When bloggers comment on my posts, it always sparks the need to write a new one. One blogger asked, “How did you survive watching Tom and Jerry as a child and not become a serial killer?” This is due to all the violence in the world. The answer is clear; I was grounded in reality versus fantasy. I turn 53 in June, so I saw the world before it became so high-tech with “virtual” reality. We had a black and white television when I was a child and only thirty minutes of cartoon TV per day after school. We only had three television stations, not including PBS if you could get the reception with rabbit ears and tin foil. This is true, I swear. This is how I was able to be corrupted by Monty Python.
The rest of the time I was kicked out of the house by my mother to go play. My childhood was GREAT! I was allowed to be imaginative (unless it was dangerous). Kids met in the middle of the neighborhood (their moms kicked their butts out too) and we began to play. We played football, basketball, stick ball, popped wheelies on our ten-speeds, flipped out on skateboards, had water balloon wars, picked on GROSS girls, had sleepovers watching falling stars, played cards, etc, etc. We dug deep holes and covered traps, built tree houses, tore apart old things and tried to invent new things. We made plastic models of battleships and tanks in the winter, and blew them up with firecrackers in July. And guess what? We were thin, athletic and could deal with our elders. We did some truly stupid things to get GROSS girls’ attention and we wrote notes to GROSS girls like this one:
Will you go steady with me? Select answer below:
C. If B, please, puhleeze reconsider.
D. Pay no attention to things Susie said about me and select A
E. If B, get ready to be bombed by a water balloon or select A.
F. If B, I’ll ask Diane, your best friend, or select A to save your friendship.
Nothing like giving a GROSS girl options to think about, since they are so complicated anyway. Now we guys always play like we are uninterested. It drives GROSS girls crazy. That was fun too, except when we landed on our backs trying to pop that truly knarly wheelie. Not cool!
Today too many people rarely experience the world except through their digital connections. They walk and look at their smart phones as the real world passes them by. These devices have become the babysitters of many parents, who are more interested in their own “time.” Too many have a distrust of their elders. Too many can only deal with the virtual world, where it is safe, controllable and almost risk-free of hurt feelings. My parents’ friends were more fun than mine. They loved life and being around people of all ages. At times GROSS girls I dated hated that I spent time conversing with their parents.
So as I look back at the times of my youth, I feel somewhat sad for today’s youth. You have been brought up in a period where every thought and action must conform to some sort of political correctness or psychological standard. Your sense of self-worth is dictated more by clothing, music, tattoos, implants, transplants, and gadgets. You have not been given the opportunity to see a world where your neighbors conversed and the neighborhood was the testing ground of your ability to deal with the world and the people in it. Most of the time I didn’t want to go back inside and ignored my calls from my mother. But when my dad whistled, like a tornado siren, I could have qualified for the Olympics 100 meter sprint.
So thanks, again, mom for kicking my butt out of the house. My wife continues that tradition as she tells me to mow the lawn.
By the way, my wife selected “A.”