I probably wasn’t much fun to play with when I was little. As soon as someone mentioned a game that had any kind of spinning involved, I was out. I had puked enough for all the kids in the neighborhood. I was already called “Bluey” in the winter because my lips would turn a bright bluish purple and “Picky Vickie” throughout the year because I wouldn’t try to eat anything that had “stuff” in it, like potato salad, or mixed together, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. “Pukey” was next on the agenda, I was sure, and I wanted no part of it.
I don’t know what the hell it is with kids and spinning. Are we all gluttons for punishment?
Blind Man’s Bluff
I think the first game I played with other kids in the neighborhood that had anything to do with spinning was Blind Man’s Bluff. The rules sounded easy enough. According to Wikipedia:
“Blind man’s bluff is played in a spacious area, such as outdoors or in a large room, in which one player, designated as “It”, is blindfolded and gropes around attempting to touch the other players without being able to see them, while the other players scatter and try to avoid the person who is “it”, hiding in plain sight and sometimes teasing them to make them change direction.”
Ok, that sounded easy enough. Two things were missing from the instructions, however. One, was that Blind Man’s Bluff should be played in an area free of dangerous obstructions, or like, um, stairs, so that the “It” player will not die or obtain a serious head injury. Secondly, who the hell said the “It” player had to be spun around before they went off groping at people? I immediately knew that I sure as hell wasn’t going to be the first one to run into the fireplace hearth or be the one puking because of the spinning. But, sometimes life just isn’t fair for the spin challenged. The first person found me huddled in a corner, cowering and trying to remain oh so quiet. Dammit. I cried foul, as I am sure the person could see below the scarf. I figured out that if you had a big nose, you could cheat. People with big noses always have advantages in this world.
So, Lori, the neighborhood Nazi girl, put the scarf around my eyes. We were playing in her basement, so we had to let her be in charge like she always was. She tied it tight to make sure I couldn’t cheat. She knew I would cheat in a heart beat, given the chance. I remember the scarf being slightly damp. So, I was ready to puke because I knew that meant sweat. Lori lived across the street and she knew all about my spinning “problems.” So, the little bitch spun me hard. Her hands were firm and her method determined. Determined to make the little skinny girl with blue lips puke. After she got done spinning me, I just sat down and threw up on on an area rug. Ta-da. End of Blind Man’s Bluff for Vickie. I staggered home. I think I took the blind fold off first.
I’m thinking that Blind Man’s Bluff led to orgies when played by the older crowd.
The Playground Merry-Go-Round-and Round-and Round
I hate playground equipment. I really do. As an elementary teacher, I watch kids when I am on playground duty. First of all, yes, I do stand outside with fifty-five year old blue lips. That’s with me for life. I am not fond of the cold. But, I watch these sweet children turn into brainless zombies on speed, running amok to and fro each piece of equipment. They climb up slides instead of sliding down them. They run behind people swinging, like chipmunks playing “Suicide” on our country roads. Chipmunks decide in the middle of the road which way they want to zig. Too late, Theodore. Anyways, school children also try to kill their peers on the see-saws. Side note: How the hell do children know what “cherry bumps” even are?
“Ms. Mendenhall, Ralph jumped off of the see saw on purpose and gave me a cherry bump.” I just stared at her. Really? I chuckled at the thought of perhaps sending her to the principal to tell the story of Ralphie, the cherry bumper.
Luckily, our playground doesn’t have the Merry-Go-Round aka The Ride of Misery like we had when we were little. I’m not even sure if it was at our neighborhood playground, but I avoided it somewhere. It was the worst playground apparatus known to man…and pukey little girls.
You know there is vomit on there somewhere
So, the kids would hop on and the strongest child would run on the outside, pushing around and around and then jump on himself. Once in a while some older jack ass would stand there, spinning and spinning despite the pleas of the younger, sickened children. Hahahhahaha, laughed the older kid. Those bully kids back then are the probably the same ones wearing black and white stripes today. Or they are car salesmen. But,I would never go near that damn ride after the first time I was stuck on it….. And puked on it. Ew. I just left, hoping that one day it would rain.
You know this didn’t last long. Dear God, here come the flying wires. Oh, look, one has impaled you.
The Rotor- Kennywood Park
The Rotor was a crazy ride at Kennywood Park, outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We used to go to Kennywood about once a year when I was little. It’s hard to describe the Rotor, but I shall try. Picture a barrel. Or the inside of a washing machine. Or something like that. People would enter the Rotor and stand against the wall, with the heels of their feet against the wall. I think we had to take our shoes off as we entered the ride. Did I say, “we?” I crack myself up. The Rotor had an observation deck around the top, so those like myself, could watch.
The ride would start rotating uprights at 33 revoulutions per minute. Faster, faster, faster. (This is where I would puke just from watching the people spinning.) The rotation would create a centripetal force and then when it was at full speed, the floor would drop down. Like drop down. Everyone was stuck like Velcro to the sides of the spinning barrel. Sick.
I had to finally try it when I was with my boyfriend. Oh, the things you do for love. I was so scared, because those who puke on the ride get to share it, as the splatter would smack up against the wall. I can only imagine the puke on the back of peoples’ shirts. You know those carnival people probably didn’t clean the walls too well. So, I made sure I hadn’t eaten, and went in and although I was sick for the rest of the Kennywood day, I did not throw up. What what one does for love.
There were several Rotors around the country, probably called other names. All American rotors had to be dismantled or modified after the “incident.” Yikes. In 2000, two tweens were injured when their feet were caught between the moving wall and the floor.One suffered broken bones and they were both hospitalized.
Ugh..I feel sick after watching that.
The Basement Swivel Chair
I wonder if my bff Ramaine remembers this. We used to hang out in my basement. It was a long room with a bar on one end, and a ping pong table on the other end. In the middle was furniture, including two snazzy swivel chairs just like the one in this picture:
This chair looks innocent enough, but is a vehicle of death
Let’s just say that it is not a good idea to put a bunch of neighborhood kids in the basement unsupervised. My mom would stay upstairs, smoking her Salem cigarettes and reading the National Enquirer. Meanwhile, we had a carnival going on downstairs. Ramaine sat in one of the swivel chairs, sitting cross legged on the chair. Sometimes we would pretend we were going into outer space. Oh, we were imaginative. We would then spin the occupant in the chair around and around and around. It would go pretty damn fast.But, alas, there is nothing imaginative about a possible concussion. The swivel chair tipped over and so did Ramaine. She hit her head on the floor, which I think was painted concrete. She immediately said that her head hurt, so we ran upstairs to get my mom.
She checked on Ramaine, and then ran to call her mom. On the way out of the rec room she told us-
“What ever you do, don’t let her go to sleep. She may never wake up again.”
Really? You said that to a child. Of course she was now going to be sleepy. That’s what kids do.
What an idiot. But, at the time, I thought my bff was going to drift off to sleep and never be able to spin in the chair ever again. I was scared for my partner in crime.
“ Don’t go to sleep, Ramaine”…I wanted to cry.
Well, she was ok, and I don’t remember if she had a concussion or not, but we went back to spinning that chair. I never sat in the chair, of course, as I knew my limitations and my friends accepted me for the puking freak that I was.
Fast forward many years. When my children were young, they informed me that they wanted a Sit’n Spin. Great. So, they are manufacturing a personal use piece of playground apparatus. Just what I need. So, being the great mother that I was, I bought them this nauseating toy.
My least favorite purchase, other than maybe Kotex
Go ahead and puke. You’re not my kid.
Recycling the Sit’n Spin into a turn table. Good job, Pinterest lady.
In the end, there are thousands of things that spin. I will name them all:
yo yo, tops, pinwheel, a fan, hula hoop, frisbee, anything with wheels, including a ferris wheel, whirlygigs
silver maple tree helicopter whirlygigs, a basketball can spin, a record on a record player, a tornado, propellers, pottery thingy,and clothes in a washing machine. I have volunteers come up in my fourth grade class and act out the sun, moon, and earth and have them spin around while they are revolving around the sun. Sure, they get dizzy. They want to get dizzy. Goofy kids.
There was one particular spinning “toy” that did not make me dizzy:
Spin the Bottle
After all these years, they still love to get dizzy.