The Cast: Erich (the one with the recipe), Myself (the one with the consol).
“Remember that time we glued ourselves to the floor?”
This is the kind of line that draws a quick inquiry from one of the children. “Wait. You glued yourselves to the floor?” “Why would you glue yourselves to the floor?” “How…? How did you glue yourselves to the floor?”
See, when you get to a certain age, sometimes snippets of memory float through your brain and fall out of your mouth—out loud. Sometimes those memories made sound aren’t wholly accurate, more accurately descriptive maybe, but not accurate. When this happens clarity is needed. So, here you go. A little clarity…
The year was 1990-something (it may have even been 1990) and once again Erich and I were into legal mischief (I say legal because our illegal mischief was long behind us). It was a Friday night and we were looking for something to do. As was typical, we had spent the day hiking about the base of the mountain that married the edge of town, playing one of the two arcade machines at the local gas station, wandering about town looking for friends to do something with, climbing and playing on the sets at the park (you know, those sets with slides and swings and slippery poles and merry-go-rounds) At some point we had lunch and watched I Love Lucy reruns (that show is still awesome), that sort of day. A regular day.
After reading what I just wrote, it sounds like Erich and I were about 10 years old (or younger). Well, let me just tell you we were not. We were about 16 at this time. Shut up. No laughing. We had fun. We played, we trained (um, superheroes, remember), we carpe diemed the heck outta life! Everyday. So, yeah. We played on playground equipment intended for small/young children. Got a problem with that? Alright then. (uh, just a note: we never destroyed it or damaged it, we were responsible. well, think about it, if we broke it, we couldn’t play on it. you gotta think it through people)
Where was I? Play… Friends… Hiking… The park… Video games… Oh, yeah! Video Games! So, yeah, the video games. In our town, there were only a few locations to play an arcade game. And for those keeping score, a few is three. The gas station, the local bakery, and a dairy freeze. Each one had its perks and downfalls—each one also typically only had two games. And to help put this into perspective, the newest game console on the market was Nintendo. The first Nintendo. And not everybody had one. Some of us had to make do with our old Atari 2600. Now, don’t get me wrong, that game system was grand. But, when you’ve had it for over a decade… Sometimes the parts don’t work so good anymore (I lost track of how many times I had repaired the joysticks over the years).
Anywho, at some point, we had the idea to have Erich stay over at my house, then we could play Atari or watch movies on Laser Disk (if you don’t know what that is, Google it). We opted for the former. Additionally, Erich was excited to share a recipe he had gotten a hold of on how to make homemade suckers. To help put this into perspective, back then, anything you could do at home was wondrous—”at home DIY” activities were not a thing back then. So, just think about it for a moment. When you make it yourself, you can make them into any shape you want! So, we collected the recipe and some supplies from Erich’s house and headed to mine. Whatever else was needed I had.
Since the mixture required some chill time to harden, we figured we would begin making the suckers first—before the video games session. We gathered all the ingredients, began to mix, then realized (too late) that we didn’t have sucker molds. Or any molds. To once again put things into perspective, this was before everybody and their dog made things at home. Nowadays you could probably run next door and say to your neighbor, “I’m so sorry to bother you, but I am in the middle of making some dinosaur muffins for my kid’s party and I can’t find my molds. Can I borrow yours?” And your neighbor would probably respond with, “Sure thing. I’ve got herbivores or carnivores. Do you have a preference?” That’s how it would go today. But this wasn’t today, this was 1990-something (possibly 1990). And I didn’t have molds! So, we grabbed brownie trays.
“Okay… How do you get a brown out of red, yellow, green, or blue?”
“Brown? Why brown?”
This lead to the realization that since we were making the suckers, we could make them any color we wanted. So we did.
There was red lemon. Turquoise rootbeer. Blue plain (we ran out of flavor stuff). Green cinnamon. And something else that either I can’t remember, or due to the trama, have completely blocked out so… Yeah, either way, I can’t remember.
The trays were put into the refrigerator and we retired to my room to play ATARI!!!
Earlier that year I had loaned Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark to a friend and in return, he lent me Joust—both for the Atari 2600 game system. For those unfamiliar with Joust, let me tell you a little bit about it. You’re a knight, riding an ostrich, collecting eggs in a rocky cavern, at the bottom of the cavern there is lava. The enemy are knights riding vultures, and on occasion, a dragon will attack. Oh yeah, there is also a hand made out of lava that rises from the lava to grab you and kill you. Fun, right?! Yes! Also, it’s possibly one of the greatest games ever.
So, yeah, um, my house was an old pioneer home and as such had unique qualities about it. One of which were small rooms. The other, deep windows. Like 18 inches or more, deep. Like they-could-be-a-bench deep. And the way my room was set up, my bed extended from the middle of the wall, into the room, so that there was only a small space on either side of it—it was centered between the windows. The Atari and t.v. could sit in one of the window wells and there was still room. The t.v. was even an old tube t.v., remember 1990-something (or possibly even 1990). At any rate, Erich and I tried having one of us lay on the bed and the other sit on the floor so that we could have plenty of room. But if you laid on the bed, your neck would cramp from having to look up (relative to the body, because it was looking forward while the body was horizontal). Also, one arm had to be positioned weird and you lost circulation in it after a few minutes. And while this was advantageous to the other player, it wasn’t fair. And that’s how we discovered that with a little squishing, we could kneel, side-by-side, and still play. So we did.
After a few hours of this, our knees started to cramp up. We needed to stand. Also, We needed our suckers!
As we hobbled down the stairs to collect our carefully crafted treats. Wait, that’s a lie. They were not carefully crafted. We had just arbitrary poured the goop into the trays and realized afterward that we couldn’t get that crud outta the pans. We had screwed it up. We had not ‘carefully crafted’ anything. It was all over! Life was over. No turquoise rootbeer sucker crud. No green cinnamon. No whatever that other one was that I don’t remember what it was. Eventually, we figured out that if we carefully whacked the solid candy stuff with a hammer, we would have sucker fragments. So, we did.
Whack! Whack! Whack! Came the hammer. Break! Break! Break! Came the candy.
“What are you doing?” Came my mother.
Her reply to that was not audible, and if I could accurately describe the look on her face I would. But words cannot do justice to that concerned glower of skepticism and irritation that coated the underlying notions of mistrust, frustration, concern, and possibly disappointment, while she still maintained a reasonable expression of pleasantness. My mother is complicated—proper, but complicated.
After a few trips up and down the stairs for fragments of miscolored—and flavored—sucker chunks, we understood that if we were to survive my mother’s building upsetness (it’s a word—maybe) we needed to stop doing that. Her bedroom was under those stairs. Remember old pioneer home, every inch was used. So, we collected all the trays and took them upstairs with us.
Thus began a magical journey of sugar supported, adrenaline pumped, video game fiesta full of fun that lasted way longer than it should have.
Due to the closeness of quarters, we tried not to move much. We put everything within reach. Because if someone moved too much, they would throw everything else off. Hour after hour passed, and as each one did, we fell into a groove that just got deeper and deeper. Eventually, we stopped swapping out games and stayed with Joust. As we reached for more sucker sections we continued to fuel ourselves for even more game time. And as the darkness of night came, time lost all meaning.
At some point, we realized that the television was somehow illuminating the room more than it had previously. No, it was the rising of the sun. Oh, morning was here. We had played all. night. long! Oops. Well, we had gone this far, no need to quite now. Except that we both really needed to pee. We’d been holding it for hours, each of us not wanting to break the video-game-sucker-spell of fun.
I tried to stand first. Nope. Couldn’t move. Erich next. Same result. Somehow, during the events of the night, we had created the perfect set of circumstances that would result in a mini black hole, whose placement was directly beneath us both.
You see, while we played, we ate candy. The trays were set right next to us on my bed. And sometimes the pieces were too big, so we would snap them into smaller bits. Whenever this would occur teeny-tiny, itty-bitty bits of surgery substances would fall down. And somehow, they managed to work their way below us. Under our legs.
In addition, as most of you readers can probably attest, there can come a point where when you are in a certain position (perhaps a perfect situational position: environment, furniture design, temperature, etcetera) that you lose feeling in your limbs and may not notice, or you just don’t care. That happened. Our legs were not necessarily asleep, but they were numb and unresponsive. Our knees had also become accustomed to being bent.
Combine that with the sucker dust resting below us, heated by our body weight and temperature, we had become adhered to my bedroom floor. We were glued to my carpet!
And if you know anything about being bent over for too long, at the point your body tells you that you need to pee, you needed to pee hours ago! This is a horrible event. It’s like when you’re on a long car drive and you stop, get out of the car, and your bladder says, “Hey, get to a toilet right now or else I’m gonna transfer my contents into your shoes. Move!” It was one of those kinds of situations. This was happening because as we struggled to stand up, we were bending and unbending at the waist which told the bladder that it was time to release—everything.
“Oh, not good. Not good.”
“Oh, not good. Not good.”
I latched onto a nearby cupboard handle and tried to free myself from the trap I had not only accidentally created for myself, but also unwittingly knelt into.
Erich turned, and with hands on the bed, tried to push up, out of his small section of suckered disaster.
After a few minutes of struggling against gravity, close quarters, cramped muscles, melted candy, and exhaustion (now that we knew it was daytime, we were tired), we were able to tear ourselves away. Literally. For as we stood, there was an audible fffwwrruurpp sound as large amounts of carpet were liberated from their intended confines of my floor. Oops. Our leg hair had doubled, only on the front, below the knees, and it was all blond polyester. We stared. Stunned at what had happened. Marveled by what we beheld and done.
“Oh, yeah! Gotta pee. Move!”
We almost killed each other as we tumbled down my steep stairs. Not because we were trying to outrace each other to the toilet (there were two in the house), but because we couldn’t hold ourselves up. Our knees were still not at 100% functioning.
Erich went home shortly after that and took a nap. I did the same (after I changed my candy-coated sheets). Later, we would carpe diem another day. Just no Joust, and no suckers—for a little while.