Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I was just brushing my teeth and for some reason I suddenly had an olfactory memory of the Goop from my Thingmaker Fun Flowers from about 1969 or 1970. My brother had the Creepy Crawlers Thingmaker. Now THIS was from the time when a toy was a toy, and so much more exciting because there was the added element of risk: electricity, and a boiling-hot little baking tray to cook your little deadlies on.
These days, the fun of toys is utterly quashed by a generous girding of foam-padded safety rails and low-voltage battery operations. How is a kid supposed to learn about life and that sometimes a person needs to be careful? Gosh, no wonder people are so disturbed these days!
Anyway, I'd love to get a whiff of that Goop one more time - it had an interesting smell, and I always loved the excitement of making my big useless rubbery flowers in dayglo pinks and oranges. Perhaps my obsession with wonky, flamboyant beads stems from just such experiences, that and being born smack in the middle of the sixties. Who knows?
Anyway, this over-child-proofing of toys reminds me of what John Waters always said about all the padding and gear that football players wear: "What's the point of all that violence if you're prepared for it?"
Yeah, kids need to break stuff, learn how not to break stuff, and even have the occasional boo boo. This way they won't be so helpless in a big scary world.