For some bizarre reason the Baby Boomer generation was obsessed with potatoes. Eating potatoes, dressing up potatoes as people, and even using potatoes as weapons. There was Mister Potato Head, Mrs. Potato Head, and the consumption of billions of french fries. The weapon, of course, was the Potato Gun, where the bullets were little pieces of potatoes. East Coast Stories recently found a whole case of perfect Potato Guns still in their boxes in the back of an old storeroom of a food company.
There is a historical reason for this potato obsession. American Baby Boomers were the first full generation in the history of the world that did not have to worry about getting enough to eat. In fact, Americans in the 1950s found that they actually had a surplus of food.
There was, after all, so much food that Baby Boomers could even play with it. Food Fights became the rage in high schools and colleges. In what other country on Earth would people waste food by throwing it around?
Who could ever forget Jon Belushi and the Food Fight in Animal House?
The Potato Gun was a toy that a kid would stick into a potato and then load chunks of the potato as “bullets”. Kids would then shoot the potato bullets at each other. Baby Boomer Bruce Willis actually references the potato gun in the movie Armageddon. Most of the younger viewers obviously had no idea what he was taking about.
Ironically, the potato was the reason many people even became Americans at all. During the Irish Potato Famine the Irish immigrated to America by the thousands. Politicians like to talk about people coming to America for the freedom, but that is only partially true.
Many immigrants moved to The United States because their families were starving, literally starving, in the Old Country. The dream of thousands who came through Ellis Island was not of political freedom. The immigrants dream was that some day their children would have enough to eat.
So finding this case of Potato Guns was like turning a page back in history. What should we do with them? Kids have long since moved on to more sophisticated computerized games. But possibly there are some curious readers who would like one of these old-time toys. Dear readers, let us know what you think.
Would you be interested in a free Potato Gun?Just holding one may magically bring you back to a time when sons and daughters of starving immigrants fulfilled their ancestors dreams and had so much food it could even be turned into toys.