Kooky rituals you had as kids

When I was in grade school, the eleventh commandment was Thou Shalt Not Pop A Bag In The Lunchroom. That is, blow up a paper or plastic bag like a balloon, then pop it. The accepted wisdom was that someone could be startled by the noise and choke to death on their PBJ. So there was this one guy who, about twice a year, would pop a bag. I looked forward to this with relish, because when we heard POP, to a kid, everyone would stop what they were doing and go "OooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH! Except me; I would laugh myself sick. It was the dumbest rule; it was just asking to be defied, but I was really laughing at everyone’s burlesque reaction.
In the first two grades, we had an ongoing activity, something like tag, but it wasn’t a game as such. You would try to touch (poke with a fingertip. Oh get your minds out of the gutter!) a person of the opposite gender. When you succeeded, they were “corroded”, and a person of their own gender would have to use their index finger as a spray can and sanitize them.
Anyone else have stories of those things that everyone in your school, group or whatever, did?

Remember, I’m pulling for you; we’re all in this together.
—Red Green

Well, I don’t know if this counts. I hate to not post to the OP but I think this is close. If I’m off feel free to slam me all around the board!

Anyway, one of the weird things my siblings and I all fought over was who got the deally-bopper. Okay, now, when you open up a new tub of margarine or peanut butter there is this little twisted nipple thing on top. It is like the freshest piece of the product. We actually FOUGHT over who got to scoop it out. Why? Who the fuck knows. Just because.

About a month ago, when my father was here, I opened up a new jar of peanut butter so he could have some with crackers before he took his nightly meds. I made a point of scooping out the deally-bopper and licked it off the knife. He laughed and couldn’t believe that I still held on to that silly childhood thing! I laughed too but I had to snag that deally-bopper for myself. Weird, huh?


LOL, Byz! That’s exactly the kind of story I was looking for.

Remember, I’m pulling for you; we’re all in this together.
—Red Green

Oh, well, good! I got a million of em. Don’t get me started! As you know I’m a blather mouth poster. You got off with a few lines… oh, wait, let’s not get into the getting off thing!


When we were kids, anytime we drove on a bridge, my brother and I “had” to hold up the roof of the car. Not sure why that was, but we did that for a long time.

I used to play this game every fall, as soon as it started getting dark early:

  1. Turn every chair in my room upside down. (I don’t know why this was necessary, but I would never have thought of skipping it.)

  2. Close the curtains, turn out all the lights, and stuff clothes under the door so no light can creep in.

  3. Sit on one of the upside-down chairs.

  4. Think about all the scary things (witches, spirits, centipedes, et al.) that might be creeping closer and closer in the dark…

  5. Jump up and run like HELL to turn the light on!

Alas, when I was about seven I stopped being able to scare myself and the game was no longer fun.

I also had to get all my stuffed animals and act out the story of Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day every Thanksgiving before the guests came. Don’t ask me why, it was just part of the ritual.

“The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.”

  • Bill Watterson

Well, on the night of the new moon we kids’d build a fire in the middle of the woods, put on a new pot to boil (had to be one never used before), throw in a black cat. After a while we’d pass that cat’s bones through our mouths one by one till we found the one that tasted bitter…


My cats were NOT amused.

I recall being very small when the milkman (yeah, they were still around then) used to deliver the milk in glass bottles with paper stoppers at the door. Sometimes, the cream would separate out and form a thick layer in the neck of the bottle, which my Mom would give us kids as a treat. (Mostly, she shook the bottle up to mix it back in.) Back then, we actually had hard freezes in Florida where standing water would ice over. [Hmmm. Obvious proof of global warming or just a planetary cycle?] The cream might freeze and if we were lucky, we each got a spoonful as a treat. (There was only a couple of tea spoonfuls in there anyhow.)

It rarely, rarely ever freezes in Florida now and they no longer have home milk delivery.

In junior high, we all formed our own little groups and in the morning, before class, just always had to meet in the same place every day. It was also obligatory to admire a friends car, especially if he had worked on it. Unlike today, only the RICH kids had new cars while the rest of us usually had second, third or fourth hand ones. Some of them would NOT be allowed on the streets today. It was a BIG THING if a guy put on a new radio antenna, bought some new recaps, attached the old suicide knob to the wheel or managed to get his car into auto shop and rework it. Most of us rode bicycles.

You were considered kind of a woose if you did not smoke by 12th grade (except chicks of course) and a TOUGH GUY if you smoked unfiltered Marlboroughs or Pall Malls. (I smoked Dorals then. They didn’t think too much of me. I think it was that plastic filter with ‘activated charcoal’ in it.) After school, buddies would meet in places away from the FOLKS and ALWAYS produce packs of smokes and light up with glee. (Back then, one cigarette company assured the consumer that smoking their brand was ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU.)

It was obligatory upon going over to a friends house that you NEVER let him know that his room was a pig sty, even though it usually was. Plus, when hiking out into the woods, which many of us did for camping, playing army, space adventures or just exploring, one always adjusted ones speed to the slowest member and never poked fun at him for being clumsy or slow.

Lastly, among my clique, there always had to be ONE LAST overnight camp out in the woods just before school started for the year. Cigarettes all around, no booze, discussions of the very mysterious and often fantasized about creatures known as ‘girls’ were heavily discussed. Often a secretly obtained (usually from a big brother) Playboy was passed around and the pictures studied until the ink almost came off, then came the obligatory griping and complaining about school, melting a glass bottle in the fire and general conversation. A pot of really rank instant coffee had to be simmering on the embers also, to be consumed by all with much fake creamer and sugar. (Even that didn’t make it taste all that good.)

“Think of it as Evolution in action.”

Even as youngsters we were very much into preventative medicine. It was a daily ritual among the guys (or every other day if you managed to avoid a bath) to have a ‘cootie shot’ applied to one of your biceps. The ‘shot’ was a particular pattern of dots, similar to a vaccination scar, applied with an ink pen. This accomplished, you were immune to girl cooties (a highly contageous condition spread instantaneously by any physical contact) until the ink wore off. I’m not sure if the FDA ever officially approved this procedure.

Cootie shots!! Ohmigawrsh! I remember those!

Hold out your hand, palm down. I trace shapes on you with a fingertip, and chant this rhyme:

Circle circle, dot dot [trace a circle twice, and tap my finger twice in the middle]
Now you’ve got a cootie shot.
Circle circle, square square [two circles, two squares]
Now you’ve got it everywhere.
Circle circle, knife knife [two circles, two straight lines]
Now you’ve got it for your life.

We repeated this almost every day, though, so we must not have had much faith in the last part… :slight_smile:

Just a few items here[list]
[li]We also used to get milk in glass bottles with paper/cardboard stoppers. At dinner, sometimes we’d leave the milk out. As the contents of the bottle warmed, pressure would build until pop! The stopper would either fly about 3 inches off and land in someone’s salad, or just do a quiet little burp if the stopper wasn’t put on firmly. Amused the hell out of me.[/li][li]When riding in the car with my dad, he would honk at the entrance of tunnels to scare away the tunnel trolls. Until recently, I did that when I was driving all by myself. Then I got ugly looks from other drivers.[/li][li]When I ate cereal, I would coat the top layer with sugar. After I ate that layer, I’d sprinkle on more. Then, after eating the last piece, I’d drink the milk and eat the milk/sugar sludge at the bottom of the bowl.[/li]And in defiance of the old rhyme, I intentionally stepped on the cracks in sidewalks and tile floors. At school, my stride was either 1/2, 1/3, or 1/4 of the slabs’ lengths. Must be why my mom is in such pain.