Beyond Babedom

We're (way) over 40. Deal with it.

Pick Up the Damn Ball

Walking my dog in the morning I often pass interesting items on the street, in addition to the piles of sh_t: fast food wrappers, beer cans, cigarettes, even  an occasionally sock (where is the other one???). And, sometimes, balls. Tennis balls, ping pong balls, baseballs. And then I see those balls the next day. And the next. And the next. And I wonder: did a stray ball ever sit at the curb more than a few hours when were kids?

Why do these toys that virtually every kid has played with at one time or another sit – untouched – day after day after day? There are only two reasons I could come up with: one, no kid ever walks these streets. It’s possible, I guess, with the apparent inability of any kid to actually walk anywhere vs. being chauffeured by Mom.

But I think the more likely answer is a bit more troubling, maybe even a little sinister. I think those balls – something which in our day (or in probably any other country) would have been considered a real find, a happy surprise, even a day-making event – are, to today’s kids simply junk. Garbage.

Who wants an old ball? When Mom and Dad will buy you a new one? They don’t have to wait for their birthday or Christmas for a new toy. They get them weekly. Maybe even daily. Hell, now they don’t just get candy at Easter. They have to get toys, too. They’re used to getting more things so these things very quickly lose value. A ball on the street is worth nothing. Less than nothing. It’s now a true throw away world where kids don’t spend time searching for a lost toy (remember: some kid lost that ball) because it’s expendable. They know they’ll get a new one.

Just like Mom and Dad will get a new TV or car or house if there’s a bigger one available. We have become so focused on getting things because we just know they’ll make us happier. But they don’t. No matter how many things  we have, they don’t guarantee happiness.

Hey, I’m not saying I’m above this temptation. I walked into Marshall’s the other day and kept thinking about all the things I’d like to buy if I wasn’t currently trying to be frugal. And they weren’t things I really needed. But I still really, really thought about buying them.

I’m not a proponent of living in a 500 square foot house or being a strict minimalist. But can you ever watch those Black Friday fights over things and not wonder why?

PS: none of this applies to shoes  you can never have too many shoes

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 6th, 2017 at 10:10 AM and is filed under Social Issues. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. David Alexander says:

    I don’t see a lot of balls on the streets of our neighborhood. We’ve got a group of kids who actually play outside regularly, and it warms my heart! This certainly is a disposable world we live in, but I’m betting a lot of those balls you see are a long way from where they probably started.

  2. Balls, nothing! A friend of mine, who lives in a more “affluent” neighborhood found soccer balls, basketballs, and even ball gloves in his front yard or curbside. And this is someone without kids in his household… And most of these items went unclaimed.

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