5 WTF Were They Thinking Toys No. 2 – JARTS
It’s that time again and we’re closing in on the last two WTF toys in our WTF Were They Thinking Toy series. I almost get teary-eyed thinking about how far we’ve come. Let’s see. There was the Cabbage Patch Doll with the mastication issues, the Clacker toy with sadist tendencies, and the closet pyromaniac aka the Easy Bake Oven. Now, we have the JART at numero dos, or the “close, but not the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.”
So, what exactly is a JART? Well, first off, it’s pronounced like tart, cart, f-… well, you get the point. In researching this toy, I was wondering where this term came from. Was this an acronym? An obscure reference made by its inventor? An ingenious combination of words? A last-ditch effort to think of something clever when put on the spot?
My condensed theory, which I have abridged from my 80-page Master’s thesis, is that the term JART is the combination of the words javelin and dart. I also believe that the creator of this toy had a discreet way of saying “Ha-HA. You are now the proud owner of a weapon wielding assassin.” I mean why else would someone create a ‘toy’ like this – it’s the only plausible conclusion.
Again, this is all explained in my thesis which I will publish very soon.
In my research, I found some eerie similarities to the clacker toy and you’ll see why.
2. The JART Toy That Will Literally Go To Your Head
The JART, also referred to as a lawn dart, is a game that’s played by two or more people (one if you’re truly ‘ambitious’). The object is to throw the dart at the opposing team/person so that you’ll “tag” them with the dart. Once they’re “tagged,” they’re “it” and they’ll have to “tag” anoth- Oh wait, I think that’s a different game.
Give me a sec. I need to scan my thesis again… Oh yeah, that’s right.
JART’s is a game played with four roided massive darts and two ring targets by two or more people. To win, you need to score 21 or more points. Basically, each dart that lands in the ring are three points and if no one can land their dart in the ring, the closest to them will earn one point. There’s like a million other rules/variations that I won’t go into because you can’t play with them anyways.
As I was saying earlier, in my preliminary research, all I was finding about the JART were reports on injuries and when it was banned. I was beginning to think that toy had earlier roots in antiquity as a weapon of some sort. Well, as my sources confirm, I was right!
Just like the clacker toy (or the weapon known as the Bolas) I mentioned earlier, the JART also has its roots as an ancient weapon.
One of the earliest examples of the JART was found in ancient Greece around 500 B.C and was known as the plumbata or martiobarbuli, as seen above to the left. The weapon is a weighted arrow with fletchings (the fins at the tail) which was commonly used by soldiers, who carried several of them in their shield to maim the oncoming enemy. Imagine the surprise when the enemy was struck with a dart by a soldier with no bow.
I haven’t had the chance to play with JARTs, but as I was YouTubing “lawn darts,” the first result showed a video for John Krasinski. As you may or may not know, Mr. Krasinski plays the lovable Jim Halpert on the hit show The Office. I wanted to know how the heck he was relevant to lawn darts and I found out two things. John is a master story-teller and that lawn darts can be funny. He’s exactly the reason why I laugh at the misfortune of others.
If you can’t imagine the result of what he’s talking about, I present to you a video of a ‘typical incident’.
Aside from John Krasinski’s anecdote, there have been three confirmed deaths and 6100 [reported] injuries. Wow. Surprise? Not really. As of 1988, JARTS (or lawn darts) were banned and yet they still exist in one form or another.
Apparently, John’s tale was one that pretty much summed up how the worst of the injuries happened. He was lucky it didn’t turn out worse than it did. On one not-so-funny occasion, a girl named Michelle Snow was hit in the head by a dart while playing with one of her dolls which killed her instantly. The dart was said to have penetrated her skull with the force of 23,000 pounds per square inch.
I have no idea how much force this is. For all I know, this is the amount of force I use when I “beat the beat” (that’s a Jersey Shore reference). To put the 23,000 number in perspective, a crocodile, known for having the strongest ‘death grip’, has the bite strength equivalent of 2,000 lbs per square inch where, comparatively, humans bite at a paltry 100 lbs per square inch. If I remember correctly from my physics class at the local community college, and I’m sure it’s waaaay off, that would be like having ten crocodiles crunching down on your head at the same time… give or take.
I found this concept design for a new JART game they weren’t able to pull off due to the ban.
It’s a shame. I would have loved to play Dodge Jarts. Nothing would have gotten the adrenaline going more than trying to dodge fast pointy flying things. Look at it this way, if you come out alive, you’ll come out a winner (by natural selection’s standard). One can only dream.
Until Next Time!