Wednesday, March 12, 2014

That Could be Dangerous!

Ok, I don't know where I've been, but I'm just now hearing about the USPS destroying millions of dollars in newly printed stamps, because they might encourage children to engage in unsafe physical activities.  The "Just Move" stamp series has been destroyed, because three of the designs in the series depicted activities that could be dangerous for children.  Oh. My. Word.  The stamps in question illustrate a child riding a skateboard without knee pads or elbow pads, a child doing a cannonball at the pool, and a child doing a headstand without a helmet.  Heaven forbid...please, no one try these at home.

Maybe only children who grew up in or before the 70's can understand the absurdity of this.  We're the kids, who were kept from flying out the windshield by our mother's arm.  We're the kids, who crammed the metal seatbelts down into the seats because they were so hot, they'd permanently brand GM on your leg if you sat on them.  If you'd worn a bicycle helmet on my street in the 70's, the other kids would've labeled you a freak and said hurtful things like, "your mama, your daddy, your greasy, greasy granny" as their playing cards flapped in their spokes.  We were the kids for whom tetanus shots were essential to surviving, because everything we played with was made of rusty metal....sand pails, swing sets, wagons, lunchboxes, and even car seats.  Everything.  No, there were no warnings about small parts or choking hazards and yet, somehow, we all managed to figure it out and survive.
I loved pick-up sticks.  Had I had the brains to go with my steady pick-up stick hands, I'd be a world renowned surgeon right now. You don't see these much anymore and when you do, they're those sissy ones with the rounded edges.  We had those sure enough "dangerous" sticks with the pin-like head that could be used to either play the game, get splinters out of your hand, pop balloons, or double as shot needles when playing doctor.  Even though there was no warning label on the box, I don't have one, single friend, who lost their eyesight while picking up sticks.   
My neighbor had a Stretch Armstrong.  Oh, he was such a blast!  Stretch was all fun and games until he sprang a leak one day and mysterious gel started to drip everywhere. It must've been time for his checkup and we probably gave him an injection with one of our pick-up sticks. Anyway, whatever the cause, when mysterious fluid starts dripping out of a toy, you've gotta taste it and that we did.  I don't remember it being that good.  With our luck, he was probably filled with asbestos or lead or something, but he sure was fun while he lasted.
 

All of the good toys had looooong strings on them.  The manufacturers wanted to make sure you had enough slack to choke yourself,  a friend, and the dog at the same time.  That extra length did come in handy, though, when you wanted to tie them to the back of your Big Wheel and pull them down the street.  Today, the strings on toys are so short that a child would have to get down on his hands and knees to pull it.  Poor kids.
I know, firsthand, about the dangers of this toy.  Nowadays, the corn popper has a wide plastic handle that is one with its base, but back in my day, that blue, wooden stick would come out with just a little effort and became a weapon.  I found this out the hard way as I lay pinned to the ground by my big brother, while my little brother bludgeoned me in the face with the dislodged corn popper stick.  This toy could never get safety approval today. 
With two brothers, we had this jewel at my house....very same color and everything.  Those cute, little, brightly colored discs.....don't let them fool you.  They came out like hollow point bullets and would blind you faster than you could say, "Maaamaaaaa!"
Who didn't love See 'N' Say?  Here again, somebody decided, along the way, that children could get their head caught up in the string as the cow mooooooed.  Of all of my friends, who owned the various themed See 'N' Says, not one of them ever managed to become entangled in the demonized string with the plastic yellow ring at the end, but the safer bet, lever, has now replaced the retracting cord. 
Everyone had one of these emergency room launchers in their backyard.  Ours was green and white.  The slide could only be used comfortably in the fall and spring months as it became a griddle in the summer and a glacier in the winter.  Our slide had a big rusty rip at the top where it started to slope down, so this was one of the places where that tetanus shot was the difference between life and death.  I remember my fingers being pinched, almost to the point of amputation, several times on those two seater rides and my trapeze finally rusted right off, but, thankfully, not before I had done my impressive dismount.
 

Nothing screams, "I love you, children" like sending them off to play in this web of neck fracturing scaffolding.  How did we not stay in the hospital all the time?  "Kids, run along and play on that pile of rusty rebar", our mothers might as well have said.  And when your Keds would slip and you'd land hard while straddling a monkey bar......fun times, indeed. 
Forget the wussy Velcro darts or magnetic darts of today.  If you want to raise hardy, sturdy children, send a group of them out in the yard with these, while you watch the Guiding Light.  That is where the wheat is separated from the chaff. 
These were awesome!  I don't know their proper name, but it should've been called the Centrifuge of Death.  We had one at our local park and one at our church playground.  You don't see these around today.  Talk about keeping kids on their toes...you didn't want to be slung under this, while 14 of your classmates were spinning it at 58 mph.  This piece of equipment taught us to be focused and developed strong stomachs and extraordinary hand strength.  
My little brother had a high chair like this....same pattern and all.  Those little flimsy straps in the back soon came off, but after a time or two of slipping down under the tray and getting hung up and strangled, kids start to learn.  He could rock it back and forth too, not like the high chairs now with their six foot leg spans.  This chair taught kids about consequences .
    
Don't get me wrong, I believe that regulations and safety precautions are good things and that there was definitely room for improvement, but perhaps we could find a happy medium between the children who played on rebar playgrounds and children who can't even look at a postage stamp of a kid doing a cannonball.  I don't know about you, but I think it may be time to dial it back a notch or two. 
 
                   

33 comments:

  1. So true! And hilarious! I can so relate to all the playground equipment. We had that same exact swing set in our yard with the metal slide and rusty, well, everything. My dad "fixed" that by painting right over the rust. :)

    You mentioned a comedian in a previous post. Have you ever seen Brad Stine and "Put a Helmet On"? More good clean humor that talks about how things were different before America got preoccupied with extreme safety.

    Anyway, I think Motherhood and Muffin Tops is quickly becoming my favorite blog.

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    1. Jennifer, I've never heard of Brad Stine, but he sounds like someone I'd like! Thanks for the recommendation! I'm so glad to have you visiting my blog and really appreciate your encouragement!!

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  2. Love it! I played with so many of those things. And, I may be a bad Mama, but I added longer strings to my kids pull toys so they could actually use them! And, I bought my girls the Little People doll house that I had as a kid (found on ebay) and those little guys were probably considered choking hazards so they made them bigger… the one that looked like this http://followpics.net/fisher-price-vintage-1969-little-people-play-family-doll-house-wfurniture-952-lee-had-this/
    Ahhh… the memories!

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    1. Yes!! You are my kind of mom if you dared to add longer strings to the kids' toys!!! And yes, our Little People figures were about the size of a fish oil supplement, just begging for you to swallow them. I was the proud owner of the Fisher Price town/village....complete with the traffic light, letters for the mailbox, and even a jail! It was my favorite toy ever and I still have parts of it! I've got to go look at your dollhouse picture, because I didn't have that one! It's fun to be reminded of a simpler time. :)

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  3. Love this post. I was laughing all the way through because I could relate to each of these childhood toys. Lately, common sense seems to have gone out the window!

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    1. Amen to that!! Thanks for reading, Tanya! Come back!

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  4. This is my first time reading your blog, and I have to say that I haven't laughed this hard in a really long time. AMEN to everything you said!

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    1. Awww! Thanks, Julie! That makes me feel good! :)

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  5. So true! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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    1. It's good to remember the good ol' days! I wish we could go back for just one day and enjoy the simpler life.......and maybe freeze some Kool-Aid popsicles and ride our banana seat bicycle with the streamers blowing in the wind. :)

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  6. Wow, I could relate too! I'm absolutely loving your writing - thanks to Boomama for the recommendation! :)

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    1. Yes, thank you, Boomama! I appreciate you, Bethany!

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  7. I love this post and love your blog! It's already one of my top blogs to read now and I just found you a couple of days ago. I remember playing with some of these items and seeing the pictures you posted brings back lots of memories.

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    1. Thank you so much, April!! That really means a lot to me!!

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  8. Lol that's a merry go round in indiana - we still have the same one at our local park that was there when I was a kid (in the 80's). Thy removed the one at the elem school though bc of the "danger"! Thanks for the memory reminders!

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    1. Ok, now I know! Thanks, Chelsa! I can't believe it's still there....that's awesome! Thanks for dropping by to visit....Come back to see me!

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  9. OH MY GOODNESS...I'm in the midst of renovating our previous rental home to move into because our house sold so quickly and and I'm ever so glad I sat down to catch up on some blogs for a moment. I'm laughing so hard!! I knew and loved each and every one of those wonderful dangerous items!! I can't say as we tasted Stretch Armstrong because I think I remember the smell was a tad foul but we probably rubbed it all over someone while chasing them down in our slippery Keds shoes! Thanks for the wonderful walk down memory lane this morning!!

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    1. Oh, thank you so much, Michelle! I'm sorry you missed the Stretch Armstrong gel tasting experience, but at least you knew the joy that he could bring! Haha Thanks for taking the time to chat and good luck with the renovation!

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  10. What a trip down memory lane! I figure we must all be some tough ol' birds since we survived all of the "dangers" of childhood. :) Thanks for the laughs!

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    1. Thanks, Whitney! Yes, it's a miracle we're still here to reminisce :)

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  11. Bahahaha - Amen sister. It's amazing we survived long enough to reproduce. I missed the whole story about the postage stamps - seriously - don't we have more important things to worry about???!?

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    1. Isn't that the truth, WGO!!!!! That was the craziest thing I'd heard in a long time!

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  12. I loved lawn darts as a kid!! I had forgotten all about them. I have really enjoyed reading your blog since linking to it from BooMama's site.

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    1. Thank you, Jen! I'm so glad Sophie sent you over.....she's a good friend :) I'm also glad you survived lawn darts without any permanent damage!

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  13. I'm a little older than you, but I remember all those toys. See N Say was a little after my time. I don't know if you remember Clackers or Clickers, the long piece of string with a hard plastic ball on each end. You moved it fast over your head until the balls were clacking or clicking together. I never hurt myself or knew anyone who did, but they were banned in probably the 80's. Also, SkyDancer fairy dolls. My daughter had some when she was little. You pulled the string and the fairy would fly off and spin around fast. They were banned too. She loved hers! And this was in the past 15 years or so.

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    1. My cousin had some of those clackers and I distinctly remember that they could really put a hurting on you if you let them get out of control! My daughter had a Sky Dancer, too. Who knew we were putting our children in such peril! :)

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  14. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog! I cannot wait to check it each day! Thanks for the laughs!!

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  15. Awww, thank you so much, K!!! That means so much to me :)

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  16. Too funny Joni! The saddest part is that all of these "precautionary improvements" are driven by those who lack common sense...but know how to find "ambulance chasers" in the yellow pages! Whatever happened to the good ol' days?

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  17. I laughed til I cried! Most of these toys lived at my house too! I have an ugly scar on my leg from the evil swing set! Our local school just took the merry-go-round off their playground a couple of years ago - I have no idea what fun the kids will have now at recess without it.

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    1. Poor children.....oh, the fun they're missing! I've also got scars on the side of my leg and my foot from various play structure mishaps, but wasn't it fun? :)

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  18. I am so behind reading these!!! Love the comments about the merry go round metal thing and not wanting to be caught under it while fourteen classmates were riding it! Thanks as always for the laughter Joni!

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