February 3rd 2009 Pogs

Do you remember pogs? When I was a third grader, I was a master of pogs. I tore up the the playground with my slammer. It all started with one dropped pog. My friend Mike left it on the floor of our third-grade classroom as he was leaving for the bus one afternoon; when I went to give it back to him, he told me to keep it.

We always played “for keeps” at my school, and I used that pog, along with a borrowed slammer, to acquire more and more pogs. For a while I was virtually unmatched, until my friend Noah bought a solid metal slammer at the Baltimore Aquarium. Suddenly, after just a couple weeks, I had almost no pogs. I was back to square one.

I don’t remember how it happened, but somehow I managed to win Noah’s slammer in a miraculous game, and then I was a champion once again. I couldn’t be stopped. I kept winning and winning, building up my collection until it was virtually uncountable (well, at least for a third grader, that is).

But even to this day, I still remember one pog in particular: it featured a bowl of peas on a picnic table, emblazoned with the words “Give peas a chance.” I lost that pog to Noah, and no matter how many I won back, I never regained that pog. Even with all my winnings piled up, sometimes, to this day, I still feel the pang of failure.

It is the pog that got away.