Z Blog – How did we ever survive?
Children are riding in car seats well into their early teens.
They’re wearing helmets not only when they skateboard at actual concrete-and-steel skateparks, but also when they play skateboarding games on their X-boxes. Littler kids, I’m told, are wearing toddler armor when they play with blocks.
A four-year old with the letters of the alphabet branded on his forehead will look funny when he shows up for pre-school, five-and-a-half years after he was put on the waiting list.
Pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat sushi, pork rinds, alligator chops, camel fingers or gefilte fish. Or they’re only supposed to eat sushi, pork rinds, alligator chops, camel fingers and gelfilte fish. Pregnant women aren’t supposed to lift objects that weigh more than 30 pounds even though doing so can give the growing baby a fondness for hard work.
Oh how did today’s adults ever survive childhood? Even living through the perilous 1970s was a miracle. That’s when I was a toddler and car-seats were a sure sign of parental paranoia.
Even into the 1980s, bike helmets were not even something we decided not to wear when we rode to the schoolyard to play tackle football ” also without helmets, or pads, or supervision, or coolers full of water. And this was in the brutal heat of South Florida.
Sure, we probably got dehydrated every Saturday, but there was Gatorade somewhere nearby.
We were a little bit reckless, riding our BMX bikes down the street in rain, doing the occasional wheelie that more than occasionally ended in a disaster of bent spokes and skinned forearms.
We had the bruises, wounds and abrasions to show for it. We probably should have taken a few precautionary measures. We were a bit brazen way back in the unenlightened 1980s, but when did safety turn from a rational practice into borderline fetish?
Seems it’s a type of arrogance to think you’re so special that the world is trying to seriously injure you every step you take or mile you drive or grizzly bear you taunt or canyon you jump on a flaming motorcycle.
Who knows, maybe with a child of my own ” I’m expecting one this month ” I’ll become a safety nut, too. I envision toddler gates not only at the top and bottom of the stairs, but on each step ” along with safety nets along the railing.
I’ll tear up the wood floor and install pillows. I’ll put locks with keypads on every toilet bowl lid. Perhaps the child should live inside an insulated rubber ball ” maybe the whole family should. Maybe we all should.
But even inside a rubber ball, we humans ” us modernists of the West ” would think of something to be afraid of. We’d start wearing helmets inside the rubber ball, just in case we accidentally bounced down the stairs a little too hard.
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