January 8, 2004

I was chatting last night with this man, and we were discussing the apparently universal childhood sandbox game.

In case it’s less universal than I think it is, I’ll explain that the game goes something like this: one kid comes up to another and says, “I won the sandbox.” Kid #2, treating the verb in that sentence as its homonym from the world of cardinal numbers, says “I two the sandbox.” Kid #1 says “I three the sandbox.” This continues until Kid #2 is forced to say “I eight the sandbox,” and Kid #1 and all the spectators laugh hysterically at Kid #2 for being stupid enough to have eaten a sandbox.

As I approach senescence (my 31st birthday is in less than a week), the question sticks in my mind: why did we stand for this?

Why, when some little prepubescent putz came up to us and said that he’d won the sandbox, did we miserably play along, knowing from the beginning that we would be, in short order, an object of mockery and derision for everybody in the playground? Why didn’t we just tell him to fuck off?

I’m beginning to think that being a grown-up means understanding that “Because you have to” isn’t sufficient justification for doing anything.

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12 Responses to I was chatting last night

  1. PatCH says:

    I won the sandbox…

  2. FLygaal says:

    I two the sandbox

  3. sam says:

    Especially paying taxes.

  4. Adam875 says:

    You had mean friends. This explains much. We played this game too, but it wasn’t mean. I for one thought it was hysterically funny to have eaten the sandbox! And we’d laugh and laugh and laugh….

  5. tim says:

    I would never play in a sandbox. As I child, I played in mud.

  6. Sin says:

    I grew up in the deserts of Pakistan. I don’t think we had anything BUT sand to play with.

  7. Person 1: Hey, have you seen a henway around here?

    Person 2: What’s a henway?

    Person 3: Oh, about five pounds.


  8. Crash says:

    I remember the sandbox thing as a routine on Sesame Street. It was Bert and Ernie.

  9. Dr.P says:

    It can be a justification, but its just not accepted as a justifiable response.

  10. Annie says:

    Good thing that the German language doesn’t offer that much leeway for puns. Otherwise my childhood would have been much more complicated than it already has been.

  11. Convivia says:

    I swear to God that the first time anyone tried this on me, I said “Why would anyone want to win a sandbox?”

  12. Jackyspatula says:

    Round these parts it was played as “A dead skunk! I won it!”.
    I mean… sandboxes? Really.


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