Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ugga Bugga Men

"Ugga Bugga Men"

It was June of 1964. Summer had just spread its wings breaking loose from another rainy spring. School was out and the threat of atomic war had just sailed by in the Cuban waters near Florida. I was seven, and starting my life in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I had a few years in the investment of childhood so I understood maybe a little more than I should. Certain things still perplexed me though, like if G I Joe was so anatomically correct were the hell was his penis? But that never really bothered me because I had already seen a naked girl in one of my fathers playboy magazines and noticed Barbie was missing a few things herself.
The neighborhood was relatively fresh, A few new homes were popping up here and there. Ours was a modest 3 bedroom on the corner. To the left was My Grandparents home and to the right was my aunt Connie and Uncle Bills house. It was kind of like a suburban Ponderosa. Instead of Hoss we had Lefty. He was a big guy with muscles bulging from his neck and was also my Uncle/God Father who lived with My Grandparents. No matter what we did, if it was wrong we got caught.
Now growing up in the 60's had to have been one of the best times in this century to be a kid. The neighborhoods were very safe. You could walk or ride your bicycle to any nearby park without some pervert chasing you down. The Doctors were handing out Valium and Seconal like candy so most of the Step-ford moms were heavily sedated. So for us kids the opportunities were limitless. I was an artistic type, you know, the ones that get picked last on the line up to play basketball. So in a desperate attempt not be be alone for the rest of my childhood I needed to get creative. Hence...Ugga Bugga Men.
Ugga Bugga Men was a highly skillful game of espionage and war. It took a cunning mind, Olympic like sportsmanship and the ability to handle a wiffel ball bat like Yogi Barra hitting his career home run. As most sports there were two sides, the younger team, Ugga Bugga Men, and the older guys, The Runners. The object, if there was one, is for the runners to get from one base to another without being confronted by an Ugga Bugga Man. Personally I think being an Ugga Bugga man was an advantage. We carried the waffle ball bats like cave men carried clubs, and we used them in the same manner. As long as the runners were not on base we could club the shit out of them and we took our jobs very seriously. We went one step further and dipped our bats in fresh dog poop so when we smacked the runners it not only stung it stunk. OK, so we had too much time on our hands, but isn't that what being a kid is all about?