Friday, June 16, 2006

Dangerous Toys and the Kids That Love Them

I think we were all looking for the big blast and the toy companies were more than willing to accommodate the childhood arms race. When I was young you were on your own, none of this dangerous toy list crap. I had a friend that received and action missile boat for X-mas, and the forward missile launcher had enough smash to drive the 4” rubber tipped missile through dry wall, much to his father’s delight. Nowadays “Mother’s Against Damn Near Everything Fun” (B.I.T.C.H.) would be wetting their pants as they dialed the local news to get the word out about the lethal boat. Well, you probably couldn’t kill anyone, but say you took off the rubber tip (it wasn’t doing much anyway), sharpened the head end of a nail, heated it up and inserted it into the now uncovered plastic = instant warhead. After that modification, not only did the missile make it through the dry wall, but there was also a substantial amount of nail protruding through the other side.

My brother employed the same concept when he cut the rubber tip off some Zulu Darts, heated up a needle and stuck the needle into the dart. No more of that baby safe soft suction cup crap for us. Most toys were deadly right out of the box, but some needed modification. There was a black .38 snub-nosed style revolver for instance. It fired the new-fangled plastic caps that came in a little ring. If you bored out the barrel with dad’s power drill (don’t; forget to leave it laying somewhere where he can’t find it later, that’s always a good vocabulary builder) you could get a pretty respectable tongue of flame coming out of the barrel when you fired it. Enough flame spewed forth to fry ants, in fact, though not as efficient or fun as the ol’ magnifying glass.

Some kids made there own dangerous toys, such as the two neighbor boys who found a way to turn a butter knife into a spring for a cool crossbow. Those two also developed “war boards” and piece of plywood with a viewing slit in it. It was wide enough you could hide behind it while lobbing rocks at the other guy behind his war board. Fortunately, the boards ensured the damage to each other was light, aside from some shrapnel that might make it through the viewing slit.

The kid down the block had a contraption made out of an old spring loaded clothespin that could launch a Farmer’s match (strike anywhere they call them now) which would burst into flame upon impact. A modification to this came later when someone vandalized a pen and turned the bottom barrel and associated spring into a launcher. Use tape to make crude fins for the wood end of your farmer match, roll the fins, and tuck the assembly into the pen barrel and fire when ready. The fins assured that the match would fall head down and ignite. You may have noticed I have been careful to leave out some of the details, not because I am worried your kid might try it (eventually, he will), it is just the child should have the same chance to learn that I did. Now’d be a good time to go check up on little Billy – he’s been pretty quiet. Not to say li’l Sally couldn’t be up to something, it just seems boys are generally more likely to push the limits of their folk’s patience as well as the toy design.

7 Comments:

At 1:29 AM, Blogger fooDcrazEE said...

brought me back to my childhood days....we were innovative back then as compared to the kids nowadays

 
At 11:04 AM, Blogger Eternally Curious said...

Ain't dat da truth, foodcrazee? We could make something out of nothing back then, given half a chance. I'm often shaking my head in despair at my own son, who can figure out anything computer in a flash - but can't seem to make heads or tails out of what to do with the big packing boxes that same computer (or refrigerator, or whatever) came in!! (Ummm...does the word "fort" mean anything to anyone?) heeheehee ...

 
At 1:09 PM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Or Bonfire...

 
At 4:35 AM, Blogger fairscape said...

PK

I was begining to thonk I'd been banned.

EC You should have him watch the movie MILLIONS

and PK I really do hope you visit your brother frequently in prison...

 
At 9:13 AM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

FS: It seems to be "that time of the month" for Blogger. I have had a heck of a time posting to some other sites and it was a real effort to upload any pictures.

My wife has often commented on how she can't believe my brother and I lived and are still free.

 
At 6:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work »

 
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