Via Lileks, my writing idol, I find this gem.
I wanted that toy so badly, that I would have sold my little sister for it. Never got one. The most popular kid in the neighborhood was the most popular kid because he got one somehow. For the unbelievably high price of $11.98. That was real money in those days. Woulda kept me in comics and caps for my cap-pistol, and in fresh bags of toy soldiers for a year.
I took that cannon, and folded an enemy neighbor kid (we were playing war, as usual) in half, and he lay there gasping like a fish, and his mother chased me around with a broom for a bit.
You couldn't make that toy in America today. Negroes would picket your yard if you had one out playing with it, and the nannies and company lawyers would keep it from being manufactured in the first place.
I had a full sized working replica of a .45, that cycled, and everything. Fired spring loaded bullets out of brass cartridges you load in the clip, after putting a Greenie Stickum Cap on each primer, for a proper bang. A shot to your temple would make you see stars, and have to go sit down for a bit. Trust me.
Did we wear eye protection? Heck no. That's for pussies. I had a formed piece of solder, fired from a bobby pin gun, zip across the bridge of my nose (leaving a fresh cut) and sink an inch or so into the wooden fence I (thought I) was using for cover. Just three inches to the left, and...
Nowadays, about all you can say is 'here's your Nerf ball, kid. Sorry'. And hope they don't get any hypodermic needles stuck in them while playing at the park. And never ever use the sandbox, because that is where hypes dispose of their evidence after shooting up. Before he (or she) goes and takes a shit in the playhouse.
Well, at least I had a great childhood...