Poverty breeds careful planning and worn-out rubber

In the midst of my recent obsession over an adult-sized Big Wheel, it occurred to me that when I was a kid, I desperately wanted the Snoopy Sno Cone Maker.


What kid wouldn’t want to make snow cones on demand?

But as a child growing up under very modest circumstances, I also knew that the Snoopy Sno Cone Maker came with a limited supply of flavoring, and when that flavoring was exhausted, there was no way in hell that my parents would be rushing out to the store to purchase more.  So although I yearned for the Snoopy Sno Cone Maker, I never added it to my birthday or Christmas lists.

That’s one of the realities of children who live in households with very limited incomes. The smart ones learn to request gifts that last and make due with worn out or broken toys longer than they sometimes should.  I owned just one basketball for most of my childhood, and by the time I managed to purchase a new ball at the age of sixteen, the old one was a round, smooth sphere that only I was capable of dribbling with any effectiveness.

Though it looked pathetic on the courts and was the source of teasing from my fellow players, it made me one hell of a ball handler.