July 8, 2004

The Day My Dad Snapped

Amyís comment about the discovery of my freakishly named childhood toy led me to another amusing childhood memoryÖ

When I was growing up, my parents were yippees Ė a bizarre combination of hippie and yuppie. It was kind of along the lines of drink your grapefruit juice with wheat germ before I drive you to private school in the Monte Carlo. Like most kids at Easter, I got to hunt around the yard for plastic eggs. Unlike the eggs most kids found, mine were usually filled with raisins and Cheerios. Donít get me wrong. I didnít mind. Hell, I didnít know any better.

This brings me to The Day My Dad SnappedÖ

When I was around five or so, I was home with my mom (who was a teacher and had summers off) and I was playing in my room. Armed with the materials at hand, I created a Brand NewToy ô. I loved the Brand New Toy ô. That day Brand New Toy ô became my friend and we were inseparable. Until my dad got home that evening. To find his son dragging an empty coffee can around by a string.

Yes, the Brand New Toy ô was a Folgers can and a piece of string. Brilliant engineering feat? No. Fun? To me at age five, yes.

My father glanced at me, dragging Brand New Toy ô behind me, did a quick double-take and stormed out of the room. I heard the following conversation:

Dad: Susan? Susan?
Mom: Yes? What is it?
Dad: Have you seen what Chris is playing with?
Mom: Sure. Heís been playing with that all day.
Dad: Itís a coffee can. And a string. Itís a coffee can and a string!
Mom: So? He made it and heís been pretty entertained most of the day.
Dad: Itís a coffee can. On a string!
Mom: Do you have some kind of problem with that?
Dad: We can afford real toys, you know.
Mom: But heís happy! And he made it himself.
Dad: Itís a coffee can. And a string! Where are my car keys?

Only seconds passed before I heard the rattle of keys and was swooped up in my dadís arms. ďWeíre going to Toys R Us,Ē he said, ďand you can pick out whatever you want.Ē

In retrospect, Iíd like to be proud of myself for being creative and self-sufficient as a kid. Because its either that or incredibly simple-minded.

Posted by Chris at July 8, 2004 11:10 AM

hehehe at least you got a shopping spree. And really, what kid isn't rather simple minded at 5?

Posted by: Jaded Angel at July 8, 2004 11:22 AM

You have NO idea how many hours of entertainment the string from a little plastic magnifying glass gave Logan. It was about three feet long, and he would tuck the little plastic disk just under his waistband and pretend it was a tail.

This entertained him for MONTHS, until we found the dog tied six inches from the play structure, unable to lie down, and the string was knotted, and Gil cut it into pieces to get it off her. After we lectured him about doing that to poor Molly, he sobbed and sobbed. For his poor, cut-up string.

Posted by: Mindy at July 8, 2004 12:15 PM

But did it have a name?!!!

Posted by: bluepoppy at July 8, 2004 12:43 PM

That's cute. And kind of bizarre. But mostly cute. I can understand how it freaked your dad out, though. He was probably thinking something along the lines of My poor boy. Have we neglected to buy the child any real toys?!?!

Posted by: Fraulein N at July 8, 2004 12:48 PM

that is so adorably funny. and you just may be the only kid to get to go to toys r us and pick out anything you want and it wasn't a bribe.

Posted by: laura at July 8, 2004 1:05 PM

See, I just thought my brothers and sisters were my personal dolls.

Hee. Coffee can on a string.

Posted by: Coleen at July 8, 2004 1:21 PM

Sometimes the best part of the toy is creating it. I always had more fun with the stuff I found (rocks, sticks, etc.) or made than the stuff my parents bought me.

Posted by: Krush at July 8, 2004 1:25 PM

LOL :) TOO funny!!

I wonder if that works for grown ups too.
*runs of to get some beads & string to create Brand New Jewerly ô & shows it to Mr. Sweety*

Posted by: Sweety at July 8, 2004 2:08 PM

My favorite toy was always my screwdriver. Nothing fancy, just a regular old screwdriver. The kind of thing I could have easily impaled myself on...come to think of it. Why would my parents give me such a thing? Anyway, they took it away after I started to take all the outlet covers off the wall.

Posted by: Kerry at July 8, 2004 2:13 PM

Sweety is a genius. That's all I can say.

Posted by: amalah at July 8, 2004 2:16 PM

You were a child genius compared to me. Because things on strings? Especially things on strings with wheels (like those little cars you pulled around the floor)? Were too complicated for me.

Yes. I could not operate a PULL-TOY. I'm amazed I can dress myself, sometimes, never mind hold down a complicated technical job. (Although, my job thankfully does not involve pull-toys, so maybe I'm OK there.)

Posted by: Dawnie at July 8, 2004 3:00 PM

Yeah-- totally thought you were going to be playing wwith something pervy.

Posted by: bmh at July 8, 2004 6:44 PM

I always loved those self made things and you know there is still something special about those Gifts people will make for you instead of going out and buying....but at 5 I think you knew just what you were doing...working on a big trip to Toys R US ...lol wonder if you could still pull those tricks?

Posted by: Sweet N Sassy at July 8, 2004 6:56 PM

Funny you should post this now. Earlier today,I had to wrestle away an empty spring water gallon jug that my only child son (who has more toys and electronics than families with three times as many children)was going to make a toy out of. Creative children are always happiest with junk, but it doesn't stop him requesting all the latest bells and whistles for his 9th birthday this August.

Posted by: HR Lady at July 8, 2004 7:07 PM

best story I've read on a blog in a while ...

Funny, his response. For a long time, the Jellybean's favorite toys were a selection of rocks she had picked up in various places. They were so multi-purpose: they were cookies for tea parties; they were blocks for building walls; they could be anything. And I was kind of tickled that she liked to play with ordinary rocks. Now it's all about My Little Pony or some other consumer product.

Posted by: jilbur at July 8, 2004 8:14 PM

heh you secretly knew if you made a pathetic toy you'd get a new store-bought toy, didn't you?

Posted by: pie at July 8, 2004 8:59 PM

You? Simple-minded? Not a chance. Not unless you wanted to pass yourself off as such just for laughs, that is. It reminds me of kids that get expensive toys for Christmas and then play with the cardboard boxes for hours.

Posted by: Zandria at July 8, 2004 9:36 PM

That was using your imagination!...I grew up poor so I made alot of my toys...Let's see, a cigar box w/o a top filled w/ a baby blanket is a barbie bed....bottle caps were barbie plates....probably sounds kinda sad but we didn't know any better!!....LOL

Posted by: Shelly at July 8, 2004 10:30 PM

That's hilarious! And could have been a scene from my childhood. As the daughter of liberal sign-waving, wheat-germ-loving, social-status-obsessed members of the upper middle class.

Posted by: Claire at July 8, 2004 11:43 PM