Wednesday, October 17, 2018

If Past Performance Is Any Indication, The Future Is Bleak

I miss candy cigarettes.

 [Image from]

I think easing children into hideous vices by plying them with candy was a swell idea. There also used to be bubble gum cigars but those were for the rich kids. I haven't been in a candy store lately but, given the past, I assume these days a kid can buy a set of works made from spun sugar; maybe a licorice whip to tie off a vein.

Oh, OK, I suppose that's farfetched. Spun sugar would break too easily. It's probably Gummi hypos. By the way, you can still buy candy cigarettes on-line. They generally don’t come with a red-painted tip suggestive of being lit, they don't have packaging that features an actual brand-name cigarette logo, and the manufacturers calls them “candy sticks”. We older kids know what they used to be, though, and  - as some places selling them suggest - they could be a dandy gift for someone trying to quit the real things (but not for me, if that's what you're thinking, because if you give me candy cigarettes you'll just put me on the road to Type II Diabetes in addition to my incipient emphysema.)

Let's move on to another old fart ramble before I start thinking too clearly about what I just said. Does anybody patch kid's clothes these days? Sooner or later, every boy in our neighborhood wore something patched. I remember having a pair of jeans with both knees, both ass cheeks, and a spot on the crotch patched. The only other person I ever saw with pants like that was Emmett Kelly.

Am I wrong in assuming this was a boy thing? Were girl’s clothes patched? I don't recall seeing any girls with patches on their asses (and I was looking.)

Moving right along to the next station on this haphazard train of thought, what about paperweights? They used to be ubiquitous but I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts you can't put your hands on one right now (and, of course, donuts cost more than a dollar now, so that phrase has become meaningless.) I've heard of people who collect paperweights – and we should probably keep an eye on those folks - but does anybody still use them for their intended purpose of guarding a stack of paper from being blown away by a sudden gust of wind? Heck, never mind paperweights. Stacks of paper are redundant.

Hey, here’s something else to make young people laugh derisively at me! How about toy guns? Do kids still get toy guns as presents? I don't mean water pistols. Those will always be around. Who doesn't like giving someone a face full of water now and again? But what about cap guns, miniature Thompson sub-machine guns, realistic wooden rifles...

[photo from Daily Caller, where you'll find an article all about toy guns]

I suppose BB guns still exist. I sure hope so, anyway. That was the coolest gift ever, even before A Christmas Story became so popular. What kid in his right mind wouldn't want a toy that could shoot someone’s eye out? The only thing more entertaining was a chemistry set with which you could attempt to blow up your entire family.

[photo from MY ARTICLE in DISCOVER Magazine. Imagine that!]

What else can I go on about like a boring old geezer with no life? Hey, I've got it! Do you hang out clothes to dry? I'm willing to bet treasury bonds to donuts you don't. Hell, clotheslines are banned in some places. This is because the hideous yuppies elected to city councils in those locales decided clotheslines were an eyesore. Never mind that clothesline manufacturers now had to use the last of their stock to hang themselves. And another thing! Where do butterflies sleep?

Wow! That may be the best non-sequitur ever! But, seriously, does anybody know the answer? Worms sleep underground, ants have hills, moths seem to enjoy spending the night wherever my wife keeps her clothes, and I suppose Miley Cyrus might have a crack house someday, but butterflies? I have no idea. Maybe they used to sleep on clotheslines but now they're homeless, you yuppie bastards!

Why are they called BUTTERflies? Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

 Astoundingly Stupid Contest
93 Winsor Avenue
Watertown, MA, 02472.

Please enclose $5 processing fee. You might be a winner (although if you fall for this and send me the five bucks, I doubt it.)

OK, I've yearned nostalgic for stuff most people are glad is gone; made a fistful of obvious jokes; and thrown out a shot in the dark at suckering you into sending me money. I guess that’s enough for today. It’s almost Halloween, so Merry Christmas!


Hilary said...

Rambling responses..

I always loved the green/pink/yellow bubble gum cigars.

Patches on girls' jeans/jean jackets were actually a fashion statement for a brief period in the early 70s - at least, among my friends.

I'm in an apartment now but most people I know still hang clothes to dry.

I manage an antique store and we acquire and sell paperweights, occasionally but they're probably more decorative than functional.

You call a flutterby a butterfly?

Always great to read what you write.

joeh said...

I have a paper weight. I use it to keep my laptop closed.

Jackie said...

So happy to see your post!
I can still buy candy cigarettes in the candy store in North Carolina. You might see a couple of packs in your Christmas box this year. If you can’t have them because of health reasons, you can just put them up on a shelf and reminisce. Or not.
When I was a girl, I got the cap gun of my dreams for Christmas one year: Bat Masterson. Yep. Cross draw pistol. I got several boxes of caps, and I can’t tell you how happy I was wearing and shootin’ that pistol. (I also got the cane.). I was the baddest gurl around.
I hung clothes out to dry on a clothesline, too. People still do that here. I finally convinced Mama to get a dryer several years ago. I told her it would make her life easier. It did. I miss my Mama....

Suldog said...

Hilary - I also loved the bubble gum cigars, but yellow was my favorite. As for clotheslines, they are a very rare sighting around the Boston area. Nothing smells as good and feels so fresh as outside-dried sheets and blankets.

Joe - I do actually have a paperweight. It was a gift from MY WIFE. It's in the shape of home plate and contains a quote from Babe Ruth, "Never let the fear of striking out get in your way." I've often used that as encouragement when I was wavering on whether or not to send something off to a publisher. Once or twice, the publisher did accept what I was wavering about so that was good.

Jackie - Anything you send in a Christmas box is so greatly appreciated (and, as you know, is rarely reciprocated by us and that's to our shame.) Dryers are a magnificent convenience but - as I said to Hilary - there is nothing that compares to outside-drying for some things.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip said...

Yep, yep, and yep.
I like the way you reminisce.
Heck, I even like how you write.
I wish we had space for a clothesline here.
Two of MB’s daughters-in-law take full advantage of the opportunity to hang clothes.
On our recent little trip we saw lots of paper weights in souvenir shops, but, like you, see no practical use for them.
We’re collecting magnets ...because t-shirts take up too much space and they can only be flaunted one at a time.

Marion said...

Sweetheart, your only problem is living in the North. Here in the South, (Louisiana) we have candy cigarettes, all kinds of guns (I love my little pink-handled hammerless S & W), paperweights, clotheslines-in-use and the most gorgeous women on earth! As one of our infamous/famous writers, William Faulkner, said: "The past is not dead. It's not even past." Happy Trails! ;-)

Come on down and we'll 'laissez les bon temps rouler'!! xo

silly rabbit said...

Yes, girls did wear patches. My Mom embroidered hearts and flowers over holes in my clothes. Often in inappropriate places. Like that didn’t look odd.
Clothes lines are not allowed where I live. I like to use an old fashioned drying rack.
Candy cigarettes were the best. Bubble gum chew was fun. One of my friends liked to drink ginger beer from a brown paper bag, cause that was pretty adult. I doubt anyone he knew did that, but we saw it on tv. TV was very inspirational.
Being a kid was wonderful then. A few props and your imagination could make it last for a whole summer.

messymimi said...

It's great to see you.

Yes, i hang up my clothes, it's allowed as long as it's in a part of the yard the neighbors cannot see, and i have indoor clothes drying racks, too. Right now money is so tight the dryer is forbidden, and clothes last longer if not put in one anyway.

My understanding is the word used to be "flutterby" but English is weird and changes stuff like that.

Grandpa has paperweights and uses them for that purpose. Speaking of which, i have paper falling all over around here and need to snag one he's not using.

Candy Cigarettes -- what a fun memory!

Shammickite said...

Yes, I loved "smoking" those candy cigarettes, and sometimes even put the red end in my mouth.... OW! That's HOT!
Yes, I patch my grandson's holes in the knees of their trousers.
Yes I dry stuff outside on my deck.... not on a clothesline but draped on patio chairs. The only problem is the squirrel footprints on the clean sheets.
Yes I have some glass paperweights, but sadly not currently on top of a pile of paper.
No, my grandies do not get toy guns as gifts, but they still pretend with sticks. But they do have squirt guns to use when they go swimming.

Ami said...

Hayyyyyy Suldong!!!!!
About time you tossed the peasants a crumb or two!
Hope all is well with you and yours.

The best part about the bubblegum fake smokes was that if you blew on it, a puff of powder came out. Cutting edge stuff right there. Made me feel pretty grown up.

Craig said...

Of course, nowadays, one might think that the 'sugar sticks' just might be worse for you than the tobacco. . .

I've always thought the whole 'toy guns' thing sort of futile. I mean, if there were no toy guns, boys would point sticks at each other. Lacking sticks, they'll use their fingers. . .

You also remind me of my cousin who got a BB gun for Christmas one year, and spent the afternoon casually shooting the windows out of Grandpa's barn. . .

I have no idea why butterflies are called 'butterflies'; maybe because they 'fly softly', ie, like butter (at least, that's the best I got). The thing I find fascinating is that there is virtually no connection between what they're called in other languages, even in ones otherwise closely related to each other; in French, they're 'papillon', in Spanish, 'mariposa', in German 'schmetterling'. For what it's worth. . .

And, as my kids might say, I gotcher $5 processing fee right here. . .

Craig said...

Good to see a fresh post from you, BTW; I was beginning to think that you were done blogging. . .

Mich said...

Y'all can't get candy cigarettes up there? They're still stocked in most shops here. My stepmom is addicted (which I suppose is better than actually smoking).

Suldog said...

Not Necessarily My) Uncle Skip - Our refrigerator is loaded with magnets as that seems to be the approved display area for such things.

Marion - Living in the North definitely is a problem sometimes.

Silly Rabbit - I've always found TV inspirational. My Mom could tell you about a note or two sent home from school detailing the crooked paths TV inspired :-)

Mimi - You're the second person to posit that "Flutterby" is the original (I think). Makes sense.

Suldog said...

Shammickite - Thank you for keeping the good stuff alive!

Ami - I had totally forgotten about that part of the bubblegum cigar experience! Thanks for the memory !

Craig - Schmetterling? Sounds like something you scrape off your shoe. Butterfly is much better. And yeah, fingers make fine gun substitutes. Since we never all had cap pistols or whatever - some of us were poor - that's what we always used in our games, fingers.

Mich - I live in Massachusetts. We tend to legalize what some folks find odd and make illegal what some folks find commonplace.

It' said...

I've seen a few candy cigarettes in candy stores ~ they put them in the "vintage" section. Which is a synonym for "old farts who still want the candy they enjoyed as kids", haha. I always go for the fruit slices. But as a kid it was fun to blow on the cigarette and watch that puff of powdered sugar look like smoke.....

Absolut Ruiness said...

"Let's move on to another old fart ramble before I start thinking too clearly about what I just said." I giggled! Thank you. Superbly funny.
Even those stick candies were considered unholy when I was a kid. Pocket-money was nonexistent so what mum wouldn't by us, didn't exist in the world. So much so that I might have had just ONE!
Even though I have not consulted experts on this, I feel that butterfly's lives are too short to sleep. I guess they flit about right in heavens.
And India still sells toy guns in toy stores. Yes. People gift it to others' children. I don't think people buy for their own ones.
Please write more often here Jim! You are sorely missed.

Ruby said...

Hello Jim, Hope you are doing well. I enjoyed your rant. I still use clothesline but i live in India. I remember we received a notice from the council or some such thing for hanging our clothes near windows when I lived in London. hehe :) I dont patch clothes just stitch them up without patches but only my favorite ones, like darn them. Loved ur rant and had a big laugh! Keep them coming. Cheers, Priya