Let me start off with a formal introduction. By no means am I a professional writer. I am a thirty-two year old school teacher that has an affection for his childhood and a thirst for bringing back the good ol' days. Unfortunately we all must grow up and leave our childish things behind, but wouldn't it be great to go back one more time and live one day as our twelve year old selves?
This article dawned on me several weeks ago as my wife and I were shopping for a sand box for our two year old son. We were forced to choose from the less than original options at the local Toys R Us. We were tasked with choosing between a turtle and a crab. My lovely wife looked at this dilemma as nothing more than a normal Saturday afternoon event, whereas I looked at it as an perfect opportunity to make an impact on my son's life.
As a child, I was blessed with two of the coolest parents in the world. My brother, sister, and I never went without. In fact, we were kinda spoiled. We always took at least one vacation a year and that was usually to Walt Disney World. We also had the benefit of having a father who could and would build anything we wanted. In the Spring of '88 he built us the coolest sand box known to man. Little did I know, but this miniature barren wasteland would serve as the setting to countless destructive movies that would be directed by yours truly.
Every summer we would pack into the old Astro Van and head south for a family vacation. Not only were there beaches and warm weather waiting for us, but also the land of legal fireworks. I can still remember seeing seeing the beautiful billboards advertising these wonderful explosives. As soon as we crossed the Mason-Dixon line we were already salivating at chance to gawk at the aisles and aisles of Bottle Rockets, Jumping Jacks, Pinwheels, and the ever popular Black Cats.
My brother and I would spend every last cent we had on these precious explosives. We knew that when we returned back to southwestern Pennsylvania, we were going to be kings of the neighborhood. After the usual run of the mill demonstrations with our newly purchased artillery we would always decide to turn our attention to the blowing up shit in the sandbox. After several lackluster firecracker pops, my older brother had a genius idea. He suggested we gather up some of our little cheap plastic army men and introduce them to some real warfare.
I was totally on board with this genius plan, until he upped the ante by saying we "borrow" my mom's cumbersome yet cutting edge RCA Video Recording Device. Better known at a video camera.
We were clearly headed into some deep water here. We knew this camera was worth more than both of our lives, but we also knew we had to document what we were about to do on film. What transpired over the next hour or so changed my life forever. We filmed every explosion, decapitation, and loss of green army men life. It was glorious! Clearly we were ahead of our time.
After holding a private screening for the parents, we were surprised that they were really cool with what we had done. The only thing that was required of us in the future was that we had to seek permission before using the camera. Apparently the fact that a seven and eleven year old were using illegal explosives without any adult supervision didn't bother them. Over the next several summers, our videos got expediently better. We experimented with various angles and different explosives. We also upgraded to using G.I. Joes in place of the cheap green plastic army men.
We walked out of Toys R Us that day without a sandbox. After some brief yet firm negotiating with my better half, we headed to Lowe's. That's right folks, why buy a cheap sand box when you can build one for five times the cost and ten times the headaches? Currently my son is enjoying his handmade, one of a kind, awesome sandbox. Don't worry guys, I'm not letting him handle any explosives. Not until he is five.