Ikea Ball Pit

Like so many, when I was a kid I really, really loved the ball room at Ikea. It was a special, magical world; so tactile, lurid, and fuckin fun!

I believe I was four years old the last time I went into one. It was a formative experience for me.

Now, the time before my last was special too. It was during this visit that I finally worked up the courage to go face-first down the slide into the ball pit. I’d been watching other kids do it for a while and really wanted to myself. But I lacked the guts. It was not until the very end of this visit, with my dad hollering at me from the parents’ area to, “come on!” that I finally did it.

I went down head-first into all those marvelous plastic balls and it was everything I had dreamed. Then my dad poked his head through into the ball room to yell at me directly and I really had to go.

I became completely obsessed about getting back to that ball pit to do the slide again. I could not stop thinking about it, and would not stop pestering my father to take me back. After about a week of this, he obliged me.

Everything about that visit is etched so clearly in my memory. Rushing in the entrance. Seeing all those balls through the play room window. The glorious slide standing so majestic above it all. Me struggling to take my shoes off as quickly as possible. And, finally, climbing to the top of that slide, getting down on my belly, and going face-first down into the beautiful colors.

All exactly like I had been imagining.

Except, it wasn’t just like I had imagined. These balls were wet. All wet. And the wetness is on my hands. And face, And some is in my mouth. It was at this point that I realized the wetness was piss. Some kid had pissed in the ball pit at Ikea, and not just a little bit.

And I had just slid face first into it.

Joy turned into claustrophobic, disgusted horror inside of a second. I remember my visceral reaction so well: the rage that something so pure and so fun should be ruined so completely by someone else’s ignorance.

But I realize now that I was looking at it all wrong back then. This experience was really a chance to get a head start on understanding how our world is. I should have been thankful! Thank you so much, fellow humans! Thank you for preparing me so well for life, in such a succinct, easily understood physical metaphor.

Oh boy, little me! I bet you can’t wait to go to school! It’s going to be so much fun! (Face first slide down into a pit of piss.)

Hey, a girl actually likes me! I get to have a girlfriend now! (Face first slide down into a pit of piss.)

At last, I’m going to university, where I can interact with intelligent and motivated people and be judged for the quality of my ideas instead of people’s fucked up preconceptions! (Face first slide down into a pit of piss.)

Hey, I’m getting engaged!

…well, you know the drill.

 

Recorder

One of my favorite memories from childhood concerns recorder class in grade five. Of course, I really hated recorder lessons. Shrill noises bother me, and every kid knows the recorder is a bullshit instrument. There are no recorder bands, recorders in the orchestra, or recorder player superstars. This is one of those, “hey kids! This is gonna be so much fun!” attempts at hoodwinking children into believing some half-assed educational scheme is a quality experience.

There we were, toot-tooting our way through Mary Had a Little Lamb, or some other horseshit, reject song, for a teacher who was probably questioning some or all of her life choices at that point. Then, we came to the recorder cleaning at the end of the lesson; where you plug the whistle orifice on the noise phallus and blow your spit out of its arse.

This gave me a clever idea.

The next time we had our recorder lesson, I quietly spent the whole time spitting into my recorder. I would spit, pretend to be playing while I worked up another gob, and then spit again. For the whole twenty minutes. The recorder took it all like a champ; it’s very impressive how much spit one of those things can hold. Near the end, some spit started dribbling out of the end, like pre-cum on a strident cock; a harbinger of the joyful, messy explosion to come.

Then it was time for the recorder cleaning finish to the lesson. It was everything I could have dreamed of and more.

Now, of course, for the cleaning procedure, you hold the recorder upside down, so you can jamb your thumb up its whistle orifice. I was expecting all the spit to just shoot out of the arsehole in a money shot extravaganza, but what happened was even better. As I blew, long, goopy strands of sputum started oozing out of the finger holes all down the recorder’s length. They just kept growing and growing and growing, stretching longer and longer. Then, the bubbles started out of the recorder’s arse. It was at this point that some girl noticed what was happening and began shrieking. Total pandemonium ensued.

Teacher started yelling, and I was cleaving with a white knuckle grip to the whole, “I dunno what happened, I was just playing the song.” Meanwhile there’s a growing puddle of spit on the floor between my feet. Of course, I had to clean everything up, but it was totally worth it.

If there was ever any question of my punk rock status in that crew, it was forever laid to rest on that day.

A few days later, Teacher informed me that if I really did not want to take part in the “music lesson,” I could sit in the back of the class and draw my pictures, so long as I did not disturb the other students.

I don’t think I’ve had a sweeter victory since.