Balls! Balls! Balls!

I found myself at a nifty toy store the other day while waiting for a friend who was running late. Since it was a boutique type of toy store, they carried bits and bobs that went beyond the usual plastic and cardboard crap you find at a mass market store.

This place had those handcrafted wood toys that are supposed to make babies and toddlers extra smart and hone their aesthetic tastes in the preferred direction. I, who am as smart as I'm going to get and set like a concrete counter top in my aesthetics, happily stocked up on silly wind-up toys for my desk (a plump bumblebee that hops up and down while flapping its wings, etc.). On my way toward the register I passed a memorizing displays of balls.

Balls! In all shapes and sizes, colors and textures. As a kid, before toys got high tech and mind warping, we made due with roller skates, jump ropes and balls and somehow we managed to have a pretty good time of it. So, hoping to recreate some of my long gone youth and see if the kid was capable of figuring out how to use something as elemental as a ball for entertainment, I picked up a Hyper Charged Sky Ball (around $8), below.

They're perfectly hollow, weigh almost nothing, come in groovy colors and these suckers can bounce and ricochet like mad. We tried it out in the house until I realized that the danger of breaking stuff I really care about, the TV, windows and lights, was a high probability. Plus, the ceiling is kind of low so we didn't have the clearance to truly enjoy a full bounce. Off to the middle of the street we went. We all, by this time other family members and neighbors had joined us, took turns bouncing the fuck out of it. Though none of us had the upper body strength to get it anywhere near the 75 feet the website says it'll go, it did go pretty high.

And for a little while I bonded with my kid until we both got bored. Then we went inside, he fired up his Wii and retreated to read in my office and life went back to normal.

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