"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," children sometimes say. Although words may not be able to break bones, they can still do a whole lot of hurt. (Excuse me for a moment as I pretend to break down and regain my composure. OK, I'm better now.)
If my records are correct, this column marks my 60th article for The Badger Herald. If this were an anniversary, I would expect a diamond, or at least a cubic zirconia. Hell, I'd settle for a Ring Pop. Please give me something. I graduate in a week and have no real job.
Over the span of my 60-article life, I have received numerous comments on the Herald website. A couple of them were pleasant. The vast majority of them were not. The following are three anonymous gems. The first comment sparked my inner child, so I ran with it.
"I'm guessing you're old or something?"
I am old … or something. I am entering the real world in a week. If only I were young like this anonymous commenter must be. I would love to experience childhood again, even if I have to be an adult while doing it. Unfortunately, to quote comedian Zach Galifianakis, "When you look like I do, it's hard to get a table for one at Chuck E. Cheese."
Along the same lines as Chuck E. Cheese (or Showbiz Pizza, as I remember it), I recall extreme excitement whenever my family went to a fast-food establishment when I was younger. Fast-food playlands were all the rage back then. I wasn't going to eat; I was going to play.
I would see friends from school and meet new friends whom I would never see again. Together, we would jump into the multicolored balls, too young to even realize that we were diving into a veritable cornucopia of ball jokes. We would swim around in a sea of God-knows-what — urine, feces, disease, dead bodies. OK, maybe not literally dead, but there were always the kids who thought it was funny to pretend to drown. It really isn't a laughing matter, considering it only takes two or three of those plastic balls to fill a child's lungs.
I wish bars would install playlands. Just imagine all the fun you would have drunk, playing in a pit of balls on a Friday night. Plus, I guarantee this would be a great way to meet men and/or women. Of course, the threat of coming into contact with urine and other bodily fluids would be ever more present, but I think that is a chance we are all willing to take.
Sure, some of us may not fit through the tubes anymore, and who knows what diseases we could acquire, but just think of all the ball jokes.
"Get a clue."
This also reminds me of my youth. As a child, I was a master sleuth at the board game Clue. However, in my naiveté, I never fully realized how dark the game was. A colorful character brutally murders Mr. Boddy (the oft unnamed man who gets offed before every game) with an especially cruel weapon, such as a wrench, a rope or a candlestick.
By today's standards, this sounds like at least a PG-13 movie plot. (Although many may point out that the 1985 film version of Clue was rated PG, they could also argue that the film wasted a talented cast — and they'd be right.) Nonetheless, the recommended age for the game is 8 years old, which seems awfully young to be investigating murders. Then again, kids grow up so fast these days.
It is only a matter of time before they make a "CSI" spin-off of Clue in which children have to look at photographs of deformed corpses and analyze documents and blood samples to find the real killer. "It appears Colonel Mustard used the rope to tie Mr. Boddy to a chair, at which point he proceeded to use the wrench to rotate each appendage until it snapped. Then to finish the job, the heartless psychopath used the knife to cut out Boddy's heart, bit off the aorta as if he were activating a grenade and threw the remains at the poor victim's face. Mustard's dental records confirm this conclusion."
"Aw shucks, you win again, Timmy."
"You couldn't be more wrong."
This one pretty much encapsulates the rest of the comments.
I'm kind of running out of steam. The words are turning into sticks and stones. A man can only take so many blows to his ego. (Excuse me for a moment as I again pretend to breakdown, only this time I am unable to recover. I'll be a trooper and move on anyhow.)
In the end, a column that should have been about my entrance into adulthood turned out to be a column about me missing my childhood. That ought to tell you a bit about my state of mind.
Before I step into reality, I would like to thank all of my loyal readers. Thanks, Kyle. All right, time to go. I'm sure I have something adult to do.
In the immortal words of Clarabell the Clown, "Goodbye, kids."
Mike Peters is a senior focusing on communication arts, film and business. Do you have any parting words or cutting remarks for Mike before he officially becomes an ArtsEtc. retiree? Send any nagging comments to [email protected]