Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Resurrecting The Past: The Whoopee Cushion!

Another episode in the Resurrecting The Past series...

It's amazing to think about all the little things that made being a kid fun and interesting back in the 1970s (and 60s and 50s for that matter...). One of these things was the humble Whoopee Cushion. I remember having tons of fun with these little inflatable gas bags as a Monster Kid. In fact, I believe that my nephew and even I had so much fun playing with a Whoopie Cushion on one occasion that I actually wet my pants with laughter! Yup, toilet humor is pretty base and crass, but it's also danged funny! Even as a grown up I have a very difficult time trying to stifle a laugh when I hear a fart in public.

Whoopee Cushions became a part of my past long ago. I knew they still existed, but didn't seem to find the need to actually own one or use one. At least not until very recently...

I've been trying to introduce The Little Monster to movies, TV shows and other things that I liked as a kid to see if she might find them of interest as well (like the classic candy I wrote about recently in Resurrecting The Past: Flying Saucer/Satellite Candy). Every once in a while something will suddenly re-enter my conscience that I hadn't thought about in years. A few weeks ago I brought the Little Monsters to out local mall. As usual we went to the Spencer's Gifts store while making the regular rounds of our favorite stores.

This is a great place for The Little Monster to be exposed to all kinds of old-school toys, practical jokes and novelties that were already old-school when I was growing up. She now wants a Lava Lamp for her room. She has seen a bunch of those little gags and tricks that you used to find in Joke and Smoke shops. And on this particular recent visit she pointed out something on one of the racks near the fake vomit and doggie doo. It was a Whoopee Cushion!

It seemed strange that it had never occurred to me to mention these to her before. Suddenly I had a golden opportunity to open up a whole new world of laughter for her! But it would have to wait...

The Whoopee Cushions we saw in Spencer's Gifts were those new-fangled self-inflating ones. This really is a wonderful improvement on the classic version, and a huge step forward in practical joke technology. They still look and act (or should I say sound) like the old ones, except that now you don't have to blow them up yourself. After a victim is embarrassed you can simply wait a few seconds for the cushion to reload itself and be ready for more action. Now you can save all your breath (which would otherwise be wasted on inflating the cushion) for the inevitable laughter that follows. In addition to this self-inflating version, there is even an Electronic Whoopee Cushion available nowadays. It's basically just one of those little hand-held sound generators where you push different buttons for different sounds. This one just happens to make farting sounds. The neat thing about it is that it looks like a Whoopee Cushion in shape and color o make it stand out from other fart machines.

While these advances in the world of Whoopee Cushions are impressive, I felt that it was my duty as a caring Monster Dad to make sure my Little Monsters' first experience with a Whoopee Cushion was with the classic rubber one that you had to blow up yourself. We visited the mall a few more times in the ensuing weeks and always saw those self-inflating Whoopee Cushions, but I held out. Also, The Little Monster announced at dinner one night that "That little circle-thing that makes funny sounds would be a great birthday present for Mommy!". I didn't know what she was talking about at first, because I hadn't even told her that the "little circle thing" was called a "Whoopee Cushion", but she was obviously intrigued by the idea of it.

Then, this past weekend we all went to visit Davis Farmland in Sterling, MA. It was a good time all around: seeing animals, eating ice cream and playing around in the splash park. On the way out The Wife said that The Little Monster could get one thing in the gift shop. I accompanied her to the shop while The Wife and The Tiny Creature went to the car to wait for us. That might have been a mistake!

Inside I saw this display of cool old-school jokes and toys that was geared more towards adults than kids (or at least adults who felt a sense of nostalgia for the days when they played with these things). I saw Whoopee Cushions on the right side and just HAD to get one. As a bonus, they were on sale and only cost .99 rather than $1.99! This was more of a gift for myself, so I got a few other things for The Little Monster that she was more interested in.

Today I finally broke out the wind-breaking marvel for the kids. I do have to say that they didn't really "get it" as much as I had hoped. The Tiny Creature was a bit frightened by the sound--and seemed to think it was thunder or some sort of explosion. The Little Monster seemed to be a bit more interested in the comic possibilities of the object. She is almost six now and has certainly discovered that bodily function sounds have some comic value. I think she'll have some fun with it, and that The Tiny Creature will also learn to love the Whoopee Cushion in time. I'll just have to see whether it will be worth investing in a self-inflating one or an electronic one in the future...

Just for the sake of posterity (or posteriority), here's a little video of the brand new Whoopee Cushion and the Little Monsters' reaction to it when they were introduced to it:

1 comment:

  1. You have got to be the most fun Dad ever!!! Cathy