008

Long ago, next week sometime, maybe Wednesday, there lived a horrible smelling elf named Krüebert. He loved to make toys, especially crappy ones like table badminton sets, knockoff Silly Putty, and Drillbit Taylor dolls. Nobody wanted him or his lousy toys.

“Krüebert,” Bouncy would say, “you smell like bouillon cubes. Can you please go die or something?”

Krüebert would cry and seek comfort in making some plastic Dukes of Hazzard handcuffs.

“Krüebert,” Flouncy would growl, “the best smelling part of you, your hair, smells like the fetid dingleberries of Dasher, the most malodorous of the reindeer, smothered in afterbirth. Now please swallow one of these Polly Pocket dolls, which were recalled by Santa because they are a choking hazard and contain lead paint.”

Finally Bjugnakraekir, the Head Elf and Toymaker (who actually created the world) intervened and decided to make things right. He (or she) bathed Krüebert, only to discover that he smelled worse afterwards, and his remarkable stench ruined the North Pole’s supply of soap and Santa’s special bathing place. Realizing that, as creator of the world, the abomination of Krüebert was his (or her) fault, his (or her) only recourse was to destroy the Earth and start anew.

And to this day, the inhabitants of Og, the New World, are mystified by why just one of the billions of stars out there in the universe smells a little bit like rotten liverwurst. Little do they know, morons that they are, that within this star lies the remains of the wonderful but stanky elf named Krüebert and the lutefisk he was eating when the world exploded.

Spoink, Maker of Mischief

December 16, 2008

Spoink got a kick out of sitting on appliances.  Once he laughed so hard he spit out the salt water taffy he was chewing.  Mrs. Glickle, although never brave enough to admit it, would giggle at his whimsicality occasionally, but only when he pressed his buttocks atop the toaster oven.

‘Hee hee hee,” she would titter, as her 143 year-old husband lay po-faced on the windowsill. Mr. Glickle, a hard, upper class man, employed as a bagger at the local A&P, looked upon Spoink’s acts of silliness only with disdain.

“This typifies the decadence of our nation’s youth,” he would say, as he thrust his fists at his collection of urns. “Our rebellious teens now choose to sit on refrigerators or microwaves rather than cool things like reclining chairs or bean bags.”

One day, while Mr. Glickle was petting Prodigy, his pet howler monkey, Spoink skipped in and sat on his 4-speed blender. Laughing, he hummed the theme to Doogie Howser M.D.

Mr. Glickle fumed. “If you don’t get off now, I’ll gorge your humming throat with carob or other such substitution snack foods,” he yelled, followed by an intense, bestial groan that caused the frightened magpies to flee to safety.

Oblivious to his wrath, Spoink continued his capricious actions by dashing to Mr. Glickle’s washer/dryer set.  He seated himself and immediately began to chuckle.  Not only did the premise of sitting on a major appliance delight him, but the vibrant whizzing of the clothes dryer tickled his bottom, causing his subtle chortle to evolve into a booming guffaw.

Mr. Glickle felt that it was time to further threaten the youngster.

“I’m warning you, Spoink, if you set your fanny on but one more of my electrical pieces of hardware, I shall flay your skin with a tiny blade and peg you with Mediterranean bulbous herbs!” screamed the harried, dying man as he juggled sea onions.

Spoink, unconcerned with Mr. Glickle’s squill, continued his sonic joy by chortling fiercely.  He smelled SpaghettiOs and, bored with his fun at Mr. Glickles, returned home, naked and confused.

Girls Just Don’t Dig Me (Part 1)

December 15, 2008

I was over at Osco, my favorite place, and I was buying some toaster pastries with filling.  The checkout girl was hot, and her terrain looked ready for plowin’, if you know what I’m saying.  I was feeling kinda right, you know, I had just gotten my hair cut, my calves were prominently displayed under my striped Bermuda shorts, and my zits were clearing up.  When she rang me up, she said, “That’ll be $4.56.”  I smiled and said, “Here you go,” and I added hopefully, “By the way, would you like to see a movie with me or something?”

Well, her feigned retail smile faded and was replaced by a grimace.  She grabbed my ‘Tarts, crushed them, and chucked them at my xiphoid process.  As I looked at her with stunned eyes, she shoved her fingernails into them, gouging through my cornea.  I ran for the exit, sheathing my bleeding eyeballs with the palms of my hands, and as I waited for the automatic door to open, I heard her maniacal laughter over my moans of pain.

I don’t know.  I guess girls just don’t dig me.

A Good Bad Day

December 9, 2008


A boy named Tom, who was known locally as Floccinauchus, was singing Christmas songs on the elevated train, and that pissed everyone off, so they all threw tiny hatchets at him.  Floccinauchus bled, but he was a hemophilac, so he loved it.  He got off at Fullerton and began to snap his fingers.  He walked with one hand in his front pocket, chewed his gum with his mouth open, and quoted lines from a.k.a. Pablo.  This infuriated Sancho, who was behind him.  Sancho pulled a ripsaw from his fireman’s hat and flayed the skin behind Floccinauchus’s neck.  Floccinauchus laughed and scratched his nipple.

In the barber shop, Floccinauchus pulled out a Rubik’s Cube.  This irritated Sal, Floccinauchus’s hairdresser.  He pulled out a cleaver and chopped off Floccinauchus’s ankles.  Floccinauchus just spat and squeezed his shoulder pads playfully.

Floccinauchus loved to chew Fruit Stripes until it lost its taste, which was approximately four seconds. Then he SPAT IT OUT!  Sometimes he would dress up as Tony the Tiger, but he’d be naked underneath.  He’d only tell Vavooshka, his Godmother.  One night Floccinauchus, while dancing to Winger, choked on chicken broth.

As his lifeless corpse lay on the turntable, Vic Tayback lit a fuse.  In the winter heat Floccinauchus exploded into chunky pieces.

Meanwhile, Larry bought an attaché case.

Chebishev and the Mackerel

December 1, 2008


Chebishev was walking through downtown Evanston with his boom box and much cash hanging obviously from the back pocket of his Wranglers, tempting fate, when all of a sudden a ladybug comes up to him.  She smiles and says, “Stroke me and I will jump for you.”  So he touched one of her spots and licked his finger, and it was yummy.

“Ruppy sni,” he said, pushing his luck.

Then a pussycat began to crawl up her leg.

She purred, “Touch my tail, and I will sing Smuggler’s Blues by Glenn Frey for you.”

Laughing, Chebishev kicked her.  His hair smelled good ‘cause he had shampooed it for once.

A guy with a Santa hat asked him for money, but Chebishev didn’t give him any because the guy wasn’t Santa, and he was dissin’ him, and besides, Chebishev was selfish.

A man passed by wearing knickers, and Chebishev touched his sneakers because he looked like Norman Fell. He was superstitious like that.

Chebishev hurried on to Woolworth’s because he knew Six Pack was on cable at seven.  That movie kicks serious butt.

He bought some V-neck T-shirts because they’re especially hip and a trendy new cassingle from Winger, but he took it back because it wasn’t rewound.

He got tired and went home.  Time to clean the potatoes!