Earlier today I was thinking about the games we played in school when we were younger. I can picture a group of kids sitting by the small yellow lockers where the 4th and 5th graders kept their books – playing pogs. It’s really no wonder the game was eventually banned from schools. Packs of kids swarming around a circle, sitting on hard carpet while they rile each other up. What was the harm? A bunch of 3rd grade gamblers? C’mon.
What I remember about the short-lived craze was just how accessible it was to find pogs in mass amounts. If you walked into a Walgreens, the bins that hold DVDs and movie theater style candy today, were once filled to the brim with small circular pieces of cardboard – and no cutesy animal, symbol, popular public figure, or cartoon was spared. You could find the most random pog there was – a green cartoon bunny holding a magical carrot and feeding it to Spice Girl would not be too far-fetched.
And then there were “slammers.” Slammers were crucial if you were collecting pogs for sport. If you played the game “for keeps” and traded pogs with your friends however intensely you handled it, the type of slammer you had was key. I, unfortunately, had the crappiest slammers in the world. I’m not even sure if they were made out of real metal or just painted silver to make me think they were. But they did NOT slam well. A joke. I knew kids who had slammers that sent pogs flying into oblivion. Perhaps this explains why I ended up with so few pogs at the end of my run. I knew this one kid who lived in my neighborhood and kept all of his pogs in neon green and blue pog containers. He had hundreds. It wasn’t fair.
It’s kind of humorous to think about all of the pitiful side games that followed after pogs were banned. “Pencils.” Who had that bright idea? I guess they figured the school couldn’t ban pencils, now could they? Boys would break off their fingers to play that game in the aisles of their seats, and I never, ever understood the point to it. I suppose if pogs were to for whatever awful reason make a comeback, I think I speak for a generation when I say there’s one very necessary accessory that would have to come back with it….
Slap bracelets. I can see Michael Ian Black having a few words about that. (because he actually…does…have words on that.)