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Beware of Fun

Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2007, at 9:01 AM

(Photo)
Engines of destruction?
There's been a lot of brouhaha over the past year, building to a sort of brouha-high as Christmas has approached, about so-called "tainted" toys manufactured in China. The American toy-buying public has gotten understandably up in arms over a few incidents of lead paint and the occasional caustic chemical or deadly poison being applied to or infused into the playthings they purchase for their Little Ones (or even Big Ones).

True, this is something to be concerned about, but there are a couple of points to be made.

First: If it's bad for us, what about the Chinese children? Huh? What about them? After all, there are about seven billion children under the age of 12 in China (note to self...check that figure before posting). What are they supposed to play with? It turns out, according to the Associated Press, Chinese parents are at least as worried as you are. (Or exactly as worried as you are, if you are also a Chinese parent.) Chinese parents are trying to protect their own children from possibly dangerous Chinese-made toys by paying top yuan for foreign-made toys. The irony here being, of course, that a lot of those expensive, foreign-made toys were probably made in China. It brings to mind the story of an owner of a Chinese restaurant I knew of in Fayetteville, Arkansas, who went to great trouble and expense to import genuine Chinese rice, only to find when it arrived from Shanghai that it was in a bag marked, "Stuttgart, Arkansas."

The other point is that parents were not always so concerned about these things. For instance, I am old enough to have owned a chemistry set with which it was possible to make explosives. (Not that I could have done it myself, except possibly by accident. Making blue water turn red was about as advanced a reaction as I ever achieved). Come to think of it, though, nearly everything I ever played with was either inherently or potentially dangerous. My playthings tended toward jagged, pointy or flammable. Occasionally they were actually on fire. Yet somehow here I sit with both eyes and all ten fingers. And I'm supposed to get all terrified about a little lead paint on something that's too big to swallow, anyway?

Don't get me wrong! I certainly don't advocate dangerous toys! (Even if they do tend to be more fun.) But isn't there a certain life lesson to be taught by giving a kid a bag of old light bulbs and saying, "Knock yourself out!" that isn't to be found in the Wii console? I think so. I really do.

Good thing I don't have kids.


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

So... Wii bowling anyone?

-- Posted by CodeyH on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 4:02 PM

Back in the fifties we invented our own toys............... go down to Lewis Creek and cut canes.... used them for fishing poles... also tied a string to the top of it, straddled it and rode it like a horse.......... went to the corner store and got all the bottle tops from under the opener on the cooler and built houses with stacks of them....... took a piece of glass and drew squares in the dirt in heavily played in front yards, and played hopscotch........ took old worn out socks, stuffed them inside of each other, tied it off, and played sockball using an old broom or mop handle for a bat.......... our basketball goala never had a net........ we had plenty of baseballs because we lived next door to Burnham Field, because they continually hit foul balls and home runs that were lost in the weeds surrounding the park........... we would take a piece of a cardboard box from the corner grocery, draw a checker board on it, and use bottle tops for checkers..... half right side up and the opposing checkers upside down.......... the only store bought toys came at Christmas and had to last a year....... treasured Monopoly sets........ Old Maid Cards...... Crazy Eight Cards ....... played war with playing cards which cost 49 cents at the corner store........... baseballs were cheap and plentiful, though not baseball bats..... they were all wood and all cracked with nails and black tape to hold them together......... footballs and basketballs were in short supply and to be treasured........ bicycles were necessary and Santa Claus made a down payment on a bike and brought you a payment book from B. F. Goodrich..... Schwinn bikes were the best...... and a good one cost the entire weekly pay check of a cotton mill worker.............. Wal Mart wasn't here and consumers were at the mercy of the merchants around the downtown square............ we played marbles and horseshoes....... almost all activity was outdoors,,,,,, except when it was too cold or raining........ we were all lean and mean....... there were no obese kids.............

-- Posted by Johnny Yuma on Thu, Dec 20, 2007, at 6:20 PM

Yes, but admit it. You would have dumped all that junk in the ditch for a Playstation if only such a thing had existed. (Even just a Playstation 1.)

-- Posted by kenteutsch on Fri, Dec 21, 2007, at 8:11 AM

We had pinball machines at Bob's Cafe and Elmer Russelll's Snack Shack on Harrell Avenue across from the cotton mill.......... 5 balls for 5 cents.... and sometimes you could beat it and get free games....... that popping sound when you won a free game was music to the ears........ The Who wrote a rock opera about us........ The Pin Ball Wizard........... Tommy ,,,,,,,,,

-- Posted by Johnny Yuma on Sat, Dec 22, 2007, at 1:55 PM


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