Thursday, November 14, 2013

Necessity is the Mother of All Invention: The Neighborhood Kids Find Toys (Part 2)

About a week or so ago I wrote about the kids in my neighborhood with whom I was engaged in a slight power struggle. Since the last episode, the kids have managed to find other ways of entertaining themselves without placing my property (or my sanity) in harm’s way. But after confiscating their former play toy (a metal pole which they ripped off the side of my house) I thought I would be typecast into the role of evil villain and instill fear in their hearts every time I emerged from my secret lair. This reputation seemed to last… about five minutes. I guess that’s the thing about kids, they have short memories and don’t really hold grudges.

Yesterday on my way home from work as I was entering my housing complex a friend was on her way out. She and I stopped and chatted in the middle of the parking lot briefly. As we were talking we could hear the neighborhood kids shouting and running around. Then it became quiet, for a second, then there was a lot of commotion, followed by more shouting and repetitive banging. We turned around to find the kids had pulled the garbage cans out of the storage areas and into the parking lot. Apparently they had found sticks and were using them to play the drums on the sides of the cans. That certainly explains why our garbage cans are in such poor shape.

Brenda and I just shook our heads and continued our conversation. The next thing we knew the kids were beside us, pointing sticks in our faces with fish heads perched on top:

I have no idea what type of fish these were, but as you can see they have some giant teeth. And, the kids are pretty proud of their teeth too:

As the Greek Philosopher Plato said, “necessity is the mother of all invention.” I have always understood that statement, but I’ve never seen it quite so prevalent as it is here. The kids don’t have toys, so they play with the trash. We don’t have tape, so we use gum to hang things on the walls. The grocery store where I shop has four cash registers, but only one credit card machine. Each time a customer wants to use a credit card the cashiers and patrons work together to pass the machine from one check-out stand to the next. Apparently, the grocery store only has one pen as well, so the same ritual is used so that the receipt can be signed. My big house is currently in the midst of a clothesline construction project; he can’t hang his clothes outside to dry as the goats try to eat them. Third World problems, I know. But sometimes it makes me a little sad that a continent with so many natural resources has to exist in such a frugal state, particularly when I see kids playing with trash.

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