Padiddle, No Return!

State Road, Andalusia, Pa.

Looking at the above photo, what’s the first thing that you notice? For some it might be the colorful sky in the background. Others might look at the “Tennis Avenue” sign, while wishing for a new racket as a Christmas present.

The gizmo on the pole in between the two green lights may grab your attention, which, by the way, is a sensor that changes the opposing traffic signals to red upon approach of an emergency vehicle with its flashing lights, allowing them to pass through the intersection uninhibited. 

I noticed the rear of the vehicle in the center of the picture. One of its taillights is burned out evidently. Why did I notice that? As I kid I suffered many bruises on my upper arms as a result.

Perhaps you heard of the game, “Paddiddle.” One has to be somewhat of an old-timer to know what I’m talking about. We played the game while stuck in the back seat of a car as kids, when our families took to the highways on vacations or long trips away from home. 

For me, that was usually on a regular nine-hour jaunt to Canada from North Jersey for visiting my parents’ siblings. Today it would take only about six, for the NY Thruway and the Adirondack Northway weren’t completely built back then.

Smartphones, iPads, or video games didn’t exist with which to occupy ourselves as kids do nowadays; so, we played simple games, like trying to find the most license plates from different states, variously colored cars while looking for a particular shade at a time; and then there was Padiddle.

A few versions of the game existed, but the main purpose was for being the first one to see a car with either one headlight or one taillight extinguished and exclaiming, “Padiddle.” The winner’s prize varied.

For couples on a date, if the male won, he’d be able to kiss his girlfriend. If she won, she’d be able to slap the boyfriend. Risque types would have to remove an article of clothing when losing a round.

When more than two people played, after the individual who first yelled, “Padiddle,” the others had to hit the roof of the car, provided it wasn’t a convertible. The last player to do so would be the loser, and would either get kissed, slapped, punched, or lose an article of clothing, however the game was set up.

My older brother made the rules of our game. For the first person to spot a padiddle and announce it, he would then be able to punch the upper arm of the loser until the latter would name five brands of cigarettes, touch one thousand things and whistle twice.

At the completion of that, the former had to wipe the area of the last punch and say, “Padiddle, no return”; otherwise, the loser would be able to repeat the dirty deed on the original winner.

Seem complicated? It was, but I learned quickly to spew the following:

  • Tareyton
  • Marlboro
  • Duke
  • Alpine
  • Belair (Just dated myself with the names of the last three brands.)

Then, I’d run the hand from the other arm not getting punched, through my hair (touching one thousand things) and whistling twice. Funny how I remembered that, but some things a person never forgets.

Only once or twice did I fail to wipe my last punch and say, “No Return,” if I had won the round. My brother’s wrath after my punching him as hard as I could returned back to me threefold, teaching me a valuable lesson.

In closing, since we’ve been experiencing an arctic cold wave, I’d like to share a remixed holiday cover recorded a couple of years ago with my friend Rie Waits. It wasn’t until the recent #MeToo movement that folks began to find this song offensive.

Written in 1944 by Frank Loesser, the chestnut was a bit off-color with regards to a single woman’s staying overnight at a man’s apartment, but basically was mostly about a little snow-bound flirtation. Some of the lyrics, such as, “I’ve got to go away … Hey, what’s in this drink?” … and “The answer is no,” evokes a date-rape connotation these days.

Radio stations in Cleveland, San Francisco and Denver banned the tune from airplay as a result. The Mile-High City reneged, placing the old classic back on the playlist after listeners stated through a poll that they weren’t offended by it.

This time around, I added a bass line:

Thanks for allowing me a trip down memory lane, and, as always, for your continued support.

About Mike Slickster

As an early retiree with an honorary doctorate degree from the proverbial "School of Hard Knocks," this upcoming author with a lot of free time on his hands utilizes his expansive repertoire for humorous yet tragic, wildly creative writing that contains years of imaginative fantasy, pure nonsense, classic slapstick, extreme happiness and searing heartbreak; gathered by a wealth of personal experiences throughout his thrilling—sometimes mundane or unusually horrid—free-spirited, rock-'n'-roller-coaster ride around our beloved Planet Earth. Mike Slickster's illustrious quest continues, living now in Act Three of his present incarnation, quite a bit on the cutting edge of profundity and philosophical merriment as seen through his colorful characters, most notably evident in the amusing Thirty Days Across the Big Pond series, all of which can be found at
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