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Oh, hold up. I don’t miss these. Because I don’t have to. Because I got a shit ton for Christmas a couple years ago. Beeecause I have the best gosh darn sisters on the planet. Go buy some and you’ll get to be as cool as me.
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Creepy Crawlers (aka Thingmaker)
Was there anything more satisfying than inhaling the deep scent of melting, slightly burnt-tinged, synthetic goop? What did they put in that stuff anyway? It really must have been some child-drone drug. Just sit the kids down, have them inhale some fumes while letting them make squiggly, colorful bugs with hot metal plates and plastic heating apparatuses running on electric currents for a couple hours. Huh. This sounds terribly unsafe, in retrospect.
I loved making the bug ones of course, but my older sister was the one who technically owned the bug set. So, boy, was I a happy camper/toy owner when my parents later bought me my very own troll doll making set. TROLLS! I got to make squishy plastic trolls and change out their hair and give them different colored limbs and AH! Thinking about Creepy Crawlers is bringing on some serious toy lust. Like in that one Seinfeld episode when they feed Jerry’s girlfriend all that wine and turkey so she falls asleep and they can play with all the toys she collects. Yeah, I’d drug a significant other if it meant I got to make some Creepy Crawlers. Don’t even pretend you wouldn’t.
Now I guess they have all sorts of character-based molds (i.e. Spongebob, Hello Kitty). I guess that could be fun, but it could never beat finding forgotten multi-colored worms and beetles in every corner of your house for years and years and years to come… Sweet, sweet nostalgia.
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Having the innocence (stubbornness?) to believe in anything
Granted, adults can do this, but the end result is looking like a crazy person (or simply being one). But as a kid? Anything goes and ain’t that inspired?!
Yes, I was one of those kids who thought they could fly. Let’s set the scene: I had a Peter Pan obsession and I thought “pita bread” was pronounced “peter bread.” One night I was munching on some peter bread, maybe with some melty cheese on the inside, living life like a champ, one thing led to another, and BLAM!… ended up flying around my house while my parents’ friends were visiting for dinner. Peter bread gave me the Peter Pan power of flight! Makes sense, right?
Turns out this was just a very vivid (and linguistically-challenged) dream. The first hint should have been that while this was happening, nobody in my family really seemed surprised or impressed that I could suddenly fly, but me being me… My mother tried to reason with me without crushing my soul, but I wanted nothing to do with her grounded, grown up sensibilities. I could fly, dammit! Why couldn’t she remember about the time I flew?! Luckily, my attempts at proving my talent never really climbed loftier than our living room couch. Sadly, however, I was slowly forced to come to terms with gravity. My feet liked the ground.
My spirit has never quite been the same.
[Awesome photo courtesy of the world’s most adorable (and childly fitting) blog: Kristin and Kayla.]
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Because was there anything more rewarding than painstakingly organizing all of those little pegs then darkening the room and just taking it all in?
Luckily, this Thing I Miss has “easy fix” written all over it (I could literally write “easy fix” on one). A quick jaunt to a Toys R Us will claim you one of these bad boys, albeit updated, for $12! (Or one of the newfangled “cube” style ones for a little more.) And if that doesn’t quench your old school thirst, there are plenty of vintage ones to be reclaimed via eBay.
GO! BRITE YOUR LITES! Prove to kid-you that you still got it.
Excessive caloric intake, minimal consequences
As my friend Kevin put it: “I used to be able to eat like, a whole birthday cake and not get fat. Now I don’t eat any birthday cake and still get fat.”
Every time I see one of these bad boys on the road, I start to tingle with sweet recollection. This sexy stud on wheels was my family’s first, only to be succeeded by a slightly newer, much Forest-Greenier version. Looking back, I’m unclear of where the line between “Chaos-Fueled Vehicle of Enraged Soccer Mom” and “Pedo-Van” is drawn, but I feel pretty confident that ours fell into the first category.
Regardless, these mofoing pimp-mobiles put the swag into “after school pick-ups.”* We had our good times (speeding down the highway while blaring “MmmBop” as a family) and we had our bad (the time my sister slammed the sliding door shut on my fingers and almost took two of them off), but what really mattered is that we had time. Oh, so many years of people carrying. (And I got a week in school of not having to write.)
*It turns out that there is no variation of “swag” to be found in “after school pick-ups.”
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Why eat regular molten marshmallow when one can eat artificially flavored and dyed molten marshmallow?
One of the slamminest parts of being a kid was that I could eat stuff like Raspberry Fluffernutters and nobody would judge me for it. Or if they did, I was so busy walking around like a giant face sticker for crumbs that I didn’t even notice. And the sweet bits don’t end there. I didn’t even have to do any of the work! Nope. A bigger human would make it for me (I’m looking at you, Nana).
Robo-Fan (Or How This Blog Was Conceived)
The little dude who started it all. I guess these fellows were known as Robo-Fans, but ours went by “Mr. Roboto.” Mr. Roboto loved air circulation, the Electric Slide, and rotating back and forth like the diligent cooler-offer that he was.
I was going about boring adult life last week and got this sudden, inexplicable and emotional urge to fall asleep to his whirring, with those comforting (read: terrifying) red eyes beaming down on me. I had completely forgotten about Mr. Roboto for some time! The real horror of growing up is not forgetting things, but realizing you forgot them. What started as the memory of the whir of some plastic blades quickly snowballed into a desperate yearning to stop displacing my hard-earned, but seemingly useless nostalgia. Every memory has a value!
In any event, I immediately texted my sister and she informed me that he broke down a couple of years ago, but was snugly stored in a shed in the hopes of a someday-revival.
Next time I’m back at my family’s house, we’re gonna work something out. It will be like “Iron Giant,” but even more emotional and will culminate with a single tear falling from those red eyes. VIVA LA ROBO-FAN!