Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Collecting Memories

Guess what these things have in common:
Broken pencil leads
Empty Nerd boxes (all sizes)
Eraser pieces
Mechanical pencils (broken or working)
Playground rocks

Give up? Those are things currently being collected by children in the fourth grade at our school. I know that those are collections because we have to save all of those things so my daughter can distribute them to the appropriate people. And it doesn’t seem gender-limited: a boy collects the eraser bits, girls collect the broken pencil leads.
Remember baseball cards? Those collections make sense to me. Remember stickers, especially Lisa Frank stickers? Again, things that I can wrap my head around. Even Pokemon cards and bottle tops fit into a “normal” category in my world-view. But empty Nerd boxes? It’s not like they have cute quotes or different pictures or romantic memories associated with them. And playground rocks? Easy Christmas shopping: one stop at Home Depot, one bag of “river rock” and you’ve got 30,000 individual gifts for $4.95.
Other things about my Elementary years don’t make sense. We used to give ourselves eraser burns. Well, my friends did it daily, comparing who had the deepest, the greatest number, the most unusual spot, etc. I did it once and my Mom, a nurse, quickly put the kibosh on that silliness. We also used to rub each other’s arm hair until little knots formed—it is especially effective if you do it in the elbow joint area. Try it on your husband—you’ll see what a good threat it makes. Then there were Indian burns, which I think are now called “self-inflicted skin burns which represent the White Man’s treatment of indigenous people” or something like that. And remember the whole “lick your finger and slap someone’s wrist” phase? A younger cousin to the “locker room towel flick on bare buttocks” phase.
What bizarre fads do you remember from Elementary school?


buttercup said...

We all had to have white nikes with a colored swoosh in 5th grade. I had a swoodh on mine. In 6th grade it was Kangaroos--the shoes with a zippered pocket that you really couldn't put anything into--except a paperclip and what good is that? I collected stickers. It was important to have a good hopscotch marker and the best kind was those ball key chains because they slide well. We used to give eachother "Rose Gardens" on our ours though a series of raking (scratching) raining (hitting) and pruning (pinching) Nice huh?

BlueSkiesBreaking said...

One word, POGS!

Sonia said...

I smiled at all of these harm-themed games because I played all of them. My personal favorite was the "Rose Garden", during which a story was told of planting a rose garden. As each gardening step was explained, various forms of scratching, pinching and gouging the persons arm were employed so that by the end of the story, they had the rosiest garden you've ever seen, right there on the underside of the forearm. Kids are so kind.