dys·func·tion /dɪsˈfʌŋkʃən/ [dis-fuhngk-shuhn]–noun
1. Medicine/Medical . malfunctioning, as of an organ or structure of the body. 2. any malfunctioning part or element: the dysfunctions of the country's economy. 3. Sociology . a consequence of a social practice or behavior pattern that undermines the stability of a social system.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Games We Played

My family was poor growing up.
(Looking back now, not a lot has changed...I’m still poor)

Being poor meant a variety of things to my brother and I. It meant there weren’t a lot of presents at Christmas; that we bought clothes from a second-hand store; that we couldn’t buy Pogs or Crazy Bones when they came out; pizza dinners were elusive; and family trips were few and far between.

It meant that while our friends had swimming pools or air hockey tables, we had the park across the street and a whole lot of imagination. I’ve compiled a short list of the games that we played when we were kids because I truly enjoyed these games, and it helps to prove that money doesn’t buy happiness.

That’s a lie...money buys happiness...I miss money.

Comforter Stairs Ride – The Bunny Hill

This game started out innocently enough. Most likely inspired by the crazy carpets we couldn’t afford in the winter or the ride at the fair where you sat on a piece of fabric and shot down the slide, my brother and I would take the comforters off our beds and sit on them at the top of the stairs. We’d grab the excess that hung off the front and pull it up over our legs giving us some security in the blanket and, of course, a handle. You’d then edge yourself to the very top and with a final bum wiggle launch yourself down in a fast, butt-bruising ride all the way to the landing.

Extra points if you then bum wiggled to the top of the remaining stairs and went for the rest.

Comforter Stairs Ride – The Diamond Hill

This is the game that evolved from the Carpet Slide predecessor. Instead of showing any kind of order or rules this game was complete havoc. The goal was to reach the bottom. You would wrap yourself entirely in comforter, similar to a hot dog but in this game a hot dog would have gotten hurt...not enough bun, and then threw your body down the stairs as violently as possible. Flips, rolls, and a variety of kick-induced sliding would bounce you off walls, and the stair rails, not to mention the stairs of course.

Extra points if you hit the landing and could decipher which direction the rest of the staircase ran in order to throw yourself down the last five steps.

Washer Hunt

Like this...but not so bent. And painted.
My dad owned these giant steel washers. They’re probably the size of an adult’s palm. One washer was painted red, and the rest were painted yellow. The object of the game was that one person would hide the washers all over the front yard and the remaining players were to find them. The red one was always hid in the hardest place. My brother and I tried to make the game more dangerous at one point, but I got hit in the head with one of these big steel washers and decided that it was no longer fun.

Fantasy Sword Fighting

There are some wooden swords up at my Grandma’s cottage that were once used to have many an epic sword fight. Winding tales of heroism and loot were created, but by the time my brother and I were of the age to truly appreciate these dangerous battles, most of the weapons had begun to rot and would just explode in a shower of soggy splinters upon impact. So we decided to make our own.

Our weapons were glorified sticks. I even went as far to paint a yellow tip on this one stick that I had decided was a magic wand. It worked wonders from on top of our School Bus Clubhouse.
This is what I imagined I had created.

School Bus Club House

My Grandfather was somewhat of a hoarder. This means that the cottage was covered in all manners of things, most of them absolutely useless. There was an old school bus there. The seats had been removed, some windows broken, and the front steps were rusted out. My Grandfather had filled the school bus with ‘building materials’ and left it to sit.

My brother and I decided that this would be a great opportunity for us to have a clubhouse. After about ten minutes of sharing the inside of the school bus with all sorts of creepy crawlies and dangerous building supplies we gave up on it. Instead we pulled an old table and a couple of old chairs on top of the school bus and had our clubhouse up there.

Danger = Fun

I’m sure there are many more, but unfortunately I have a newborn and am exhausted and therefore cannot think of any more at the moment.

Looking back at the Comforter Stairs Ride, specifically the Diamond Hill version, I am starting to understand the mental problems that my brother and I have...

But it could just be the genes.

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