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Little Green Army Men
A friend of mine tells this story:
Through the kitchen window I watched my son and the neighbor boy spend hours in the corner of the yard constructing two forts in the opposing corners of the old sandbox. They carefully placed and re-placed battalions of those little green plastic Army men in strategic places all over their mock battlefield, then stood back and pointed at this and that as they discussed their labors. My, my, I thought, my son and his friend are growing up! They’re now able to spend hours cooperatively creating something relatively complex. Then, I saw them each standing behind their respective sand fort throwing crab apples and rocks and “dirt bombs” at each other’s work! I ran outside to stop them, thinking that their cooperative play had completely deteriorated. “Stop! Stop! What are you doing to each other?!” I didn’t know that this was how boys play.
The neighbor boy explained it with a shrug of the shoulders and, “But Mrs. N., war is hell.”