Years ago, when the kids were small, I bought a game for Hanukkah, which I pronounce Cha-nu-kee-a to confuse my non-Jewish neighbors. If you’re gonna spell it that way..
Bought them a game called “Chicken Limbo”. Actually I didn’t buy it, Mrs S did. Chicken Limbo was this limbo game that had plastic chicken sitting on a bar and the kids would limbo under it. Apparently Milton Bradley, not the journeyman outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, the other one.. the game company, has recalled Chicken Limbo. The game it seems, can collapse on children, causing injuries. Putting an 8 pound plastic chicken on a flimsy plastic support and having kids try to duck under it is dangerous? Who knew. Probably should have made them wear a helmet.
BTW.. “Journeyman” Milton Bradley, the ball player, who is batting average is barley above the Mendoza Line, makes $10.0 mil a year. I didn’t need to know that.
There were two problems with Chicken Limbo, from my perspective. First of all, it did not come with a bottle of rum and case of Red Stripe. Any idiot knows that you need both to really limber up to limbo. The other thing.. once you inserted the 16 D batteries into the thing and turned it on it would play a little calypso inspired tune, sung by a chicken. And if you touched the chicken, it would squawk and make some comment about you being a loser. Over and over and over again. It was cute.
The first time.
After an entire holiday vacation of this, Chicken Limbo’s batteries ran out, and much to the chagrin my kids this happened at the same time as the little known “D Cell Crisis” of 1998 when D cells were basically taken of the market and were unavailable at any retailer in the world for several weeks. Sad to say the crisis lasted until Chicken Limbo had been relegated to the “toys I used to like” pile. Sad huh.
So, what prompts me to revisit the most annoying toy ever? Yesterday I received a package in the mail. I’d been waiting for my annual Bass Pro Shop order, which apparently they ship via mule train from some warehouse in Missouri, three weeks for an order to arrive seems excessive. The order came yesterday in a mail bag oddly enough. But, with the order of plastic worms, lizards, and other weird stuff, was a tube.. from Amazon. What the hell could that be? I took it into the kitchen and grabbed my best package opening knife, the $10,000 Wusthoff Surgical Steel knife with the attachment to make it easier to handle when you’re wearing gloves in your clown suit, and started hacking at the tube. Red the Middle Kid, who at the time was laying upside down on the sofa watching a Mythbusters Marathon on TV, a position he was in when I went to bed the previous night, jumped up and moved faster than I’d seen him move in 4 weeks.
“THAT’S MINE”. He grabbed it and pried it open. And out came a long orange something or other. That was when, BTW, I noticed that he was wearing a brand new, bright orange Netherlands World Cup jersey. Odd since we don’t even know a Dutch person, the closest is my boss’s Dutch wife. Personally I find the Netherlands confusing, Holland, Netherlands and the inhabitants are Dutch, and their big ‘berg starts with a article, even in English.. The Hauge. I still think of the The Hauge as a big building or something, not a city. Maybe it is and I’m just confused. “Nice jersey there Dirk”. I think half of the country is named Dirk.
I digress again.
Out of the box comes a plastic thing.. My oldest kid and I both realized what it was at the same time. I know this because his comment, “you gotta be kidding me” and my comment “What the FUCK”, were uttered at the same time.
Yeah outta the box came a 4’ long, bright orange, vuvuzela, South Africa’s gift to the world. Nate looked at me and at him and back at me.. and with pleading eyes remarked “Are you serious? SERIOUSLY.. you let him get that?” Let? You forgot dear boy that the King of THIS Castle is a figurehead position only, the power here lies with the Chief Minister. The lad and I exclaimed, at the same time mind you “MOM” and “Ma’am”, he the former of course. She came down.. looked at the horn, “oh you got it. .cool”.
Translated into MiddleKidSpeak “permission granted”.
With that he went into the den and proceeded to break the seal on the horn with a loud long blast.
All I can say.. that thing is loud. He got two blasts out of it before I banned it. The oldest thanked me, and in two seconds Mrs S overturned my decree. WTF> This is from the woman who yells at me to turn down a wonderful Grateful Dead Jam on the stereo when it’s over 15 Dcb.. and this is OK?
The oldest went down to his basement lair and shut the door. Louie Armstrong proceeded to blast the thing a few more times, rattling the dog and causing my beloved tropical fish to jump out of the tank and commit suicide on the carpet. My daughter smiled and kept drawing, for once happy to be hard of hearing.
Husband/Wife conference was called. “Can we at least make him blow it outside?” “no the neighbors wouldn’t like that.” I suppose not, besides I’m pretty sure that in the fall he would be at risk of being violated by a moose. I was totally befuddled. “So can we establish vuvuzela hours? I suggest 5:00pm to 5:05.”
As a Jew I’m conditioned to be sensitive to the sound of rams horn blasting away, stirring my soul to return to righteousness. This thing is sort of like a shofar if you will, a SUPER Shofar of course, At least the method of sounding it seems the same, and to be honest listening to it, I now understand the power of a big horn to get ones attention, or to bring down a city walls as the case may be. Matter of fact, if he keeps practicing I’m thinking he could blow the shofar in the Synagogue on the High Holidays. He’ll have to lose the Netherlands Jersey.
The lad took off with the thing and headed over the athletic fields on the other side of the neighborhood to watch some friends of his play softball. About 20 minutes later I could hear the horn from a half mile or so away.. A long blast, another long blast and a third blast that ended in a short sudden halt. Didn’t hear the thing again after that, it does take a village to raise a kid you know.