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one of us
Picture of Wink
posted
My brother was my preferred adversary during most of my childhood. This may be explained by the fact that I am two years older than he. We once invented a way to scare the daylights out of each other with darts. Our rooms were down a short hallway from each other and from time to time one of us would fling a dart in the general direction of the other's room. One day the timing was perfect and I landed a dart in my brother's thigh. It went in pretty good and really stuck there. I quickly closed the door to my room, which was of course hailed with darts. Knowing of the this, my sister-in-law sent me the following little story:



When I was a kid, my brother Tom and I watched a fateful documentary about cattle-herding gauchos in Argentina. Rather than use a lasso to tie up their cattle, they throw a device called a bola, which is just two weights on either end of a string. The string hits the leg, and the weights wrap around the legs a moment later. Instant hogtie.
Naturally, this was something we had to try for ourselves, so we poked holes in tennis balls and forced knotted rope ends through them. Voila. Tennis ball bola. Since they were so easy to make, within a week every kid in the neighborhood had one. Small bola wars soon followed, and I have to say, we all got pretty good at it. Just like in the documentary, if you got hit in the legs with one of these things, you went down like a sack of potatoes.
Unfortunately, shots did go wide from time to time and they had a funny way of hitting overhead power lines. After the third time the local electric company technician cut a bola off the line, he rounded us up and explained that if he had to come out here again, he was going to tell our parents. So ended the bola wars.
What now? We had an arsenal of these things that we couldn't just throw away. Thankfully, Tom had the perfect solution. He simply cut off one end, nailed the rope to a stick and made a flail. Armed with those and garbage can lids, we began playing a game called Spartacus that was basically nothing more than a bunch of kids running around and wailing on each other with tennis ball-and-chains.
That was fun while it lasted, but once again the authorities interfered when various parents disapproved of how beaten up their garbage can lids were getting. One by one, the neighborhood kids retired from the gladiator circuit, leaving only my brother and me. Our flails were showing serious wear and tear and by now our parents had the foresight to keep tennis balls out of the house, so once more, we were forced to improvise. For a while, we went through a series of replacement games until we settled on a winner called Knight Versus Peasant. The game was a strangely lopsided affair in which my brother, the Knight, rode around on a bike with a garbage can lid in one hand and a Wiffle ball bat in the other. Somehow, he managed to steer the bike and swing wildly at the same time. Meanwhile, I was relegated to the role of the Peasant, on my feet armed only with a broom.
KvP wasn't so much a game as it was an exercise in pain tolerance. Getting lit up by a Wiffle ball bat won't put you in the hospital, but it does sting, and after the first nine or 10 shots, any novelty of the experience has most definitely gone away. The game clearly favored my brother who was always the Knight, and who had the advantage of both speed and shielding. The trick, I eventually learned, was not to attack the horseman, but to go after the horse. So one game, I threw the broom like a spear into the spokes of the bike's front wheel. Poor Tom sailed headlong over the handlebars and landed hard, as if every injury he'd doled out to me during our battles had come back to him at once. Victory!
Not surprisingly, KvP ended not long afterward, and my brothers and I pioneered numerous other household combat sports (floppy diskettes make great throwing stars, and Q-tips taped to sewing needles make even better blowgun darts). Eventually, our parents got hip to the fact that we were killing each other, and they tried to talk some sense into us. Didn't we realize how dangerous all of this was? Didn't we know that somebody was going to get very badly hurt, as Tom nearly did when I upended his bike? Didn't we know we were going to shoot our eyes out?
The truth is, we were the ones sustaining the injuries, so we knew better than anyone. Sure, we could have played much more safely had we called a unilateral backyard ceasefire. But where was the glory in that? To this day, we still talk fondly about those childhood battles, as if they really were worth the risk of getting a mess of stitches, or worse.
Will we think the same if our kids take up similarly reckless hobbies? I doubt it. There's nothing like the thought of a trip to the emergency room to justify wanting to bubble-wrap your children. But to be fair, there will always be some part of me that secretly hopes to come home one day and find my own kids squaring off on the lawn, geared up in bike helmets and rollerblade pads, ready to throw down.


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AR, where the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history become the nattering nabobs of negativisim.
 
Posts: 6991 | Location: Rambouillet, France | Registered: 25 June 2004Reply With Quote
one of us
Picture of adamhunter
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quote:

Will we think the same if our kids take up similarly reckless hobbies? I doubt it. .


I am dreading that day. If either of my boys do half the stupid stuff I did as a kid I will....Well, I don't know what I'll do, but it won't be pleasant. I am amazed I got thru it without being blind, drowned, crippled or burned. Innocent water gun wars led to bottle rocket & roman candle wars until we burned up a few bales of pine straw. Then we decided BB gun wars would be more fun. Nobody lost an eye, but a few Crossman Copperheads had to be dug out of some skin. I think "Moofey" held the record for getting hit. And I'll never forget "Sewer Crawls" where we would pry the cover off a man hole; climb down and start crawling thru the pipes to see where they would take us. I could go from my house to my buddy Gary's house (about 1/2 mile away) all underground in storm water pipes!! And what about the raft we spent two days building that came apart in the middle of West Point Lake. Who care that there wasnt a life jacket among us, we all made it back to shore in time to sadly watch our creation go floating down stream. I think Raft Building 101 is a pre-requisite for being a kid because we got the idea from somebody's father who did the same thing when he was younger.

Damn Wink! I'm getting all teary eyed. Thanks for jarring loose some old memories.


30+ years experience tells me that perfection hit at .264. Others are adequate but anything before or after is wishful thinking.
 
Posts: 854 | Location: Atlanta, GA | Registered: 20 December 2007Reply With Quote
one of us
Picture of Wink
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When I lived in Chatsworth, California in the mid-fifties, there was a line of pomegranate trees between the school and our house. When my brother and I realized that these could not only be thrown very easily but when really ripe they explode upon impact leaving a very red stain on your clothes. You can imagine our enthusiasm as we pursued with a vengeance our friends as they walked past. The fact that a good hit left a blood red stain on the victims clothes was just icing on the cake. Some irate parents showed up at our house one evening, had a talk with my father, and I learned once again that 1st Infantry Division officers don't mind dispensing some occasional corporal punishment.


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AR, where the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history become the nattering nabobs of negativisim.
 
Posts: 6991 | Location: Rambouillet, France | Registered: 25 June 2004Reply With Quote
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Picture of Charles_Helm
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You ever get about half way through a story about somethng you did as a kid, only to realise you should probably not tell your kids the rest of it in case they decided to give it a try?

Naturally I have... Eeker
 
Posts: 8750 | Location: Republic of Texas | Registered: 24 April 2004Reply With Quote
one of us
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there is an old saying that goes something like:
More sons would follow in their fathers footsteps, if he didn't keep them so well covered Wink
 
Posts: 13146 | Location: faribault mn | Registered: 16 November 2004Reply With Quote
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I got into blowguns. I made darts from the long double ended Q-tips, cutting off the cotton tip on one end and sharpening. They were about seven inches long. The "gun" was about 6 feet long, a developed good velocity.
One day my little brother was leaving the bathroom after taking a shower, walking down the long hallway to his room butt nekid and, taking careful aim, I let fly. The dart stuck in his right cheek, and to my great delight, quivered as though stuck in jello. I'm still laughing.
The dart went all the way to his butt bone. The needle-sharp point had "mushroomed". Pretty good penetration, I thought.

Shortly thereafter my ballistic investigations were brought to an abrupt halt.

Little brothers are great things to have.

RG
 
Posts: 315 | Location: central arizona | Registered: 05 November 2006Reply With Quote
one of us
Picture of Charles_Helm
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quote:
Originally posted by butchloc:
there is an old saying that goes something like:
More sons would follow in their fathers footsteps, if he didn't keep them so well covered Wink


lol
 
Posts: 8750 | Location: Republic of Texas | Registered: 24 April 2004Reply With Quote
one of us
Picture of Wink
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by butchloc:
there is an old saying that goes something like:
More sons would follow in their fathers footsteps, if he didn't keep them so well covered Wink


There's another similar saying: "Just about the time you begin to realize your father was right, you have a son that thinks you're wrong."


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AR, where the hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history become the nattering nabobs of negativisim.
 
Posts: 6991 | Location: Rambouillet, France | Registered: 25 June 2004Reply With Quote
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