I Never Owned a Big Wheel

I was walking across the office this morning with a banana peel in my hand and I suddenly wondered if people actually slip and fall comically when they step on one, as depicted in slapstick comedies and cartoons. Seriously, has anyone in history ever really stepped on a banana peel, slipped, waved their arms around frantically in the air in a useless attempt to steady themselves, before falling on their ass?

And when they did smack into the ground, did they literally see stars swirling around their head?

There’s gotta be some truth to this, right? I mean, don’t you think?

Although in all honesty, I don’t think a banana peel is particularly slippery. Sure, the skin is smooth, but the interior is sort of gummy. I’d think that would add traction and thereby increase stability, which would actually lessen the odds of a person falling. Personally, I think an errant peach pit is much more likely to cause any sort of bodily harm.

I’ve scared you away from fruit, haven’t I? My apologies.

Hold on a sec – it turns out that MythBusters has actually put this theory to the test. Find out if it’s really possible to slip on a banana peel here!

(If you’re too busy or lazy to click on the link, the answer is no. There’s another myth, busted!!).

And yes, I really did spend an inordinate amount of time today pondering this very thing, which makes me question my sanity.

I was heading to the lunchroom in order to dispose of my banana peel because the trash cans at our desks are only emptied once a week. I’d rather not have a swarm of fruit flies flitting around my face while I’m trying to process promotions or run reports (and yes, the alliteration was intentional).

Warning: Smooth Segue Ahead.

Speaking of the lunchroom, I walked in there recently one morning and encountered an entire group of unfamiliar faces gathered around, kicking back at the tables and eating and helping themselves to coffee and laughing and joking like they owned the place. I didn’t recognize a single one of them, and thought for a moment I had stepped into the Twilight Zone.  That was when I realized there’s an entirely separate population housed within the building’s walls – the warehouse crew. Apparently it’s a company mandate that they all take their breaks at the same time, and I never would have run into them if I hadn’t been tossing an empty yogurt cup into the trash in the middle of the morning. It’s weird how office people and warehouse people form two very distinct cliques. It’s almost as though we are entirely different cultures, an observation accentuated by the fact that few of them were speaking English when I intruded upon their domain. They are laborers toiling away in a land prone to extreme heat in the summer and frigid cold in the winter, with danger lurking around every corner (speeding forklifts! CD- and DVD-laden shelves that might topple over at any moment!), while at worst we might have to contend with the occasional paper cut.  Plus, we sit around on our asses most of the day.

Offices are funny places to work.

Speaking of “working” and “funny,” there goes my brain again. Off on another odd tangent. Which, by the way, I blame on one simple fact:

Growing up, I never owned a Big Wheel.

How awesome. Too bad I NEVER HAD ONE!!

This frustrated me to no end. In the 1970s, Big Wheels were all the rage. God, how I coveted one of my own! All my friends had Big Wheels, and I would stare after them longingly as they pedaled past. Granted, a Big Wheel is nothing more than a glorified plastic tricycle, but man, was it cool. That big black tire in the front was downright badass, and the red and yellow color scheme (with a blue seat) was rockin’ and stylish. Plus, you rode really low to the ground, which only served to heighten the experience and bring you closer in touch with Mother Earth.

Or so I’d imagine. I can’t really say for sure since, again, I never owned one.

Sure, I had a bicycle. A blue one with a groovy banana seat. But when you ride a bike down the street, the tires don’t make a loud, rumbling racket when they spin across the asphalt. Yeah, you knew a half mile away when a Big Wheel was approaching. Imagine me, sitting inside my house watching Loony Tunes cartoons and trying desperately to ignore the sound of my friends on their Big Wheels riding merrily along without a care in the world. I love Daffy Duck as much as the next fella, but I’d have much rather been tooling along on my Big Wheel with my friends. I have no idea why my parents never let me have a Big Wheel. They were pretty cool otherwise (although despite my constant pleas, they also never allowed me to indulge in Cookie Crisp cereal. To a kid, Cookie Crisp was like the Holy Grail of cereals: you got to eat a bowlful of chocolate chip cookies floating in milk! I remember going over to my friend Walter’s house one day and not only watching him eat a big bowl of Cookie Crisp cereal, but I had to step around his brightly colored and totally rad Big Wheel parked in the hallway, too. For the record, that was the single most jealous moment of my entire life). Mom and/or dad, feel free to address in the comments section below why you chose to deprive your oldest child of these two great treasures.

At least now I’ve got a built-in excuse for any sort of dysfunctional behavior I might exhibit. Should I ever get caught robbing a bank or vandalizing a synagogue, people will ask, “Why’d you do it, Mark?” I’ll simply throw my hands in the air and say, with a great deal of exasperation, “I never owned a Big Wheel and was forbidden to eat Cookie Crisp cereal.”

Surely they’ll understand.

Have a wonderful weekend, and try not to slip on any banana peels.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

26 thoughts on “I Never Owned a Big Wheel

  1. ” Should I ever get caught robbing a bank or vandalizing a synagogue, people will ask, “Why’d you do it, Mark?” I’ll simply throw my hands in the air and say, with a great deal of exasperation, “I never owned a Big Wheel and was forbidden to eat Cookie Crisp cereal.”

    Cracked me up, Mark!!!

    Well, don’t feel bad because I never had a Big Wheel either. But truthfully, I never wanted one. I wanted a BARBIE!!!


    Hey, and thanks for sharing the slipping on a banana peel link (yes, I did read it), because who knew!?!? I honestly DID think you could slip on one.

    Wishing you and Tara a faaaaaabulous weekend!


  2. Majority of our logistics team take their break at the same time. I think it has to do with productivity. If you move a few people at a time, you’re not able to process the shipments at the same speed, but if you just break then come back, they can keep rolling along. That’s my understanding of it anyway.

    And I totally owned a big wheel! Then was attacked by then when I taught safety city to 4 year olds. They liked to run over the teacher’s foot. They remind me more of terror now than childhood.


  3. We never got you a big wheel–because we diidnt know you wanted one!(or maybe since we moved every 3 yrs and needed to keep the weight down?)Plus your father thought they were “stupid”!


      1. Hahaha. Love this mom & boy exchange. At the same time I worry I’ll be having this same conversation in 20 years with my son. Should I go ahead and apologize now for not letting him have chocolate milk and M&Ms for dinner?


    1. You’re never too old, Kathy. I’m sure your Big Wheel would be cobbled together with recycled pie tins and Christmas ribbons and would feature a rainbow and a half’s worth of colors!


  4. Hey, you had a nice american airllines plane to ride! That’s better than any big wheel!!!!And yum-chocolate milk and m&m’s.


  5. I was joking with your parents about how even I got a Big Wheel as a kid, and I grew up poor! haha It’s true though. . . I did have one, although I had to not ask for anything for like 6 months. ( Mom would take me to the toy store where I was allowed one thing a month and it couldn’t be over a certain amount, if I wanted something more expensive, I had to save up. I tell you though, it was worth it!)

    I loved the feeling of riding low to the ground, feeling every bump in the road with my big wide tires. I especially remember the noise they made… LOUD, the wide tires amplifying every tiny rock. I remember I tied red and blue ribbon on the handles, letting the ends fly in the wind as I’d pedal fast down the sloped sidewalk. It was the feeling of pure freedom, it gave me a taste of what it would be like to be an adult and be able to drive for the first time. And the adrenaline rush I’d get when I’d break hard and come to a spinning halt?! Ohhhh man, it was awesome! It was so wide I’d try to flip it on purpose, but never could…although my heart stopped momentarily when I rode it on it’s side. Woooooo!!!!! It felt like the Dukes of Hazard up in that bitch! …. phew, what a rush that was as a kid!

    **fondly remembering**

    You had so many other great things growing up though… Take it from me, you and Scott are VERY lucky. Big Wheel or not, you had (have) so much more than most.


    1. Aha! I think you’ve probably just nailed it right there. Doesn’t explain away the Cookie Crisp, though…

      You’re right, we DID have it lucky and I know that. I just like to razz them every now and then. It’s what kids do.


  6. I loved my Big Wheel, but hated that after awhile the plastic tire would crack and break. Or perhaps I was simply too rough with it? Hmmmmm. Must have been the neighbor’s kids.

    And John blamed me for never NEVER going to a party in high school. Like that was my MY fault? So, because he didn’t learn to lie to me like his friends did to their parents, when he gets arrested and they ask him WHY…….he’ll say….”Because I never partied in high school.”


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