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May 24th, 2006

toxopholite

My hands smelled like rubber bands for most of the day courtesy of my handling quite a few while at work this morning. To go along with the theory that smell triggers memories more readily than any other sense, the scent brought back memories of third and fourth grade. Living at the tip of the Olympic Peninsula - where the weather is notoriously poor - meant that there were numerous times during the year when our recess from class was confined to the school's gymnasium.

However, rather than pursue the standard activities of tag, jump rope, or general gossip, my group of friends tried something a little more creative. We collected heavy-duty paper clips whenever they came our way, stretched them out, and hooked the ends of a broken rubber band to either side. This created a kind of make-shift bow, and we used the sharpened stubs of leftover pencils to shoot at one another. They didn't have much range, but it was easy to tell if you were hit with one of the projectiles - especially if one of the points punctured your skin. After thirty minutes of that, it's probably no surprise that our hands all smelled of rubber bands.

My family moved to another city while I was in fifth grade and I haven't shot any pencils since then. I did try a few other experiments after that, which resulted in paper clip "poppers" that fascinated trinajo's nephew during my visit to Calgary as well as Kyo Wook and Jung Ah while we were still meeting together. Maybe I should have taken up archery as a childhood activity? It couldn't have been any worse than my attempt at basketball in elementary school.