do not insert tongue in socket


Yesterday I posted a picture of a Jart, the lawn dart game banned in 1988. Jarts are emblematic of my youth, and because they act as a metaphor for things we were no longer allowed to do, I named the Jartacular party after them – a weekend devoted to vaguely unsafe schemes and parlor games that we never had as kids.

In reality, only one child ever died from a Jart (there was one other, but that particular lawn dart had been altered) yet just mentioning the game conjures up scores of kids in tube socks with their brains splattered all over the lawn, while their parents are asleep in the chaise longue holding a vodka tonic and a spilled bottle of valium.

The CPSC even has an official International Symbol of No Lawn Darts, something I’m proud to reprint here:


I like the CPSC as much as the next weak-kneed liberal with a kid, but now they are going after another one of my (and Lucy’s) favorite toys: Buckyballs. Her bedroom map wall is covered with the little magnets, and she also uses them for games and art projects. I use them to hold up plans in my garage workshop, and to throw randomly at the refrigerator.

But because they are used by “tweens and teenagers to mimic piercings of the tongue” and thus “unintentionally inhaled and swallowed”, the CPSC is suing the company (which, I guess, is the first step towards making little round magnets illegal).


Buckyballs are sold to adults as a “14 and over” product, and those of us who have kids who stopped randomly swallowing shiny objects when they were 2 are taking a calculated risk we feel pretty good about. I know exactly what happens when magnets get into your intestines, and we never have them out when toddlers are over (and yes, we keep our floors clean).

And so I did what I usually do in these situations: I bought a shitload of Buckyballs. Just like I have many sets of mint-quality Jarts, just like this very site was a Jarts™ trading post for several years. Because while pretty much any crazy fuck can buy thousands of bullets on the internet and semi-automatic weapons at the strip mall, apparently my magnets and nostalgia are the real problems with America.

2 thoughts on “do not insert tongue in socket

  1. monheric

    Get buckyballs rebranded as shotgun reloads – presto, 2nd Amendment protection.
    Personally, I don’t like the little buggers – rare earth materials with coatings that flake off? Yuck.

  2. Anne

    Re: tongue in socket….
    That brought back a shivery-funny memory. Andrés was 8, Melinda 3, and Kevin 1.5 years old (ish). We were attending an open house at a local snooty private school to see (my vain hope) if they’d want to throw scholarship money at Andrés to add some spicy Colombian diversity to their lily-white fourth grade.
    I was standing in the gym, chatting with other parents, while our kids hung around me impatiently. Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed little quirky Kevin bent over with his face on the gym floor. Yuck!
    I reached down to get his mouth off the dirty wooden surface and then noticed that he was TRYING TO STICK HIS TONGUE INTO A FLOOR-MOUNTED ELECTRICAL SOCKET.
    The kid was practically in orbit, I snatched him up so fast.
    WHERE do children get these ideas? What made Kevin spy a socket and think his tongue should go there? Jeez.
    OK, just wanted to add my persoal Kids Are Wont to Do Dangerous Things anecdote to this entry.


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