My wife and I were shopping for Christmas presents for our kids when we came across the only completely vacant shelf in an otherwise well stocked store. The empty space was for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) toys, and they were completely wiped out! I knew the Ninja Turtles were making a comeback with a brand new cartoon series, but I had no idea that they had already become so popular. Turtle power is back!
The TMNT toy line was the only franchise for which I absolutely had to have every single action figure that was available. Yes, I fully admit, l still played with them when I think other kids my age had probably moved on to bigger and better things, however, I played Ninja Turtles like a boss!
I put my toys through the mill doing all sorts of nutty things with them, but there was one brilliant moment in particular that stands out. I had discovered that if I jammed a yardstick into the hinge behind the lid of our old top-loading washer, it tripped the switch that allowed the washer to run with the lid wide open. From that point on, my turtle antics were launched into epic new territory. Mikey, Donny, Leo, and Raph now had an interactive setting for their adventures. One day they would be trapped by Shredder in a liquid deathtrap seething with bubbly toxic foam (green food coloring and Tide), and the next day they would do battle with the foot clan while surfing the raging white water rapids. Of course, being amphibious, the boys in green always had the advantage.
When the normal wash cycles got monotonous, I could up the ante by manipulating the washer dial to create instant waterfalls and other special effects. The scene would inevitably crescendo to a dramatic finish as I deviously rotated the dial to spin cycle, upon which the green gang would be introduced to the swirling vortex of death!
Obviously, for safety reasons, it’s for the best that my son can’t use our own energy-efficient, side loading washer, complete with child locks, to play like I did in our old family washer. But I do hope he has the same creative spirit as I did at that age, before the lure of digital toys, when you had no choice but to be imaginative in play.
On the way out of the toy store, my wife asked me, ” What makes you think our son will even like Ninja Turtles?” And to that, I say, show me a boy (or Dad) who doesn’t! Cowabunga, dude!