I am in a writing glut today. I started two articles today about goings on in my life, but saved and filed them away because I’m not inspired by either at the moment. (I mean, who cares about the solicitation I received in the mail yesterday pleading for me to convert to Islam. Anybody?) So what do you do when you make a commitment to yourself to write something every day, but have nothing to write about?
1.) Give up. Writers block is no joke; or
2.) Cut and paste a previous article you wrote.
Today, I’m going to go with choice #2. I wrote this particularly weird musing back in 2006… Nice to know I was off my rocker even back then. And since I seem to be on a nostalgia trip at the moment, this post is wildly appropriate.
(Ed note: I edited and brought the blog post up to date, because I’m no hippie.)
I was neither hungry… nor a hippo
A long, long time ago, before the advent of DVD players, computers and the internet, parents needed a way to keep their children occupied. Without being able to shove a PSP into their kid’s grubby hands, adults were forced to occasionally interact with their spawn. Among other lame non-electronic toys, sometimes a “board game” was pulled from the shelves for their children’s playing pleasure.
For you young’uns who have never seen a “board game” outside of anthropological circles, in the simplest terms, the concept basically consists of a pre-marked board, usually made of cardboard or plastic; and some pieces that are placed on top of said board. The pieces are moved and removed on the board according to a predefined set of rules made up by some corporation (which are often broken, if you knew how to cheat on said game.) The object of the game is to win. Always, always win.
One of the many board games I played as a kid was Hungry, Hungry Hippo. According to Wikipedia:
“The object of the game is to use the lever on the back of a player’s hippopotamus to consume as many of the twenty white plastic marbles on the playing field as possible. Play ends when all of the marbles have been “eaten” by the hippos. The player who has captured the most marbles wins…”
Yup. That’s it. After 30 seconds, the game was pretty much over. I think at that point you were supposed to put all the marbles down again on the board and start over. It supposedly provided children with “hours of entertainment,” but honestly at most, I usually tolerated it for about two minutes at a time. (We should just go ahead and call it a “bored game.”)
So, aside from nostalgic purposes, why even bring up this passing childhood musing? Well, according to the 1980s television shows that I grew up with, a moral or lesson MUST be learned from every endeavor. *Cue sappy music*
So what did Hungry Hungry Hippo teach me?
1.) My brother is a twerp and a cheat (He shook the board, causing me to always lose. I’m still bitter);
2.) Hippos are docile, friendly souls that come in many colors; and of course,
3.) The important medical knowledge of indigestion, TMJ, and eventually lockjaw…
Aside from chess and Scrabble, which are still cool with some (very geeky) circles, do families actually sit around and ultra-compete against themselves in living rooms anymore, teaching their kids that they’re worth absolutely worthless unless they’re a “winner?” A piece of Americana, perhaps disappearing for good…