Best Stuff on the Block

Growing up as a child in a neighborhood full of other children my age, I am reminded of all the neat toys I had. Action figures, various sports equipment, skateboard gear, video games, water guns, light-up guns, laser tag equipment… I could go on and on. However, a weird phenomenon occurred in our neighborhood. Beginning at Christmas, and then year round, whenever one of us got something new, for about a week, we would be the kid on top, the kid with the best stuff on the block. We would share with all our friends, and during that time, everyone was your friend. However, by week’s end, all of the other kids would have their own version of the toy, and everyone would splinter off into their little cliques and groups, not needing anyone else anymore.

It was like clockwork. One summer we all had water pistols. We would run around the courtyard working our little fingers as fast as we can on the triggers. I remember getting blisters on our index fingers, and having to use our middle fingers instead. However, one day, one of us got one of the first model Super Soakers, and we decimated everyone else, aquatically speaking. It just was not fair—a little pump action and a single trigger press, and it was the portable equivalent of a garden hose. Well, you guessed it, by the end of the week, each of us had similar models, and we were drenching each other all over again. The next year one of us got the three-barrel Super Soakers, and the process began anew.

Skateboarding gear was like that too. Someone would get a new board, or a new set of pads, or shiny new helmet, and suddenly, all of ours looked so dingy in comparison. One by one, each child would suddenly be upgraded to a new set of duds, and new boards would suddenly be in use, until the first kid’s equipment was scratched up from a week of heavy usage, and ours looked even better than his did!

Yeah, that was life back then. We never did really figure out how that happened. We would remember something about our parents going shopping, but we never connected all the dots together. Perhaps it was better that way. We probably would have not gotten all that neat stuff if we had realized the parents were all talking to one another—we would have been a lot more careful then!


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