Friday, June 16, 2006


The other day I saw a big bunch of balloons and the sight took me back to thinking about one of my first big disappointments. I don't think it altered my life or created a harmful flaw in my personality, but I must admit to a lifetime of ambivalent feelings about balloons. (Now this HAS to be a serious blog, doesn't it?)

Seventy five years ago children didn't have their desires crafted by TV commercials. A vivid imagination sparked by friends' experiences or a momentary glimpse of something new was all it needed to picture future joys.

Each year, sometime before Christmas, my mother would take me along as she shopped for presents for relatives, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. It was on one of these trips to a department store that I saw the thing I wanted above any thing else. It grew in my mind. I told my parents I just had to have it. I wanted it above and to the exclusion of anything else. I was a total pest and spoiled brat about it. Finally, a deal was reached. If I got my wish, I could have nothing else for Christmas.

I agreed to this in the belief that if I had a kit with which I could make balloons, I would be the hit of the community. I could sell my balloons for classmates' parties and get rich, too. I would make the biggest, best, most colorful balloons that the town had ever seen. I would be more popular than the Good Humorman!

My ballon kit was under the tree Christmas morning. By afternoon I was in production. The burned hand I got from the hot latex was hardly an impediment. But then reality set in. By the next day I realized my balloons were disappointing small - about the size of a little orange. I couldn't seem to blow them up. The skin seemed too thick to expand and tended to have thin spots that broke when an attempt was made to blow them up. As I labored to learn the art of successful balloon manufacture, I quickly ran out of raw materials. When no one volunteered to finance further experimentation, I slunk off to school at the end of the holiday vacation knowing I had made a very bad deal and hoping no one from school would remember my premature bragging before the holiday.

I no longer wonder why I have this urge to take out my pen knife and pop every balloon I see. I've lived all these years as an anti-balloon man. The shame of it!


Archana said...

LOL :-D - sorry, I find that funny :-)! But poor you, not liking balloons.

I like balloons a lot - even now! Something about air bouncing a balloon takes me right back to childhood!

Keith Povall said...

It could have been worse... It could have been a condom making kit. Just think of how popular you might have been with all those imperfections built in to the finished product. Moral of your story. Leave it to the professionals. Keith