8 Painful or Annoying Things We Stupidly Wanted as Kids

braces card 2Crazy story. One of my daughter’s friends is kinda perturbed she has two arms and isn’t more like star surfer girl Bethany Hamilton, who so awesomely rocks just the one. After learning about this desire during the most disturbing game of make-believe ever, I was inspired to examine the insanely painful things kids want — or think they want — just because they seem cool. Maybe her wish to have something that seems really awful isn’t so rare.

Sure, that’s an extreme example, but we never really considered the downside of all those totally “rad” things we longed for as Generation X kids, like braces or crutches or (name that thing), did we? How many painful afflictions, experiences, or medical devices did you want growing up? The crazier question may be, “How many do your kids want even now?

1. Braces or a retainer: In my day (let’s call “my day” the ’80s), these two items were a major score. We were so obsessed with mouth hardware that we would flatten a paperclip or those wax bottle candies and mold them to our teeth — only to spend the rest of the day talking with an unintelligible lisp. Plus you can’t forget all the awesome braces accouterments, like that waxy stuff and those cool rubber bands that held your face together … maybe even headgear?  My daughter gets an “expander” next week. She can’t wait!

2. A cast: A cast was really a big step up from a sling or a bandage or one of those ugly Velcro shoes. Yes, a cast was way cool. Why? Because people could sign it, duh. Yep, a cast even put a yearbook to shame because you got to be the only one who was getting signatures. Sure, you had to break a bone to get one, but that somehow seemed like a small price to pay. Having broken a thing or two since, the cast has lost its luster.

3. Crutches: Don’t lie — there was always that tinge of excitement when someone fitted you with an Ace bandage on the lower portion of your body in the hopes that crutches might be offered next. There was something really empowering about needing crutches. Maybe it was the automatic sympathy, maybe it just seemed cool to walk with them. Whatever it was, it’s still alive and kicking … ahem, limping. My son was given a set two weeks ago, and though he could’ve run a mile, he milked those puppies for days.

4. Glasses: What self-respecting kid didn’t want to find out they were just near-sighted enough to require some specs? Of course, we never realized our parents weren’t going to buy us the trendy pair we so desired. The ones that would make us look smart, yet mysterious, like a sexy librarian. When I showed up on the first day of second grade in my red translucent frames, I was shocked to find they didn’t make me cooler, like I thought they would. Damn you, Sally Jesse! PS: My daughter wants glasses badly enough that I pop the frames out of my old pairs so she can wear them to the mall.

5. Boobs: Sure, boobs aren’t a bad thing, but at 12 years old, they’re no blessing. And that’s when we all started wanting them. The girls with boobs got lots of attention (unbeknownst to us flat-chested chicks, they also felt uncomfortable in their own bodies and would end up with lower back problems). I was a shameful member of the IBTC (Itty Bitty Titty Committee). I did my daily boob/arm squeezes starting at age 11, and I’m still doing them today (to NO avail). You remember the song, right?

We must, we must, we must increase our bust.  
The bigger the better. 
The tighter the sweater. 
The boys are counting on us …

6. A sling: Clearly, a sling couldn’t hold a candle to a cast, but it was a less painful, way less permanent option. Let’s face it, you could get some good sympathy out of a sling without having to do more than pull a muscle. Looking back, I should have worn them more.

7. A razor: Nope, not an ailment or medical equipment, but the tool for an annoying ritual called shaving that we would have to continue for the rest of our lives … and we couldn’t wait to start. I recall it being the absolute biggest deal when I defied my mother and went “above the knee,” an area she swore wouldn’t need to be smoothly shaven unless I planned on stripping. Well, I never resorted to that, but I am thankful I eventually charted that territory.

8. Your period: How badly did we want it? We were unwittingly begging to be miserable for roughly a week a month, beckoning the headaches, backaches, and stomachaches that would send us to the school nurse in our comfy sweats, only to be given a heating pad or, worse, a hot water bottle. We had no idea what we were asking for. We thought it was all fun with pads and tampons and those coin machines in the ladies’ room where you got a “prize” for a quarter or so. Until reality set in.

Did you want any of these things or others when you were young? Do your kids want any now?


Image via -Monica/Flickr and TheSuburbanJungle

25 thoughts on “8 Painful or Annoying Things We Stupidly Wanted as Kids

  1. teresa

    I think I wanted all those things, unfortunately I got most of them, and would love to go back in time and give them back!

  2. Amy Bremenstuhl

    French kiss! Couldn’t wait for a boy to French kiss me…and when that day FINALLY came~ohhhhh so gross! Disgusting tongue in my mouth and my jaws hurt~I remember wondering what the big fucking deal was!!!

    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      Well we had to fill our abundance of time in some amy. A least you were breathing fresh air. I don’t know which is worse for you, a broken arm from playing outside or the tendinitis you get from video games. Technically a cast is cooler than a wrist brace or thumb cast so I think you won!

  3. Tiffany Brennaman

    YES!!!! This is all so true. I remember the thrill of getting braces and picking out the different colored bands. The best was the braces/glasses phase that was oh-so-cool. We 80’s kids were such hot shit.

  4. Kirsten Boileau

    For some crazy reason – I wanted the brace you were supposed to wear if you had scoliosis! I think it was the idea that I would have to get all new clothes in order to put the brace underneath that got me hooked!

  5. Jane

    OMG, I’ve just remembered something my girlfriend and I did aged 11 or so. Hickeys/love bites were a stamp that you had made it with the opposite sex, as in pashed a boy. So bereft of any suitors my girlfriend and I gave each other one. And of course instantly regretted it due to their longevity and the fact that they were impossible to hide. It was mid summer. Shame…
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    1. Jenny from the blog Post author

      That’s actually brilliant you guys have to give yourselves some credit for thinking out of the box and your parents some credit for letting you back out of the house. I don’t know which would’ve been worse, explaining to your parents that you have a hickey because you could t tell them the truth or telling them that you and your bestie gave them to each other, in think my parents would’ve preferred to hear the actual explanation…

  6. sparkling74

    Oh why, why, why did I want every one of those except the glasses?????? Do kids still want those things? You’d think I’d know since I teach kids every day but I really don’t know what ailments they want these days!
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      1. me

        ha, ha jenny!

        jen, i feel your pain. my parents are still together! but the four of us kids used to sit around talking about who would go with which parent if they did divorce.

  7. Paige

    Aaah, the memories… I remember wanting to shave my legs like all of the “cool” girls in 7th grade! One day I got up the nerve to use my mom’s razor and had gotten one swipe ankle to knee when my mom walked in – busted! The punishment? I couldn’t shave my legs UNTIL SHE SAID, which happened to be after the hair had grown back BLACK and over an inch long! I looked like I was walking around with a backwards skunk on my (one) leg!

  8. Marilika Lekas

    OMG!!! I live in Panama, Central America and we wanted all those same things!!! I guess our generation was exactly the same, no matter where we were born!!!


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