This weekend I went to Medieval Madness in Old Town, Alexandria, which is at its most basic a medieval themed dinner theater with plenty of food (ravioli and apple turn overs galore), mostly good people, and some knightly martial arts. The theme for this Saturday’s show was a witch hunt. Having celebrated Witch Hysteria Day just a few days prior, I was even happier that I had put myself through the witch trials already as those still suspected of being one were threatened to be killed. I definitely felt like at that moment my life had come full circle.
Now for the real reason you are here today… Who knew a company named Bergen Toy and Novelty Company could know us all so well? Bergen took the already existing idea of the metal painted army men and put them in a more user-friendly, cost effective way- the plastic army man. Sure, today’s national holiday is technically “Toy Soldier Day,” but to me that means just one type of toy soldier, the plastic army men.
I am about to get on my soap box for a minute. Please hang with me. When I was a kid, we had video games and television but we were still required to find creative ways to play. Today our kids do not know what it means to find joy in a simple stick they found in the backyard. Now a days, kids are resorting to weirder and weirder (Warning: This link contains profanity. Do not play it with your boss, priest or innocent children nearby) ways of having fun. When I was a kid, a small army of plastic, unmoving soldiers was enough to keep my friends and I occupied for hours.
Plastic Army Men have not changed much since rolling out in 1938. However, they did have a small weapons upgrade after World War II. I worry what the weapons upgrade if there was ever a World War III would look like. While I never caught my army men running any operations on their own, I know that my child hood would not have been the same without them. On this special holiday, I would like to thank them for the sacrifice they have given to serve their country’s children.
I checked to see if there were any set rules for playing with army men, but it appears that everyone is forced to mostly creatively come up with the rules themselves. I used to line them up against my friends as we threw marbles at each other. The last army man standing won. Other people simply blow them up or created strangely detailed stories of the beige and green men’s campaigns. Plastic army men have reached such a cult status that they even the home and garden community is taking notice. While everyone has a different opinion on how army men can be enjoyed, I think we all can agree to support our real army and military men and women. Go U – S – A!
To celebrate this holiday, I decided to do nothing but play with plastic army men for the entire day. In case you want to relive some of my adventures, you can find your own plastic army men in the party favor section of Walmart or many other stores.
A SPECIAL NOTE:
Today, March 4th, is the 175th birthday of my beloved city of Chicago. In honor of this occasion, I have decided to include one fact about Chicago in each of my posts for the entire week.
Fact number 1: Chicago, nicknamed the The Windy City, the City of Big Shoulders, the Second City, and The City That Works, has over 40 million people visit each year. This is on top of the nearly 10 million people that already live in the Chicago land area across three states (Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois) making Chicago the 28th largest metropolitan area in the world. The city of Chicago only being 237 square miles large. If the 10 million people living in the area visited at once, there would be about 42194 people per mile. (Whoops, I think that may have been like 12 facts molded in to one. My bad)