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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My Childhood Utility Drawer

You know how every has that junk drawer in their house with a deck of playing cards, loose screws, a little change, and sometimes a hammer?

Well I had that when I was a kid, but it was much more fun.

I blame it on the Adam West Batman show. I used to watch the hour block of Batman everyday at my babysitters house and I was always amazed that no matter what sticky situation Batman and Robin found themselves in, they had a gadget to get out of it.

I also watched a ton of sitcoms, especially TGIF (Full House, Family Matters, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Boy Meets World, etc) and SNICK (Are You Afraid of the Dark?, All That, Keenan and Kel)

So, in my young impressionable mind, I learned 1. to be prepared for any situation and 2. wacky adventures would pop up and you needed the tools to overcome them.

My first move was Christmas one year. My brothers and I would go through the Sears catalog and circle the stuff we wanted. I found a 101 Magic Trick set and quadruple circled it. To me, that seemed like buying a tool box before getting specialty tools.

Turns out this kit was a bust. There was the magic wand that would get longer by you tugging on the white capped end. The deck of cards that were tied together by a very obvious string that you could pretend to drop and pull back up like a yo-yo. And then there was a normal deck of small, cheap cards, and a book with 50 card tricks. Only one of the tricks kind of worked and it involved doing a swap-a-roo with the 6 and 9 of diamonds and hearts.

I then started building my specialty tool collection.

Arcades and skate rinks were primed for this. While my friends would turn in tickets for candy, I grabbed fake dog poop, a small screwdriver set (which snapped first time I used it), knotted metal rings, Chinese finger traps, an over sized checkers board, and one of those peg games you see at Cracker Barrel.

Beyond that, there were all these old quarter and dime machines that still had toys in them in my cousin's basement. The keys were long lost and we weren't made of quarters and dimes, (We were like 10, come on.) so we broke into them using a hammer and flat head screw driver. Ryan would pry the lid open as much as he could and I would reach my scrawny little hands in there.

I scored moldy temporary tattoos, a plastic Riddler shot glass, a dozen or so bouncy balls, and weighted dice.

These stayed in the same drawer until I left for college. It was one of those regrettable things where I just couldn't justify moving it and I knew my parents weren't going to hang onto this stuff. I went through it all, and realized that out of all the years, only one of my sitcom pranks worked and it was glorious.

That, was the exploding cigarette.

It was a small tin, much like what you get Altoids in, filled with these little seed looking things. You'd sort of pack the seed into the end of a cigarette and as the person was smoking, the seed would heat up until it popped, exploding the end of the cigarette.

I pulled a pack out of my dad's Blue's jacket, stuffed one in a single cigarette and waited.

A few days later, my dad came in the house laughing. "Did you do that? It scared the hell out of me."

My only regret is I didn't get to see it happen.

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