Friday, May 06, 2005

Childhood Toys: The Good, Bad, and the Cheap shit.

Besides having a healthy offspring that I could love, cherish and teach new things to, I also can't wait to have a kid because of all the cool toys I can buy him or her. Granted, I would probably spend more time playing with the toys than my child but that is beside the point. I am a big kid at heart, and this post will break down some of my favorite child hood toys, and some that totally sucked ass. If you feel that you want to add some of your favorites feel free and comment.

The Big Wheel: As a kid I was a master of the big wheel, beating my other friends whenever we raced. Whether it was skidding out with it or racing over bumpy terrain, people knew that I wasn't to be fucked with when it came to the almighty Big Wheel. I loved this toy, but there was a downside to it also. For one thing, when the big wheel wore out the plastic wheels would cave in and you would have one irritating ride whenever you used it. Also, when you realized that you weren't going that fast, you began to use it as a glorified skateboard. Holding on to the handlebars, putting one foot on the seat, and pushing off with the other foot gave you 3 times the speed.

Stretch Armstrong: One Christmas I got this toy and I was totally psyched. Stretch Armstrong was a simple toy, like his name suggests he has the power to stretch in every direction that you pull him in. Personally, If I was Stretch Armstrong there would only be one body part that could stretch to ungodly lengths, but hey that's me. The problem with this toy, as I found out on that fateful Christmas day, is that the Stretch Armstrong toy was a piece of crap. I found out that if you stretch the toy too much that the toy tears, and this toxic blue goo comes oozing out of it. My old man was so freaked out over the blue goo that after he wrapped the toy up tightly in a trash bag he threw it away in a nearby dumpster, not in our garbage can.

Hot Wheels and the race track with it: Collecting hot wheels is as American as apple pie and invading a country illegally. I used to collect all kind of cool cars, all type of exotic types, and it was always cool to compare your cars with the ones your friends had. Hot Wheels eventually came with a race track so you could compete against your friends to see whose cars were the fastest. There was a downside to those race tracks when all was said and done: 1) The race tracks were a parents nightmare because if you had a decent sized track that would mean more clutter at the end of the day. 2) If you fucked up, and your parent was about to beat the brakes off of you, that race track was a legitimate ass whipping object. So the toy that you love and adore was also imprinted on your hind-parts.

He-Man: "By the Powers of Greyskull, I have the Power!!" I used to love that shit, along with the toys that cartoon produced. It seemed like I had every He-Man action figure out whether it was "He-Man", "Man at arms", this green guy who actually smelled like pine, you name it I had it. As a kid I was hooked to the cartoon because He-Man was not to be fucked with, and I liked that. But I must admit that my affection for the show changed when my mother bought me the toy version of Castle of Greyskull for me one day. The commercial for said toy made it look like it had all these features that a kid could spend hours enjoying. The truth was that it was a 25 dollar piece of plastic crap. It was flimsy as shit, and I knew that the toy was shit when my own mother said, "What a piece of shit this is!" She was right. Also, as an adult I kind of see He-man in a different light. It seems like a very homo-erotic cartoon to me now that I'm older. See the outfits he was wearing, straight from a gay pride parade. But then again, I have that same theory about many cartoons. I'm not homophobic, but the Smurf colony was all gay because only a select few tried to get with smurfette. Velma from Scooby-Doo was a card carrying lesbian, so was Peppermint Patty from the Charlie Brown cartoons. They aren't fooling anybody. I think that Fat Albert had some sugar in his tank as well, but I don't feel the need to "Out" him at this particular time.

Nerf Products: The other day some college friends and I were playing a game of football in a park near my house. It surprise me that they were playing with a Nerf Football, something that I hadn't seen in years. For those of you who don't know, the Nerf football isn't a regulation football, it is made out of a foam type substance. You could literally throw that thing for miles, and if you could catch a Nerf football you were branded a bona fide "pussy" by all of your friends. It was a great product, but there were also some downsides to it. First off, after some time it would wear down and pieces started coming out of it, thus affecting the velocity of it when thrown. Also, if you fucked up and threw the football in some water it would become water-logged and be heavy as shit.

Bee-Bee Gun: Some genius in my family gave me a be-be gun for my birthday one year. I forgot who gave it to me, but I knew automatically that the fact that I had a weapon that could hurt people totally went undetected by my folks. How did this fly under the parental radar? I guess they thought it was a water gun, or maybe they weren't paying attention, but I wasn't going to ask them about it. This wasn't the rifle type of be-be gun, this was of the pistol variety. Granted, it wouldn't puncture your skin by no means but it would definitely leave a mark. I used to hide in some bushes assassin style and shoot people I didn't like. Watching them scream and wonder where the shot came from was priceless. If a bully fucked with me, they were getting shot. If a grown up gave me shit, they were getting shot. If a store owner kicked us out of his store, he was getting shot. It all came to an end when a friend of my dad caught me in some bushes about to take someone down. So he took my gun and I begged him not to tell my dad. It is good that he intervened, because who knows what kind of life that would have led to.

32 comments:

Elizabeth said...

HumanityCritic, you had me from the big wheel. All my friends had bikes, i was right behind them in my big wheel, of course in 'glorified skateboard' mode lol.

Goldi said...

don't forget silly putty, etch-a-sketch, lite brite, barbie's high yella friend christie and there was some doll that would actually eat and poopie (so 70s). and a light saber everybody had a Star Wars light sabre. hell, i just recently freaked out when i saw Samuel L. Jackson on the front of Honey Smacks. did i buy it? yes! now i eat all cereal and ice-cream with my light saber spoon--YEAHHHH!

Nikki said...

I had the Big Wheel with the spin-out brake. But you're right, once the wheels on the Big Wheel go bad, that's a wrap. Ain't no Firestone replacements for the Big Wheel. My brother had a Green Machine, the one with the real wheels.

Luke Cage said...

There was the glow-in-the-dark yoyo, the original slinky, (everyone know's its slinky) and a foot tall version of the Shogun Warrior which I loved to death. Remember GI Joe with the kungfu grip man? And last, but not least... Tyco cars with the tracks. Unfortunately, mine never worked as good as the ones on the tv commercials did. Drats! Foiled again by those meddling kids!-lol

Amadeo said...

Big Wheel (w/spinouts)...check. He-Man...check. I was a big G.I. Joe man myself...dudes always tried to steal my Quick Kick and Snake Eyes. I only had a few Transformers but for some reason I always think about the knock of joints...the Go-Bots.

Mala said...
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Mala said...

I stand by my slingshot, something my close friends wisely refuse to let me own as an adult. Many a spring afternoon was spent with ballbearings pilfered from my cousins rollerskate fix-it kit and me pulling my skirt over my knees as I crouched behind a tree waiting to nail that bitch who stole my pencil...I was a strange little girl.

Mariposa said...

I miss the Big Wheel. Not that I ever had one. I got a Strawberry Shortcake bike with training wheels and hot and pale pink tassles on the handlebars which, as a tree climbing, Matchbox car racing, perpetual bloody-knee-having tomboy, I hated with all my heart. I also recommend Transformers, and I know you're gonna teach that kid to SKATE, right?

Stretch Armstrong is also a hell of a DJ (obviously not the "stretch" you had in mind, but I had to speak his name).

Brother OMi said...

lol
the funniest yet. man you make me cry one day and cry of laughter the next.

but nerf products were affordable for us ghetto heads.

I miss my spider man big wheel but what knocked me out the box is when heads invented the joint with that lever back brake, remember that?

the kid said...

I am cracking up at your bebe story. I never played with it even tho we had one.

I like He-Man too. I had a She-ra pajama set. *quit laughing* And I had her castle, but hers was cool.

Your post made me go looking for my fave doll when I was growing up. It's called My Child. I may buy one from Ebay.

Fran said...

I remember using that big wheel as a skateboard...but I'd always fall on my tush. Eh! :D

LMBO @ stretch armstrong....you are HORRRIBLE! hehe

Mala said...
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Ms. Blaize said...

Oh yeah! I loved my Big Wheel! I rode it until I got so heavy that the wheel in the front couldn't grip the ground and would just spin and spin! What was it about that thing that made people on some "ride until it dies" type mentality! Oh and I had the WHHhhhholllleee He-man action figure set including She-Ra! Man in my world she did some wild thangs switchin' off between Man-at-Arms and He-Man .....and Orko (which I got from McDonalds) was running the camera the whole time....sigh! those were the days!

Ms. Blaize said...

PSA****PLEASE NOTE*** My friend just read my last comment and told me that I might need to clarify that the whole She-ra/ He-man comment was a joke! For those who never watched it, She-ra and He-man are brother and sister so they didn't get down like that - that was my idea of being perverse! But it was a JOKEY, JOKE so don't start to falling out over that comment.... I'm not that way! (Okay Tryle, that's my disclaimer so you can relax now!)

Oh and not that YOU would fall out HC.... I'm talking about all the normal folks! ;-D
-Ms. Blaize

Dee said...

I luved my lil bro's stretch armstrong....We found that if you cut him open....there was cool gel like stuff inside!!!

Dr. Strangejazz said...

Actually Peppermint Patty wasn't the lesbian, Peppermint Patty had a crush on Charlie Brown. It was Marci with the glasses that used to follow Peppermint Patty around who was really the lesbian. Notice how she's always calling her "sir".

Ayaba said...

Yes. Who doesn't remember the big wheel. Even beter was the green machine. You could have stopped the list with the big wheel.

TheSaga said...

MEGATRON, BABY!!!!!!

Mahogany Elle said...

I was a barbie and ken kind of child. Though I never found it odd that my friends and I would make the various dolls fight over one not-so-suave Ken who rocked too tight clothes :) great post.

E to the dwige said...

I'm a girly girl so I just played with dolls and board games. No running around jumping or riding bikes for me. Heck I didn't learn how to ride a bike until I was about 12 or so. *smh*

Coffey0072 said...

Well,
as far as the big wheel goes, the neighborhood kids and I would push each other whilst pedaling on the thing, to give each other more momentum... damn that was fun.

Also, I grew to loathe Barbie and everything she stood for and all her "kept woman" glory around the age of 11 or 12 and so made the conscious decision to give her away, along with all of her sumptuous armaments. Also, trying to stage steamy sex scenarios between she and Ken became increasingly difficult, considering he had no visible genatalia.

Needless to say, my toy of choice was the Rubix Cube baby! The square one, the round one, and the flippity flap ring linking one.

josie said...

well i had none of those toys. i had a favourite rag dolly that my aunt made for me. i use to play with my markers like they were dollies.
i had one big imagination

kozmic_cocoa said...

My favorite toys were:

-The Easy Bake Oven
-The Snoopy Snowcone Machine (the snowcones tasted like crap though)
-Lite Brite (except when you accidently stepped on one of those damn pegs)
-Hungry, Hungry Hippos - (the loudest game ever!)
-The Barbie Head. - This is the toy that taught me how to do hair. The funny thing about this toy is if you got the black one, Christie, she came with a golden blonde streak in her hair. Everyone that I knew who had this doll, hated the golden-blonde streak and tried to cut if off. They all ended up with this big golden-blond chunk that remained in the doll, because it was apparently firmly afixed to the doll's head.
Oh yeah, my Big Wheel was the bomb, because I had the Incredible Hulk Green Machine Big Wheel.

coley said...

Wassup HC... Thanks for making me day dream about the good ol days...

I loved my big wheel and rode that thing till it died! Me and my friends would tie a rope around the seat of a bike and one would ride the bike, while the other would ride a skateboard holding on to the rope, trying to pretend we were skiing or some shyt!

Does anyone remember the ball that had a plastic platform around it (looked kinda like a planet) that you would jump up and down on? (came out in the late 80's I think) What the hell is the name of that toy? I can't remember for the life of me! That was one of my favorites!

I also *loved* Connect 4, Monopoly, Card games, Yahtzee, and many many more!

lindsay-lee said...

Anyone remember the Sit and Spin! I loved that thing. I was a big tom boy back in the day. The guys that I would play with would soak nurf balls in water and we would pelt eachother with them. Why did I think that was fun?! Man, this post brought back memories.

RoniMari said...

coley, it was called pogo-ball. I remember because it was the one Christmas present that joined Tiffany and I as B[est]F[riends]F[forever] Actually we called ourselves "P.O.P" Pretty Original People. We would stand under the streetlight an act like we were performing "To the Beat of the Rhythm of the Night" by El Debarge and of course various New Kids on the Block Songs. Yes I was a fan, AND??? Sorry, got side tracked...but I remember the pogoball, I had a black and red one and Tiffany had a purple and green one.
As a kid I had this toy that was round and orange and you sat in between two giant wheels and turned them wheel chair style anyone know what I'm talking about? That was at Granny's house. At home we stole the giant, wooden cable spools and would climb on them and ride them all over the place. Now that was good wholesome fun.

solitaire said...

You got some wack-assed Stretch Armstrong, man... my brother got one a few years ago and the package said the 'goo' is actually a cornstarch mix. Good fun!

moluv said...

Damn Critic. Are you related to me or something? Everyone one of those toys had some kind of meaning in the lives of me and my brothers. My older brother got the big wheel, my younger brother got the He Man action figures, I got the nerf stuff, and borrowed the BB Gun when me and my friends went in the hills to shoot each other. Oh ... uhh ... and I still collect Hot Wheels.

Gina B. said...

Per your comment on my blog -- you're right . . . you really do want to have kids, don't you? :-)

Swim Fan said...

Thank you so much for letting the world know that Stretch Armstrong (also a Gay Pride parade participant!) is a crappy toy! Vintage examples have sold for upwards of $500.00US and I'm one of the suckers who pluck the web looking for a decent example of that toy. My parents refused to buy the thing for me when I was a kid--and every time I log on to Ebay and see it selling for loads of cash, I cringe with envy! But hey, worse things happen in life, right? My mother disposed of my priceless vintage comic book collection in a garage sale for $3.00 for the entire lot. Needless to say, I pinch pennies on Mother's Day.

Anonymous said...

Hey HC. I have read all the comments sent in and was surprised that no one mentioned the one toy that I used to love, but that became the bain of my existence. One word: SKIP-IT (and that stupid song that I can't get out of my head now) "Skip-it...skip-it"... great... its still stuck

Ikatron said...

Two things us adults need actually make it three. Adult size big wheel, sit and spin and jumping castle.

That is what I am talkin about.

Someday...