A Penny (Horse) For Your Thoughts?
They still exist, after all these years. They could have given up. Stopped running. Never. They make the Energizer Bunny look like an impostor. Who needs batteries when all these valiant steeds needed was a single penny?!
I'm speaking of the one and only form of grocery store entertainment. The Penny Horse.
You all remember that breathtaking metal mare do you not? He was always waiting for you at the end of the checkout line. After enduring that brutal stretch of mom's infamous three hour grocery run you found yourself standing in front of your reward. Mom fishes through her purse for a few pennies and forks them over. One penny grants you enough time to ride off into whichever sunset strikes your fancy, but four pennies! You've now got enough time to win the Kentucky Derby ten times over AND ford a few rivers on the Oregon Trail! You saddle up for your ride and unleash the power of that penny horse.
Such a simple joy! A crude contraption that cost you the absolute lowest possible denomination of US currency available. But the experience? Priceless.
I was reminded of this majestic beast the other day while I myself was at the grocery store. I witnessed a little girl break away from her mother waiting in the checkout lane and complete an impressively quick mad dash over to the penny horse. She damn near threw herself off the ride as she scrambled up into the saddle. The joyful expression on her face could have only been matched if she were able to celebrate Christmas, her birthday, and the 4th of July all on the same day. She looked as if someone had just told her that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were not really the front runners for the upcoming presidential nomination but rather it was all an elaborate joke played on the American people; when in reality what the government had actually done was cryogenically freeze Abraham Lincoln for an election year such as this one, bring old Abe back from the dead, and let him watch over our great nation once more. Yes, she looked THAT happy.
And as I stood there and enjoyed the moment a sliver of sadness washed over me as well. You see, I was recalling that particular time in my life when all the simple pleasures were enjoyed. When all it took was a damn penny and a mechanical horse to appease my thirst for fun. What's it take these days? Usually a shit ton of money and some booze. Nothing wrong with a handful of both of those vices however it takes away from life a bit, doesn't it?
Seems as though a lot of folks these days don't even remember how to take a break if they even take one at all. Work is life. How in the shit did that happen? Yea, I got it. We need to make a living but how much do you NEED? At what cost? Do you know what the definition of a job is? It's sadness. It's monotonous. Do you know what it ISN'T? It's not building a fort or climbing a tree or hiking or biking or swimming or building a snowman or crocheting a new pair of oven mitts. Christ, even when people DO get out and attempt to enjoy themselves they still manage to fail at COMPLETELY distancing themselves from all the bullshit hanging around. Example? Sure. Say Betty Sue goes out on a glorious hike, sees some of the most beautiful scenes in nature she's ever seen AND YET she never really embraced the experience as best she could. She doesn't quite feel 'refreshed'. You see, Betty Sue spent the entire trip taking 143 pictures and uploading ever last shot into her social media profile. From the moment her hike started she had a nagging feeling that she needed to document her trip and throw it all up into the world wide webs for her 'friends' to see. After all, she can't slack in that department. She's got some false sense of needing to create a life that appears AMAZING 100% of the time. What good does just leaving your phone at the trail head and enjoying that hike all by your damn self do? A giant bald eagle soaring graciously through a crystal clear sky cannot compare to 88 likes on Facebook. Of course Betty Sue's story doesn't apply to everyone. Just a wee bit of an observation. Maybe even a small 'call to arms' if you will.
What happened to us? Oh yea, I'm just as guilty, too. We fuss over work, we constantly glance over social media updates. We suck.
I think it's high time we race on over to that penny horse and start riding again. Forget the metaphorical produce section, non-GMO products, milk, eggs, and whatever other shit you THINK you need. Break through and get to that stallion.
Ride that pony....the saddle's waiting.