5 Awesomely Useless Things

That I learned as a kid
February 25, 2013
As children we learn so many important things. How to feed ourselves, dress ourselves, and go pee pee in the potty. Although some bar owners may say my aim has not improved much in 31 years. These are all necessary skills that will benefit you throughout your entire life. Even learning to ride a bike is useful because it’s a new form of transportation. Learning to swim can save your life. But what about all the other things we pick up as kids? Knowing how to fold a piece of paper into a fortune teller, burping on command, these things have done little if anything to help my resume. Now I’d like to share with you five of the most awesomely useless things I learned as a kid.

Mastering a Pogo Stick
No joke. I was, and still am awesome on a pogo. It took an entire afternoon of scraped legs and a battered ego to get this sucker down. I was about 10 years old and I remember my mom bringing one home. We’re not talking new-age plastic everything save the children style pogo. All metal with sharp edges and springs that were in serious need of oiling. I assume from all the children’s blood rusting them over the years. My mom was decent. Showed my older sister and me how to hold on and start with one foot and then get your momentum going. So we all took turns and nobody could really get past 10-15 without tilting to a side or having to put a foot down. So my mother and sister grew tired of it and went inside. Not this stubborn bastard. I stayed out in the street (cuz that’s where the cars are) and kept pogoing away. The inside of my thighs became red and chaffed from clenching onto the sides. My knuckles were white from the death grip I hand on those cracked handles. But after a while, it happened. Out of nowhere while I was counting my failures 14, 17, 12, 42! Something clicked. Just like riding a bike there’s a moment of “getting it” and you got it. After that I could consistently pogo past 50. Then I started doing tricks. One handed, turning the pogo mid air, jumping over stuff, going up and down steps, and even no handed. Oh yes, I rock. I would squeeze the sides outta that thing with my thighs and pogo no handed. That was the pinnacle of my pogo career. Sadly bragging that I can jump up and down on a giant phallus while leaving my hands free for other things has yet to score me a date with the ladies.

He thought it was a useless skill too.

Hopping a Fence
This one wasn’t actually that useless, but being good at hopping a fence doesn’t say much for my character as a kid. And I was damn good at it too. I called it “Jackie Channing a fence” because that’s how quick I could get over one. I was also one of those guys who once at the top would bend my upper body over the fence and then swing my legs over landing uber cool style on the other side. If you don’t know what I’m talking about that means you weren’t cool enough to pull that off, loser. But let’s look at the reasons why I was in a hurry to conquer obstacles. One, it was a great way to get into places free. No money to get into the swimming pool? No problem, I’d hop the fence fast enough so nobody would see me. Pay to go to a fair? Don’t think so. Although to be honest, I only did that from ages 15-18. Before that I looked young enough to be 12 and get in for free. And the last reason, “sessions” in the park. My friends and I would occasionally go to a public park after hours with a plant that was great for making clothes. Except we didn’t know how to use a weave, so we smoked it. Harmless right? Well the local po-po didn’t think so. But wherever we were I knew I’d be okay since I could hop a wall, fence, moderately tall person in the blink of an eye. Leaving one of my slower friends to deal with all that back there. Sucked when that guy was the driver though.

If you look close you can see the angel I'm talking about.
Simpsons Trivia
I’m sure a lot of people can relate to this one. I’m in South America right now and they have Simpsons here even. Los Simpsons. Good thing I know every line by heart too, because down here it’s all that wacky Spanish I’ve been hearing about. Anywho, my friends and I would study, not watch, STUDY “The Simpsons” for the sole purpose of asking a stumping question the next day. What color and shape is the magnet on the dish washer? Green star. What vegetable is on the curtains in the kitchen? Corn. In the episode where Lisa finds the “angel” skeleton, how many digs did it take before she hit something? 7. If you knew any of those then you share a nerd bond with me so strong it can only be broken if you don’t know how to pogo. Learn. The amount of effort and intelligence I put into these trivia games is now mind boggling to me. If I could have studied half as hard in college I’d be orating this article while sipping some 400 year old aged scotch sitting in a chair made of platypus (the softest animal known to man) with a super model in my lap. I’m saying I’d be more successful. But no, if it wasn’t Simpsons, it wasn’t worth paying attention to. And the question that ruined my 3 year terror of Simpsons Trivia King- Who was the famous baseball star that got knocked out by Marge’s pretzels? A hint, it’s not Tommy Lasorda.

Tic Tac Toe
Useless game huh? Just might save the world from a nuclear holocaust some day. But other than that, yeah, pretty useless. And just why am I so good at Tic Tac Toe? I spent my entire eighth grade math class perfecting my skills. Me and buddy would just sit the entire hour and play. We eventually found all the moves to trap a person. If you start in a corner and the person goes middle you than put your X on the other side. Then, if you opponent is stupid enough to place an O in one of the remaining two corners, you’ve won. You can then get three in a row on either side. Or if your opponent doesn’t place their O in the middle (moron) practically any move you make will be a victory. Or if you start in the middle and the person plays a left/right up/down slot place your X in a corner spot next to it. Doesn’t matter which one. This will make the other person have to block your diagonal. Then place your next X in corner AWAY from the two O’s. Now you can win either with a diagonal or vertical/horizontal line. I am unbeatable. At best we’d cat’s game forever. I owe this all to a friend that equally didn’t care about his education to spend his time mastering a useless game.

Not quite like this.

Picking my nose with a tooth pick
But AB, so far I wouldn’t call these skills entirely useless, they may be used as a party gimmick or something. Well get ready for something so awesomely useless your brain’ll explode. I can pick my nose with a tooth pick, while it’s still in my mouth. Saw it coming? I guess the title was a bit foreshadowing. How, or a better question WHY did I learn to do this? Believe it or not I can actually blame “Uncle Buck” on this one. You know in the bowling alley when Pal is talking to Tia and he’s twirling a tooth pick around in his mouth until it sticks him? That’s what gave me the idea. Even though I did end up sticking myself quite a few times. I found out I could also turn it vertical while in my mouth and insert it into my nostril. Not only that (get ready to swoon ladies) I could roll it back in forth to equally pick each nostril. Out of all the useless crap I’ve learned in my day, without a flicker of a doubt, this is the most useless. And being male, the one I’m most proud of.

So there you have it. I know I’m not alone on this one. Would love to hear about your talents. I’m sure there’s a couple more I have that are so weird I can’t think of them on command. For any that are now going to try the tooth pick thing, a word of advice. Chew on the end that will go into your nose so you don’t accidently jab the inside of your sniffer too hard and cause it to bleed. Cause that really hurts. Not that I’d know.
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