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Official Article

Super Soaking Your Victims

We're quickly approaching the midpoint of summer 2014 and I sadly have yet to blast anyone in the face with a gun.

Now, now, now, hear me out. Yes, it is true that I live in Philadelphia. However, my surrounding environment isn't why I feel an itch to squeeze the closest available trigger (unless, of course, I am on public transportation and my fellow passengers have yet to learn that "inside voice" and "shouting your inner monologue" are, in fact, not one and the same).

Instead, on these sweltering days, the gun I wish to use is one of these:

Since I was born in 1980, I was afforded a very unique opportunity to see water guns grow and mature right along with me.

When I was a very young kid, we had those lame water pistols whose shots were less of a "blast" and more of a "strong trickle." You remember the kind: you would fill it with tap water, plug it with the world's lamest plastic stopper, and use it to have squirt gun battles.

Granted, if you wanted your victims to feel any degree of your watery wrath, they basically had to be within arm's reach of you. We could have just spit at each other. At least we wouldn't run out of ammunition so quickly. Plus we would get better distance.

This all changed once Larami introduced the very first Super Soaker: the Super Soaker 50.

Suddenly, water gun battles were serious business. Since I was a pre-adolescent when they were released, I was ready for more advanced weaponry.

First of all, no longer was water contained in the handle of the gun, where it could easily leak out. Rather, it was in its own TANK. And that tank took a LONG time to fill from the sink. This was some MAJOR ammo we were hauling around.

Speaking of hauling, the Super Soaker was HEAVY (to a scrawny kid like me anyway). I'm surprised that it didn't have kickback. Since I didn't exactly have the best coordination--and since the Super Soaker took BOTH hands to use--I mostly concentrated on unleashing water blasts on large targets that even I couldn't miss like walls, trees, my dad, etc. 

What's more, the Super Soaker was quite advanced. First of all, it had a pump; the more you pumped it, the more pressurized your water stream became and the farther your blast would go. Additionally, you could even adjust the nozzle to control the spray of the water. In field tests involving my younger sisters, I discovered that a very concentrated setting on the nozzle actually managed to sting a bit (and was also worthy of tattling to our mom). 

Just when we budding gun enthusiasts didn't think it could get any better, Larami introduced us to something more:

Wow! This one made the Super Soaker 50 look like our lame squirt guns! I have no idea what XP 105 was supposed to mean, but it certainly sounded cool. Placing nonsensical numbers and letters after otherwise drab names has long been many company's sneaky ways to get bonehead consumers to buy their product.

MANUFACTURER: Here is the latest Ford!


MANUFACTURER: Uh, this is the Ford XXLC-5000!

PUBLIC: We will each take ten!!!

With its two tanks, we would surely develop back problems lugging this one around, not to mention severely deplete our family's water supply each time we filled it up, but these were small, necessary sacrifices. The important part was that we could now theoretically vanquish a forest fire with our latest form of plastic power.

Granted, I extinguished exactly one fire with my Super Soaker XP 105, and it wasn't threatening any forests (although it could have). Rather, the fire was consuming precious tobacco on the end of my grandmother's cigarette.

Never a fan of smoking, I stood a safe distance away from my unassuming grandmother and, with one blast, turned her cigarette into a soggy, smoky mess, hanging limply from her extremely angry scowl.

They say no good deed goes unpunished. My attempts to prolong my grandmother's life by taking a rather direct anti-smoking crusade resulted in my loss of the Super Soaker XP 105 for the remainder of the summer. As my grandmother consciously shaved precious days off of her life by smoking subsequent cigarettes worry-free, one of my hot weather staples sat dormant in a high shelf deep in the back of our family's shed.

As the years wore on, my interest in the Super Soaker line gradually fizzled, like the final few blasts from a near-depleted tank. My summertime desires began to focus more on wooing girls.

Fortunately for today's children, Larami didn't count exclusively on my interest in the Super Soaker brand to stay afloat. The company was ultimately acquired by Hasbro, which continues to crank out Super Soaker brand guns. Today, there are billions of variations, kind of like Land Before Time sequels. 

The most modern Super Soakers all seem to look like something an alien species would attack Captain Kirk with in Star Trek:
Today's Super Soakers have everything from small motors to ice drums. For all I know, they probably ARE capable of fighting forest fires now. I'm surprised Hasbro isn't yet selling fully functional back-mounted fire hydrants.

I honestly do not know how today's kids are operating these things (on those rare occasions that their helicopter parents permit them to go outside, of course). You need an engineering degree to understand what goes into these devices and, by the time most people figure out exactly how to work one, summer is usually over.

Maybe I should have just stuck with squirt guns.
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Vaporman87 Posted on Jul 07, 2014 at 07:07 PM

Just don't use it on your parents. They may not think it was as funny as you.

Fulton4V Posted on Jul 03, 2014 at 04:31 PM

I still have one old super soaker gun at my parents house somewhere. I should hunt for it to see if it works.

Vaporman87 Posted on Jul 03, 2014 at 03:25 PM

I have a feeling these babies will become collector's items. I can foresee another 10 or so years down the road, these being pretty expensive (especially still sealed in the package). Maybe I should buy some now?

shakin steak Posted on Jul 03, 2014 at 02:22 PM

Awesome. I was just thinking about Super Soakers last week and how the neighborhood kids should have some. Apparently the new models take batteries now??? WTH is that! I'll have to go to the store and look at them in person to see if there are any good ones. And I agree, the 50 and 100 still look the best.

MikeCovers Posted on Jul 02, 2014 at 09:10 PM

VAPORMAN87: Seriously, some of those had streams powerful enough to do that! I was almost BEGGING my dad to let me wash his car. And it's a shame that they are today focusing far more on appearances than functionality. I personally see nothing wrong with the "classic" style; even by 2014 standards it still looks pretty awesome.

VKIMO: Thank you! I bet the dogs enjoy it too! You can play AND hydrate them all at once!

Vaporman87 Posted on Jul 02, 2014 at 02:45 PM

I need a few of those Laramis to wash my truck with. lol

vkimo Posted on Jul 02, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Fun article! I picked up a classic Larami 100 about a year ago. More than 20 years old but works great. I just use it to play with the dogs now.

Vaporman87 Posted on Jul 01, 2014 at 07:28 AM

Having 3 young kids, I can tell you firsthand that these new water guns can be so overly complicated it reaches frustration levels. Not to mention it seems like the manufacturers are going more for style and aesthetics than functionality and practicality.

Why would you manufacture a water gun so massive it requires two hands, only to make the water reservoir a tiny clip that holds less liquid than a Capri Sun package? I don't get it.

Still, there are some newer soakers out there that are advanced AND practical AND extremely cool. But I just don't see them ever being as good as those described here.

Thanks Mike!

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