I was a kid of the 80s. That meant I desperately longed for things like a plastic charm necklace, a clear phone with my very own landline, Z Cavariccis, and a TV in my room so I could watch my favorite show “You Can’t Do That on Television.” I thought it was hilarious when the stars of the show got “slimed.” If they said “I don’t know,” they got a bucket of bright green, lumpy, liquid dumped on their heads. It was total, pre-adolescent gross-out humor, and I absolutely loved it.
Fast forward thirty years, and my, how things have changed.
The popularity of “You Can’t Do That on Television’s” slime oozed over to other shows, like “Double Dare,” and three entire decades later, slime lives on. It’s made appearances on countless other kids’ shows since I was in sixth grade, and is currently an integral part of the Kids Choice Awards, and you know what? I’m fine with slime on celebrities’ heads. I can deal with slime geysers, and slime canals, but you know what I can’t handle?
Slime in my living room.
At some point in the past few years, slime made the transition from silly television special effect to something that is now a part of our real lives – like every single day, in my actual house. Luckily I’m not getting buckets of the stuff poured on my head, not yet anyway, but I may as well be.
I am the mother of a second grade girl, and she is obsessed with slime. Actually, I feel like obsessed is an understatement. Do we have a stronger word? Because that’s how my child feels about slime.
It began innocently enough. She made it at a friend’s house, and was instantly transfixed, which makes sense. It’s way cool to see a real chemical reaction happen right in front of your eyes when you mix regular old school glue with baking soda and water and it turns into what is best described as a massive glob of malleable snot. Apparently it has something to do with molecules and polymers, and is educational. The first time I saw it, I was like “whoa, that is pretty neat,” but after the 789th time, slime has more than lost its appeal with me.
My daughter, however, is still going strong. She has used all of my plastic storage containers. On more than one occasion she has raided our bathroom for her dad’s contact solution (he’s more patient than I am about this stuff), and we’re going through plastic baggies at the rate of successful drug dealers. If you come to my house for dinner and my gravy’s runny, don’t even ask me where all my corn starch went. My daughter makes a special slime out of it that she says is called “ooblek.” We also have flubber, mermaid slime, and of course unicorn slime.
I knew we had a serious problem when she asked Santa for a box of Borax, and her favorite birthday gift was a gallon of white glue. Back in my day, the biggest thrill we got out of a bottle of Elmer’s was spreading it on our palms, letting it dry, and then peeling it off, pretending it was skin. When I showed my daughter that trick, she rolled her eyes, and asked if we had any food coloring to add to her latest batch of gak.
Jars of multicolored slime line my laundry room shelves. My child is apparently a slime hoarder, and on top of that she’s like some kind of bizarre aficionado of gloop. She makes scented slimes with essential oils, and fluffy slime out of shaving cream that she buys with the money the Tooth Fairy gave her, because I refuse to enable her addiction any more than I already do. We have one anthropomorphized jar of pink slime with two expertly placed googly eyes. Its name is Maria. She is now a member of our family, and every time I try to throw her away those googly eyes look at me sadly, and out of pity I let her live on. I had to draw the line at glitter slime, though.
Our home already looks like a scene from the 1958 schlock, sci-fi/horror flick The Blob. I don’t need it to sparkle too.
I’ve become an expert at scrubbing slime from carpet, upholstery and that super cute outfit I just spent my last Old Navy cash on and which my kid has only worn once. Here’s the secret: soak all fabric in vinegar until the slime liquefies and then scrape and rinse it away. Apparently this is another interesting chemical reaction, but I’ve long since given up caring about the science behind slime. I just want this fad to be over before my daughter gets any more slime in her hair. Would you like to know how to get that out? Patience, a fine comb, and a lot of coconut oil. The Internet also recommends clarifying shampoo, and I hear a sacrifice to the gods also helps.
Every day my daughter comes home from school and rushes to make slime. She pours, she stirs, then she pulls and yanks and glops and giggles for what seems like hours of gelatinous entertainment. Meanwhile, I remain puzzled about how this can be so fun, so all consuming, so…addictive. When she finishes, and I make her clean up, as a reward she asks for her iPad to watch YouTube videos of, you guessed it, other people making slime! I even found a best-selling, slime recipe book written by a teenager, which really made me question those eight years I spent in college getting my MFA in Creative Writing.
All fads eventually die out, right? I mean, I’m not wearing those Z Cavariccis or playing with my Cabbage Patch Kid anymore, and my daughter probably has no clue where that fidget spinner she wanted so badly last spring got to, although I have a feeling it was consumed by a vat of slime somewhere in her bedroom.
So when will this end? Will another trend stage a “Goo D’état” on slime? Will this gluey rage soon fade away to the land of pet rocks and invisible dogs where it belongs? The only answer I have is…
I don’t know.