BV Chronicles - Part I

Back in ancient times, oh say about 10 BV (Before Video games,) when a kid had nothing to do on a summer day, things got pretty difficult. Unlike today, when a kid can veg out for extended periods racking up points on any number of video game titles, children with nothing to do had a real dilemma on their hands. They could either go home and get caught up in some kind of chore their parents would press them into performing, or accept the challenge of grabbing boredom by the nose and kicking it in the butt.

In case there is ever a serious power shortage, here is one boredom breaker the 8-12 year old kids in my old neighborhood used to pull for something different to do.

One day, we grabbed an official looking hard hat, a heavy whistle, a plastic badge, and a wide leather belt. Hooking the belt from shoulder to waist on a slant across the chest, donning the hard hat, pinning on the badge, and taking the whistle, we moved to the nearest low traffic intersection to begin experimenting with how well a kid could do at directing traffic. Whenever a car came along to the stop sign, we would walk out into the intersection, blow the whistle, and point authoritatively in the direction we wanted the driver to go. To our surprise, almost every driver went in the direction we indicated without question, which was intentionally opposite the one we thought they wanted to go.

On one occasion, the driver lowered his window and asked why he could not go the way he wanted to take. My brother was manning the post for this incident, and he was not usually acknowledged for being quick on the uptake. However, when the driver asked why he had to turn, my brother shouted back impatiently, "Oil!" With a flourish of bravado, my brother blew the whistle in two quick bursts, and in a squatting turn, swept both his extended arms in the direction he wanted the driver to take. The driver shrugged his shoulders, and turned the car as instructed. It was our best shot of the day.

I may not be able to recall my best score at Mario years from now, but I can still remember directing traffic for the first time. Sometimes it is good to be forced to invent.

Director of Software Concepts BHO Technologists - LittleTek Center