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June 10, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Stages and consequences

three vintage school boys. 1930's Our Gang. (USPD/

“OK. We’re agreed. No stupid rocks this year. We’re corn or nothing. Or we’ll hold our breath until we turn blue – in traffic.”(1930’s Our Gang.USPD/

It was a mistake

Taking out all those school stages with dusty velvet curtains and pianos huddled at the side.

And now, vaguely missing something, they are hit the streets.

Desperately improvising. Trying to fill the void.

Those grade school productions – hated by music teachers, dreaded by art teachers – they were society’s salvation and few knew.

Each child given a role: some trees, some sunflowers, ladybugs, the butterflies for the coordinated ones who could wave their arms and not fall down, coveted lines to speak for the golden few.

(Some their rock role seriously and went on to other stages.)

There’s a theory by some in child development that there’s a series of steps that must be taken at the right time in the right sequence or the child will always be missing a key component.

That’s what these are looking for: a key. They certainly don’t have a clue.

So the general public gets stalled by mid-twenty somethings setting up a little kid’s basketball goal and proceed to play a game during rush hour of a busy street intersection. (Until one driver careened by clipping the My Tyke plastic goal post and dragged it a few yards.) Only to dash home and post it all on social media. (Video here and interview here)

Toddler plastic basketball goal. (

It was like this…except in the intersection. Little Tykes company will probably have to start including an instructive video and a warning to not place goal in the street or play in traffic just in case toddlers can read or parents know lawyers. (

Then there’s the daredevil motorcyclists doing high speed wheelies and tricks worthy of Buffalo Bill’s rodeo riders all out there among traffic on major freeways. Their antics recorded by helmet cams to be posted, boasted, and celebrated.

If only these lost little people had been allowed to be vegetables on stage.

To have their mommies and daddies beam as they hopped like frogs or bunnies in front of everyone.

To have experienced the queasy tummies before performances, but to stumble on to the stage anyway.

To know the pride as they ran off amid the happy applause. (And learned that if you tripped and fell, it was fine to just get up and go on – and the audience still love you. Although an unzip pant was a different story…)

1928 small girl sitting. (Picture Play mag/USPD/

“Lines? Of course I got a speaking role. Why would you ask?”
Everyone knew that girl. Her mom was either a teacher or her dad on the school board.(USPD/

Surely at some point some PhD will conclude that those contrived scripts and plots of elementary school dramas were formative and critical for proper development.

(You heard it here first. A piece of the No Bell Prize money graciously accepted.)

Oh, those wild acrobatic “crotch rocket” riders? Bumblebees. Perfect for bumblebees with their natural erratic moves and love of buzz.. Yep, missed out.

Early performances count. Don’t miss your cue.

All the world’s a stage,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

chilThe 1929. Our Gang children sitting in a row. (USPD/

We never got chairs with our names on them. So unfair. How can we be motivated to achieve the future if not given a taste? Only tape on the cold hallway floor with out names penciled in….and that stupid kid that always smudged the names or moved them out of order so we got yelled at. And you couldn’t slug the kid ’cause you might mess up the show. (1929. Our Gang. USPD/




  1. Kate Crimmins / Jun 10 2016 8:27 am

    I was a bumblebee in first grade so I’m good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 10 2016 8:37 am

      You must have been coordinated and able to follow directions. Eveyone else was rocks or trees if you promised not to whack the bumblebee. Those silly plays were good, but teachers hated them (and the stage moms). Thanks for carefully staging a comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kate Crimmins / Jun 10 2016 9:34 am

        I was a wonderful butterfly. I got to pinch some other kids who were the flowers. I was gentle…sorta.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 10 2016 9:51 am

          School plays are as good as teaching social skills as playgrounds with free play. Gotta let the kids have fun, too. So sad when the school designers decided those stages with steps up high were too costly and unnecessary for buildings. Other things besides test scores are learning situations. Fun is life, too, right?

          Liked by 1 person

  2. heylookawriterfellow / Jun 10 2016 9:03 am

    Don’t worry about the street hoopsters or the reckless cyclists. Darwin will get ’em.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 10 2016 9:13 am

      Have to admit that maybe it is a way to protect the gene pool. (If only federal regulations would let nature take its’ course..the way things are going they will inisist the city must provide flag waving traffic guards to protect the individual’s right to be stupid?) Thanks for rocketing by to chat

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Ally Bean / Jun 10 2016 9:58 am

    I was a shepherd in a Christmas pageant. I carried my little toy plastic sheep with me and for a costume I had a pillowcase on my head like a head scarf. I rocked my role. I know this because I still remember the applause at the end of our play. The audience loved us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 10 2016 10:13 am

      Posting selfie-videos on social media will never have the same feel as being on that stage. I love the pillowcase memory. Costumes made from whatever was handy soemhow was more fun than just opening up a box from a store. The laughs in later years about it all is part of what was cool about the whole experience. Thanks for stepping on this stage with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  4. RKLikesReeses / Jun 10 2016 11:52 am

    People are endlessly creative when it comes to behaving stupidly. Adding the capability to record and then immediately share the behavior seems to have made things worse.
    Hooray for school plays and Drama Club! But I wonder how they’ve been spoiled by today’s parents with phones and social media accounts? Used to be, little Jimmy could flub a line or waggle his branches at the wrong moment, and only the PS105 universe would know. Now? Everyone. Everywhere. On video. Forever. Poor Jimmy!
    Terrific post (scary and funny)! It makes me long for those rehearsals and the delicious moment when we learned that “stage right” and “downstage” weren’t what we thought they were!



    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 10 2016 12:07 pm

      I think you are right: affordable movie cameras and video have been a game changer. A lot of pressure for both child and parents. Actually being there and watching isn’t enough. What a legacy has been wrought. Thanks for costuming a comment to leave on this stage

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Paul / Jun 10 2016 6:49 pm

    I always managed to steer away from any school productions – I’m allergic to them. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 11 2016 8:28 am

      You were truckin’even back then HA HA. Oh, update, those basketball pranksters of the road posted their antics on line, and now have charges facing them.So eager for attention, brain not thinking….lots of that going around it seems. Have a great weekend and thanks for taking the stage with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  6. D. Wallace Peach / Jun 12 2016 9:59 pm

    I like those school plays. They’re usually so cute (as long as they don’t last too long). I think there’s always been an element of society that has no sense of self-preservation. Now we just get to see it up close and personal. 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 13 2016 8:03 am

      You are right about the bullet proof mentality on full display with social media and video contests. Stunts and pranks are so celebrated now whereas before people avoided looking stupid to avoid ridicule and people stepping away from them. An update, those young men playing basketball in the busy interection, holding up traffic, and bragging about it on line have been charged. This one’s going to cost them. MAybe next time, they should put on a backyard show? Thanks for taking the stage with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • D. Wallace Peach / Jun 13 2016 8:15 am

        The first stupid thing they do is dangerous and annoying. The second stupid thing they do is record it for the world to see. Stupid isn’t even strong enough. Occasionally these kids end up dead.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jun 13 2016 8:26 am

          Not worth the applause if you end up dead or paralyzed. You would think they would have caught on about the posting thing – arrests here happen that way all the time. But then, they are bullet proof…

          Liked by 1 person

  7. marthaschaefer / Jun 13 2016 3:09 pm

    Interesting that when they took the “drama” out of schools, the darwin awards skyrocketed. Ah for the good old days…

    Liked by 1 person

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