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Wacky stuff you did as a kid; and what might you be up to were you born this past decade….

  • 11-09-2021 5:29pm
    Registered Users Posts: 412 ✭✭

    I did so many crazy things as a kid I don’t know where to start. Now I have to put my childhood in context because it was in the 60s, before internet, smartphones etc. God only knows what I would have been like born into the modern era. My poor parents would never have been able to keep up with my online activity, yet I had a certain canniness that largely kept me safe.

    As a very young kid I was fond of sneakily using the house telephone (we had two as my parents ran businesses from home) to call random numbers. The magic of hearing a voice that started to talk to you!

    This was dial phone, not push button, and I knew I had to dial 5 digits to potentially get through to someone. The first one to answer was a croaky old bat of a woman who sounded like Daffy Duck and she very cross with me. It went like this…

    “Are you a quack quack?” “Am I a what?” “Are you a quack quack, cos you sound like a quack quack?”

    My mother intervened and she got an earful from her and was vexed her 3 year old child got such a reception, so she told the woman “and yes you do sound like a duck if I may say so myself”.

    Next call was answered by a friendly man, whom I invited over to a cup of tea, only to realise I hadn’t given our address at the end of the call after he promised to accept the invite. A couple of years later I took to singing or playing the recorder into the phone, which must have been extremely irritating to the unwary recipient. Would try and pretend to be a disembodied automated voice and say : “ here is the music you requested”. A rendition of the Volga Boatman became a favourite as I would try to do that without breaking into laughter.

    Born into the past decade I can only imagine my parents would have had a very busy time trying to change passwords on the family computer and hopelessly trying to keep devices hidden.



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I called the Drifter hotline, a premium number! It was yer man from the Drifter ad reading down the weeks Top 40 hits. 😂

  • Registered Users Posts: 412 ✭✭ghoulfinger

    Are chemistry sets still sold for children or has H&S intervened? As soon as I learned about the Periodic Table I requested a chemistry set for Christmas and was delighted to open the package on Christmas morning. I was a year and a half younger than most of my class mates, and definitely maturity had not matched IQ. When aged 4 my uncle had died of prostate cancer, I had seen him in final days and had questioned was there any treatment afforded and what was it. My beleaguered mother had answered “cobalt was tried”, and the word osmotically be and part of my young inner lexicon, though not in my day-to-day vocabulary. Cobalt was in my chemistry set.

    About that Christmas my grandmother was terminally ill with breast cancer, but with a positive outlook had a bit of living to do yet. I had the solution…. literally. As we walked from car to the hospital my Dad asked me “what’s that bottle of purple stuff sticking out of your pocket?” “It’s cobalt to try help Nana!” I explained. Now my father didn’t actually say “do you want to kill her here and now!” But he confiscated the liquid, informing me it was not medicine, but poison, and that only a doctor can prescribe the former.

  • Registered Users Posts: 412 ✭✭ghoulfinger

    I think were I that 10/11 year old today I would have been anxiously searching online for “cures”. The cobalt was relatively harmless in that my grandmother would have instinctively refused it, my father was always watchful and ready to intervene, and I wouldn’t try the poison on myself as I only trusted it on someone already with nothing to lose!

    Post edited by ghoulfinger on

  • Registered Users, Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 7,273 Mod ✭✭✭✭yerwanthere123

    As a young child (like 3 or 4) I was absolutely fascinated by the washing machine. I can actually still remember sitting down to watch entire cycles from start to finish. Sometimes I'd beg my parents to put down an empty wash, or perhaps with one of my teddies, just so I could see all that watery/soap goodness without clothes getting in the way. Now I was born in 1991 so washing machines were from the outset of my life, they weren't some brand new revolutionary technology, so god knows why I found them so fascinating. What the hell was wrong with me 🙈

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,186 ✭✭✭Andrewf20

    Back garden hoping in the 1980s.

    Playing in abandoned stolen cars in the nearby river.

    I didnt do myself but saw other kids eating the used chewing gum flattened on the ground.

    Good times.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,599 ✭✭✭Day Lewin

    Yes, peeling the blobs of chewing gum off the pavement and eating them - I did that - never got sick, either.

    Also, daring each other to walk up the school hall steps on the OUTSIDE, so risking a fall into the patch of vicious nettles growing underneath.

    And then running down a long bouncy plank that led into the basement. We actually did this.

    If these things happened nowadays - the whole school and parish and scouts admin would probably be clapped in jail. As things were, twas all a bit hair-raising but we got very confident at these tricks and came to no harm.

  • Registered Users Posts: 412 ✭✭ghoulfinger

    Absolutely normal I would say. The beauty of soap and water in its transformation is something to behold. Fluid dynamics are entirely educational 😂

  • Registered Users Posts: 412 ✭✭ghoulfinger

    The last bit of your post is making me duly nauseous.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,228 ✭✭✭The Mighty Quinn

    Jumped out of trees and off high walls with a plastic bag 'parachute', that somehow never ended in any damage. Smaller, lighter, more flexible I suppose!

  • Registered Users Posts: 412 ✭✭ghoulfinger

    Having read Dennis the Menace, my hero, in the Beezer, I took the idea to descend from rear bedroom (my father’s office) by umbrella parachute into garden but was thankfully stopped by my father.

    Post edited by ghoulfinger on

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,386 ✭✭✭olestoepoke

    Born in the early 70s.Spent a week in Temple street with a serious case of tapeworm, most probably from eating chewing gum off the ground as people mentioned previously. Scutting on busses in the rain or sleet, I'd have a heart attack if I seen my 10 year old son hanging onto the back of a bus or truck like that. Climbing just about anything that was climbable. Ended up in Temple street on another occasion with concussion from the rope swings around the concrete street lights, I was knocked out for several minutes and woke up just before the ambulance arrived.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,373 ✭✭✭Riddle101

    Sometimes I used to sneak into the school during lunch breaks when everyone was outside in the yard and run around the school messing around. It was kind've like a game for me. I'd run around the school trying to avoid detection from a teacher who might be patrolling around and escape out another door.

    Born in the past decade, I don't know if the schools are any different today. Perhaps they might have cameras or something which would make it harder to run around the corridors.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,184 ✭✭✭riclad

    Playing conkers in the autumn, making go carts out of planks of wood and 4 wheels steered with rope attached to the 2 front wheels

    I don't know if

    Kids play outside much now since they have all have phones and game consoles

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,437 ✭✭✭Sgt Hartman

    I remember the go karts with the pram wheels steered with a rope. We also used to race around on stolen shopping trolleys and we would crash the trolleys into the lamp posts on the road knocking the lights out. I fell out of the trolleys a few times, whacking my head on the concrete on the road.

    Also there were trenches in the fields across from our block. We would regularly climb and jump the trenches, and we would catch stickleback fish and frog spawn in the local stream. We would sometimes fall into the stream and get a bollocking from our parents afterwards.

    The most dangerous thing I saw was kids getting "clingers" at the backs of buses and trucks. I'm surprised nobody was killed or seriously injured. If it happened now and a kid got injured I'd say Bus Eireann would be sued.

    In the local swimming pool I remember almost drowning when I couldn't get out from under a large float. I'm not sure those big floats are allowed anymore in swimming pools. And forget towel snapping, swimming hat snapping was much more painful, especially with those awful cheap rubber swimming hats, and would leave a nasty red mark on yer ass. I think Ireland is the only county where swimming hats seem to be mandatory in pools.

    And lastly, back when I was a kid there were a lot of loose dogs on the street. We would often goad them into chasing us and we would regularly get bitten. Luckily none of us got tetanus.

    Post edited by Sgt Hartman on

  • Registered Users Posts: 412 ✭✭ghoulfinger

    There’s probably a virtual conkers app…. I’lll just check the App Store 😂

  • Registered Users Posts: 412 ✭✭ghoulfinger

    Yeah, “stray” dogs were much more a feature of Dublin streets. And I remember the kids clinging onto the backs of lorries… and cars.

  • Registered Users Posts: 412 ✭✭ghoulfinger

    As a young kid I loved to get myself a bit of attention in the various Dublin stores whilst my mother was trying to shop. A favourite tactic to get my name called out on the tannoy was to pretend I was lost. In a flash I would disappear from my mother’s side and find a shop assistant at the far side of the store and tell them “I’m lost”. That ensured I heard my name called out, and that my mother would arrive on the scene red-faced. Clerys, Arnotts, Roches Stores, Switzers, Brown Thomas; my name was announced in every one of them.

    i just loved shops for the opportunity and potential they had to interact with adults and confuse them. A favourite trick of mine, and one my mother enjoyed witnessing from a small distance, was to go up to strangers and talk to them in a fake foreign languages. I had some voice skills that would have better served on a stage, but again trying to convince strangers that I couldn’t understand English and was trying to summons assistance became a favourite thing to try on. My mother later told me I was most convincing in my intonations and complex pronunciations, leading folk to try out bits of Irish, French, Italian or whatever phrase book language they could recall. People didn’t travel abroad much in the 60s, so people’s knowledge of foreign languages was limited to stock phrases. Of course I couldn’t pretend necessarily to be lost, as that would have needed to have recognised any English spoken to me. My mother always insisted my acting skills were inherited from my father’s mother, but she was none too pleased to be told that!

    Post edited by ghoulfinger on

  • Registered Users Posts: 412 ✭✭ghoulfinger

    The church was another place of opportunity for mischief, and no better place than the forbidding aura of the RC church in the 1960s. As a very young child I would run onto the altar and disrupt the priest, would “give holy communion” with my toy petrol pump into the shoulders of pashioners to the words of “Corpus Christi”. The wise parish priest said to my mother that I was a “spirited” child and that it was better I was participating in my own way with the Mass rather than being totally dissociated with it.

    Later I recruited a friend with a particularly good singing voice into church activities. There was an elderly professional opera singer who was a regular attendant at Sunday Mass, her voice very loud but had sung in better days. We (well I was the ring-leader) decided to try and out-loud her during hymns, not that we knew all the words. We might make those up along the way. The thing we had to compete with was the tremelo in her voice, so we threw that on with a trowel. The trick was not to start in full volume in parallel with her, but to ramp it up at the right moments. There were many glares from neighbouring Mass-goers, although some of them smiled and winked at us. We would often attend church separately to our parents, they being only too happy to know we we going at all, never mind the shenanigans we might get up to.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,402 ✭✭✭McGinniesta

    I used to whack off to skinny mags.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,427 ✭✭✭Pauliedragon

    We used to pile hay under trees and jump into them daring each other to climb higher and higher. One very windy day a guy who wasn't the brightest climbs up the tree and the lads tell him to jump to the left of the hay and the wind will blow him into the it. Bang, head 1st into the ground. I'll never understand how he didn't break his kneck. I was about 10 tho so it probably wasn't as high as I'm remembering.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 412 ✭✭ghoulfinger

    The jelly bones of youth were on the side of his luck!

  • Registered Users Posts: 412 ✭✭ghoulfinger

    The theme of shops played large in my growing-up, was fascinated by them. Nowadays I would have been engaging in online sales of all sorts of my parents’ belongings. In the 60s I decided to turn the front windows (today it would have been Windows with a W instead) into a shop front. One time I put the family silver on display with price tags, much to my father’s horror. Another time I put my mother’s clothes on display in the front main bedroom window, with prices marked as well as big red on white SALE ON HERE! notices. My mother came to know only when a ding dong came on the door with a neighbour enquiring as to what was going on! 😂

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,745 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    Crank calls... a neighbor was a difficult old cünt and when my Dad was out at 7.30am to get into work for 8am she’d be moaning to my mother that he’d be banging doors and revving the car engine, it was a semi detached house, the front door was behind a sliding porch door ... and he was ultra quiet... she complained about us playing football on the road at 9pm on a summers evening..”playing football on a road is illegal and there is a park just over there”.... her daughters whether on purpose or not, I’m guessing on purpose used to park occasionally partially blocking access to our driveway, just a foot over my dad has to leave the car on the road and have us all bring in the shopping in by hand..

    i found her phone number in the book after one very unsavory , ignorant and aggressive standoff with my Dad about the parking, for nights plagued the cûnt with calls around midnight, she was always early to bed and an early riser kind of person... but fûck her...a few months later I made her cry for telling her that her husband must have died of embarrassment... either way, the bad parking stopped, she refused to talk or acknowledge any of us, no more complaints,

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,791 ✭✭✭BionicRasher

    Climbing up the local water tower and seeing how far our homemade wooden planes would fly

    Attaching a rope and a plastic fish box to the back of the coal truck towbar and getting a crazy tow up and down the local avenues and side streets

    Making ice slide tracks on the footpath in winter

    Probably the craziest of all was a go-kart on pram wheels with a 45 gallon drum sitting on its side on top of a couple of planks of wood. We used a tin opener and pliers to open a A4 size hole in the side to stick our head out. The local race track was a hill about 500 m long with a hairpin half way down. Not as many cars in those days but we still needed spotters. I think we probably would have been hitting 30 MPH. Thankfully it never turned over so we must have built it well

    my kids were born in the last decade and they just watch YouTube so I would imagine I would have done the same. Pretty boring

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,184 ✭✭✭riclad

    I don't think kids build anything these days, they have games on phones, free fortnite on consoles. The closest thing they get to building something is collecting wood scraps for bonfires at halloween

  • Registered Users Posts: 412 ✭✭ghoulfinger

    As a kid I built tons of stuff. Cardboard boxes got converted into castles, mansions, train stations, vehicles, streetscapes. I and a friend had this dream of creating a glider which we reckoned we might convince one of our fathers to tow aloft with us on board.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,368 ✭✭✭JimmyVik

    The amount of young people I know now who have never been stung by a nettle or a bee even into their 20s and 30s.

    When I was a kid all of us got stung by multiple bees and hundreds of nettles every year.

  • Registered Users Posts: 412 ✭✭ghoulfinger

    Absolutely. Had a bee in my belly button home once.

  • Registered Users Posts: 412 ✭✭ghoulfinger

    Our garage and friend’s garage turned into an “operating theatre”, reminding me exactly of an operating theatre I had been carried into my an anaesthetist when I was four. Thought it was cool at the time, and fully understood I was to be put asleep and they would set to work on me. Not a bother on me, just another adventure in life, would go off with any adult and fortunately never came to harm.

    So I thought the garages perfectly simulated the operating room. Each had a table, there were saws, a hammer for anaesthesia, and all sorts of tools, oil and brake fluid to simulate drips and transfusions. The difficulty arose when I tried to get my friend to take up the horizontal position on the table to undergo surgery.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,368 ✭✭✭JimmyVik

    Good think you didnt think you were a magician then :)

    Table - Saws - ouch