It must be time for another childhood memory involving humiliation, embarrassment, and maybe, just maybe a big laugh.
The early 80s were a different time in many ways. The cost of things was different, for example. Underwear were something to be hidden, not shown. Or talked about. It was an embarrassment to be seen in your undergarments, in fact. Or, for that matter, to have your underwear seen or mentioned at all. Unlike today where women frequently have bra straps or thong straps showing, guys wear their pants at half mast so you can see their boxers...
In the early 80s, money was a very precious commodity to me as I had little of it. I did, however, have a very good friend I have mentioned before named Carl. Really good guy and many of the good things I have been able to do in helping others have their root in how he treated me.
One key way had to do with the game of Risk. One summer the local excuse for a store had it on sale for 11 bucks. Now, 11 dollars may not sound like a lot to you but in the early 80s for a kid just hitting his teens or perhaps a year shy, it was a HUGE amount. It was a fair penny for Carl as well.
So we hatched a plan to purchase the game by coming up with $5.50 each. He got it through lawn mowing (he was a couple years older than I was and had that as a part time job).
I scrimped, saved, collected bottles and cans. It was always exciting to find a bottle because you got 10 cents for turning them in as opposed to five cents for a can. Yeah, I know...heavier, more fragile, etc. You are missing the point You got TEN CENTS.
Finally I came up with my half. It was an exciting day when we walked up to Mays Department Store (a store with perhaps 500 or a 1000 square feet...not much of a department...) and plunked down our hard-earned coin. The walk was about 2 miles but it felt like 10 as the anticipation grew. We were buying a game we both very badly wanted!
It was an exciting time when we got it home, too. If that 30 minute walk to Mays felt like all day then the walk home felt like a week. We had the game in hand! It was ours to share, to learn, to play. We bought it with our own money. Every step felt like an eternity as we hurried home to play it for the first time.
Prior to buying it, we had worked out a system. One of us would keep it at their house for a week, then the other would. We determined who got it first by a coin flip.
I loved that game. I cannot tell you how much I loved it. We played hundreds of games against each other. And each of us, on our own turn to have it at our house, would play against ourselves.
We would try different strategies and tactics. And inevitably, whoever had the game that week would win virtually every game we played of it.
Now, as a general rule, it was just the two of us playing at most. Getting a big game with two or three other people was a big deal. We were okay with that. We took turns having the game in our possession and playing it. I even took it to Grandma Aldas one time.
Grandma Alda was my Mom's mother. It was cool to stay at her place because we got to watch cartoons and play cards. No television or playing cards were allowed at home. Sometimes we would stay there for a week. A half hour a day of watching Looney Tunes was well worth it! (Ironically, I now live approximately 1 mile from where she lived.)
Anyway, one time I took Risk with me to Grandma Aldas. It was a fun week. I know it was a week because at some point she did laundry.
Got back home and the very next Saturday we had a big game of Risk. This time it was not just Carl and I. Woody, Bryce, Kyle and Billy were there too. We would have a full six players! That was unbelievably exciting. This would be the greatest day of my life. We had never had a full game before. I think 3 players was the most we had ever had.
The game was at Carls' house, just 4 houses from mine. We got all set up at the table, opened the box lid....and I about died of embarrassment.
Remember I said Grandma did laundry? Now go back and re-read the first full paragraph and then come back.
So with my 5 closest friends and Carls' sister there, we popped open the Risk box lid, that game I loved so well, to get out the contents for our big game.
And there, right on top, inside the box lid...were my tighty whiteys.
Freshly laundered, crisply ironed, and as embarrassing a moment as I have ever experienced.
I hope you are laughing because they certainly all were. And I now am because looking back it was pretty funny. I guess in retrospect I should have opened the box lid before passing it on to Carl but who would have thunk Grandma would put them in there?
If you were in that situation, would you have pre-opened it or would you just go for it, pass the game on...would you Risk it?