I received a text message on my phone last week from my son. There was also a photo to go along with it. His message read simply, “Look familiar?”
It was obvious to me Ricky was hangin’ out in one of those blast-from-the-past gift shops. The photo contained a display of classic “toys,” such as the heart-attack-waiting-to-happen Snake in a Can, a couple of Slinkies, the iconic Tiddledy Winks, good old Pick-Up Sticks and my all-time personal favorite … Silly Putty.
Let’s face it … you can do lots more things with Silly Putty than say … a Slinky. I’m not gonna lie … the original metal Slinkies, unlike the later plastic versions, make the coolest clink-clink sound when the rings slink back and forth from hand-to-hand. But Silly Putty … it can bounce, stretch, flatten and transfers an image onto itself AND a piece of paper. The best part is distorting a comic onto the putty. Stretch the blob this way and that and see what you get. Then roll it back into a ball and start all over. Just don’t get Silly Putty in your little sister’s hair. Take it from me … your mommy is not going to be a happy camper about that one.
I know what some of you are thinkin’. Is a Snake in a Can really a toy? My little brother would tell you it certainly is and way cooler than stupid old Silly Putty. Pete loved pranking his sisters with the toy disguised as a can of nuts. Actually, if the truth were told, my dad also loved scaring the heck out of his three girls with that one. But let’s face it … Snake in a Can is a one-trick pony prank. Yep, I always knew when the can invaded my personal space it would definitely explode … and still screamed every time. Perhaps that was the point. You needed a winner and a loser to call it a toy.
Although in the distant past I’ve played with all the other toys in Ricky’s photo, it was the Silly Putty that made me smile the widest. It has been many decades since I’ve taken a blob and flattened it across my favorite Sunday comic strip, “Family Circle.” The hard part was waiting for my dad to finish reading the newspaper. Imagine five kids, like little hungry buzzards, circling their father’s lounge chair waiting for the funny paper part of the newspaper to drop!
Hubby has his own ancient spin on Silly Putty. Seems his mother often used the phrase “stretching a dollar.” With Rick being one of 11 kids, I could certainly understand that one. Rick often accompanied his mom to the “day old bakery” for baked goods. Seems Rick and his brother took their Silly Putty and tried to transfer the image of a dollar bill and then “stretch” it.
“We were pretty disappointed that it didn’t work. But then our dad explained that the ink used by the government, non-transferable, made that trick impossible,” Rick said.
Some fun facts about Silly Putty … it is touted as a “liquid solid.” Oh, and did you know Silly Putty used to be sold in one-ounce lumps for just one hundred pennies? Made me wonder what else was special about the putty that was still so silly. My research has shown it still comes packaged in a plastic egg … and for the same price. Only now you get about half an ounce of the classic Silly Putty fun for your money. I wonder if that makes the silly stuff half as much fun.
Today the Crayola peeps manufacture Silly Putty and it comes in different colors. I only recall the peach-colored putty, but glow-in-the- dark and neon putty sounds quite interesting. As long as the stuff can still bounce and lift funny paper images, I am totally okay with a few changes like color choices.
I love that Ricky propelled me back to memories of the Stone Age … using his oh-so-modern-day text message.
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