The playground was buzzing this afternoon at Tallmadge Elementary school. The word throughout is there is no doubt going to be another thumb war. It’s been months since the last thumb war took place on the blacktop behind the school, but it seems with rising milk carton prices and the ‘we deserve a nap’ movement, the tension is getting very sticky indeed.
I spoke to a 4th grader named Carson and asked him what he thought about having to deal with another thumb war. He said, “I don’t want to do a thumb war, I cried the last time I did one.” What an incredibly brave young man.
The school bully, Vicky was seen skulking around the swing set. “It wasn’t my idea to bring up the thumb war, so scram!” I told her to relax, that all I wanted to know was what she thought about the entire idea. That this could be an inevitable thumb war. “Listen, toots, I fought as hard as I could at the last one. I actually brought a few kids to tears. This isn’t my fight this year. There’s someone else bigger and badder than me that’s asking for this.”
Someone who is bigger and badder than Vicky, the infamous 5th grade bully who has flunked several years of elementary school? This was news to me. What was once a simple field reporting piece turned into something much more sinister.
After interviewing several other kids on the playground, whispers started turning into blanket statements. The thumb war was happening whether we wanted it or not, and it turns out it was all thanks to Simon, a very articulate 6th grade boy who had recently broken his left arm. I finally tracked him down, surrounded by a group of friends while he was sitting on the top of a picnic table.
Simon was incredibly open about speaking with me. “There has been peace for far too long on this playground. I wanted to shake things up a bit, and at this moment the only thing I can do competitively is a thumb war since my left arm is broken. I would’ve opted for a nice game of tether-ball but with only one arm to defend myself? I’m just cruising for a bruising.”
As he kept describing what will soon be known as Thumb War 2, I asked him why he was drawn to such chaos. “My parents won’t let me do anything at home now since I got this stupid cast on my arm. I just need to not be bored anymore!”
I guess tomorrow we’ll see if Simon really is just bored or if he just wants to watch the playground burn.