Just the other day I was editing a client’s photo keepsake order which was largely made up of shots from birthday parties and Christmas mornings. I couldn’t help but notice that many of the kid’s games they received I, in my youth, also received… or I wanted to. Like the air hockey game they got one Christmas. I never got that. I had to go to the arcade to play it. What was the deal with that?

Anyway, one of the box games that was proudly displayed under the tree was the Milton Bradley game, Cootie. I remember that game. It was designed primarily for pre-schoolers to teach youngsters about taking turns and winning or losing with grace.

The premise was simple. You had all the parts to build a bug. You rolled a dice to determine which part you could add. The first one to complete his or her “cootie” won.

Cooties had a different connotation when I was growing up. I don’t know if it still does. But when I was in elementary school, it was a well known fact among us boys that all girls carried cooties. We didn’t know what they were but just hearing about them made us know we didn’t want to catch them.

I remember when I was in third grade, I was surprised kissed by a girl (her name was Vicki) before class started. She said she wanted to tell me a secret and when I bent in closer to hear… smooch! Cooties! I didn’t know what to do so I chased her around the room with the intent to hit her. Thankfully, I didn’t (or chose not to) catch her. You see, deep down in my third grade soul, I knew… that surprise kiss was kinda nice.

Personally, although I have no supporting evidence to back me up, I think the idea of cooties was foolishly concocted by girls in order to delay the interest boys would eventually have in them. Believe me, by the time elementary school was over, when I was thinking about girls, cooties were the last thing on my mind. And until today, I don’t think I ever thought about them again.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of films, videotapes, audio recordings, photos and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.

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