Jan/Feb 2001 Miscellaneous

Scooter Envy

by Jeff Lowenstein

My seven year old son Aidan wants a Razor Scooter. Badly.

He has coaxed, wheedled, whined, and begged. He has played on my insistence that he attend Hebrew School, informing me calmly that he "will be getting my scooter on Shabbat Shalom." I told him that my wife and I will push back the scooter?s date of purchase one year for every time he asks for it. At this point, he'll be fifty seven years old when we buy his treasure. He cries-huge, body wracking sobs-when we tell him we have to learn more about it so that he can have what he wants and be safe.

I acquired a company brochure to investigate the safety risks. It recommended flatly that all riders wear "a helmet and suitable protective gear." I searched on line and found an article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch that described the thousands of broken shins, wrists and legs that have occurred in the months since scooter mania has swept the St. Louis area. My wife swapped local injury horror stories with her sister in laws and circle of friends.

Aidan remained undaunted because he has his own statistics: 100, 0, and 1. One hundred is the percentage of his friends, and of kids his age in general, who own scooters. Zero is the number of scooters available at Costco—a fact which only serves to underscore the validity of his first figure. And one is the number of scooters that he craves.

He was heavy into Pokemon all last year, buying the cards, playing the video games, watching both movies. But nothing like this. Scooters dominate his every waking moment. They come into his bed and cause him to cry out in the middle of the night.

Twenty seven years ago, when I was in second grade, I wanted a Big Wheel more than anything that I could imagine. My brother Mike and I waged a month long campaign until Dad brought the spanking new toy home on a cloudless April Tuesday. We hugged him more tightly than usual, and inspected our bounty. The pedals were sculpted for our feet, and the adjustable blue seat gleamed in the late afternoon sunlight.

Mike and I took ride after ride after ride down the hill to our house at Griggs Terrace. In Aidan's pleas, the rumbling of the black plastic wheels along the grey concrete sidewalk returns to me. I feel the air rush by my ears as I catch the jump halfway down, and hear my mother yelling when she discovers that my new yellow sweatshirt had been caught and dismembered in one of the back wheels.

These memories remind me that I am on the fun suppressing, rules enforcing side to which I thought I would never belong. The ease with which I adopt my father's cheerful tone and stymieing phrases surprises me. And now it is Aidan's turn to hunger after the latest object that he believes will transport him to unvisited worlds of magical tricks and unprecedented social acceptance.

The next shipment of one hundred Razor Scooters arrives at Costco tomorrow morning. From his classroom at Wolf Swamp Elementary School, Aidan will feel, if not hear, the truck's arrival. And keep yearning.


Previous Piece Next Piece