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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fun if you’re game

Mike Morin

It’s pretty good to be a kid these days. When many of us were, say, 10 years old, our entertainment choices were board games, dolls or playing outside. I enjoyed my 1960s childhood. Now the “good old days” seem almost prehistoric by comparison.

Today’s 10-year-olds have iPods, iPads and Xboxes. If they even know what Monopoly is, chances are they play it online. They have 200 TV channels. We had about four. I liked “Felix the Cat,” but “SpongeBob SquarePants” is a freakin’ riot. All my adult friends will disagree with me, but being a kid today looks like more fun than it was a few generations back.

Admit it, you love playing Wii bowling with your grandkids, even though they smoke you. I’ve heard you say, “We made our own fun back in the day.” OK, now you’re starting to sound like your grandparents. Kids still make their own fun, and if you’ll let them, they’ll engage you in today’s new world. Try the new toys. Might make you feel young again.

It’s good to be a kid at ice cream stands. We spent time with Barb’s grandkids last weekend at one of those places with ice cream and amusements. Back in the day, a small cone had one scoop of ice cream on top. Today, a small-sized portion is two whopping chunks on the cone. What kid doesn’t love that? Want a 1965-era small one? Better ask for the kiddie cone. Nobody does that because it sounds humiliating to order one. “Does a Pampers come with a kiddie cone?” I nearly asked.

The most popular part of this visit was not the bumper boats, arcade or mini golf. It was a free-roaming rooster. This cock had talons the size of Mike Tyson’s fists and could easily have shredded any 4-year-old it didn’t like. Instead of charging $7 to ride a motorized innertube on a pond, they’d make more money from parents whose kids chased the rooster around.

And what were the kids doing? They treated him like a Pied Piper, following closely behind and imitating his flapping wings and strutting neck. At first I thought it might be a cock-a-doodle-do flash mob moment.

Ice cream stand owners are missing the boat. They need roving photographers snapping pictures of adorable little Kyle doing his best Foghorn Leghorn imitation. Then, mom and dad pay $15 for the snapshot when they leave. Another Kodak moment destined for Facebook.

As much as I enjoyed the chicken show, I was more amused by the 8-year-olds having meltdowns inside the arcade. After dad forks over his third $20 bill, Jana steps up to the prize redemption counter and picks out a small plastic back scratcher. Dad just paid $60 for something you’d get for a buck at the dollar store.

Now, I’m ready for a meltdown. My rum raisin ice cream kiddie cone just dripped on the Hello Kitty pillow I won for 15,000 points in the arcade.

Hear Mike Morin weekdays from 5-10 a.m. on “New Hampshire in the Morning” on 95.7 WZID. Contact him at Heymikey@aol.com. His column runs the first, third and fifth Tuesdays of the month.