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Whittling Away: Rubber chickens, whoopee cushions never go out of style

June 11, 2018 11:27 am Updated: June 11, 2018 11:52 am


Long ago, when both the Earth and I were young, simple things entertained, amused and occupied me.

The Earth and I are now much more aged, wrinkled and a little weary and yet, surprisingly, I find many of the amusements of my youth still bring a smile to my face and heart.

Sure, some of them have lost their appeal. I no longer eat dirt or mine for nasal treasures as I used to do, but many of the old favorites are still there. I don’t think I’m alone, either, or they wouldn’t have survived into this era of beeping, buzzing electronic things.

The whoopee cushion still can be found. Just the sight of this flattened relative of the balloon makes me giggle and my pulse race. The possibilities for placement are endless and lead to all kinds of creative thinking.

The sound of a sneak attack brought about by a well-hidden whoopee cushion will remain with you forever. A loud, fluttering, juicy, body-function-kind of noise that still makes grown men giggle like little girls. Long may it wave!

Another of my old friends is the rubber chicken. I’m reasonably intelligent, in spite of what people say, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why a poor facsimile of a naked bird, badly cast of rubber is funny, but it is!

We recently spent the day in Woodstock. My Queen sought treasures of clothing and jewelry, my one purchase for the day — a rubber chicken that now proudly roosts above the rear view mirror in my car. It bobs and waves its scrawny neck as we travel down the highway.

It makes me smile and gives me someone to talk to. I feel good and try to ignore the look on the trucker’s face who’s tailgating me and wishing he had one, too.

I’m trying to track down one of those wind-up buzzers you used to scare the beejeepers out of your friends with when you shook hands with them. It really was their own fault, though — I mean, what 10-year-old wants to shake hands with a friend when he greets him?

They should have suspected something, but they never did.

I’ll bet the store in Woodstock has one. The lady who ran the store was really nice with a big smile on her face; she even sold penny candy and most of it cost less than a dollar. Talk about a shrine in the wilderness!

I still have my can of nuts in the garage — you know the one — you pull the lid off and out pops a snake, an artistically constructed horror of coiled wire and thin paper calculated to leave your little sister speechless for at least an hour.

I stored it carefully and will bring it out again soon. You can over-do these things and their effectiveness wears off.

Over the years I have collected a rather large and useful treasure trove of replica reptiles, rodents and large insects. The Queen still gets a thrill out of an artistically placed rubber rat or a vibrantly colored snake. A plastic tarantula, a piece of string and a stick can still keep me amused for hours and keep things from becoming dull or boring.

The fly in the plastic ice cube, the ever-popular puddle of artificial regurgitation and the classic pile of plastic doggie do are not that hard to obtain and are probably the collectibles of the future. I know I stockpile them whenever I can.

All of these objects of joy and laughter are out there and can still be found. They will be around for many more centuries, I’m sure the cavemen had some version of most of them and the children of today will learn about them and teach their children about them.

Sitting with a video game has none of the thrill of a whoopee cushion. These things will live forever.

Thought for the week — How come we choose from just two people to run for president and from 50 to run for Miss America?

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach Dick Brooks at