People over 40 should all be dead. According to today’s regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, or maybe even the early 70’s shouldn’t have survived.
- Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint.
- We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, … and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. (Not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.)
- As children, we would ride in cars with no three-point seatbelts or air bags. The coolest was when you got to be in the backseat of the station wagon in the “tailgunner” position.
- Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat. Some trucks even came with seats mounted in the pickup bed – remember the Subaru Brat?
- We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.
- We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we were never fat because we were always outside playing.
- We would crack a raw egg in the blender to make our milkshakes thicker and never died of salmonella poisoning.
- We ate things with peanuts. Lots of peanuts. Lots of peanut butter. We put peanut butter on damn near everything, including vegetables (remember celery with peanut butter and raisins?). Nobody was allergic to them back then. Nobody was allergic to milk or lactose intolerant either.
- If food fell on the floor you’d have to race with the family dog to get to it first. The “Five-second rule” came from beating the dog to it.
- If the burgers were undercooked on the grill it was a good thing, because at least they hadn’t been turned into dried beef briquettes. And any nuggets of uncooked ground beef left over were a bonus treat.
- We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from it.
- We would spend hours building our bikes out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes or trees a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
- We could leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. We played with toy guns, cowboys and Indians, army, cops and robbers, and used our fingers to simulate guns when the toy ones or the BB gun wasn’t available. We were not ridiculed for this play nor thrown out of school, and didn’t all grow up as mass murderers. Most of us grew up with guns in the house and rather than being taught to fear them, we were taught to handle and use them responsibly. You never forget the sting of being shot in the butt with a BB gun!
- We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, cable TV, video tape movies, DVD’s, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal computers, or Internet chat rooms.
- We had real friends! We went outside and found them.
- Some students weren’t as smart as others or didn’t work as hard so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat it. The mere threat of having to go to school next year with your little brother or sister scared us all into making sure we did our homework.
- Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring). You couldn’t get that incomparable feeling of soft, gooey mud squeezing between your toes that smelled worse than the latrine at summer camp.
- We all took gym, not PE… and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Keds (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built-in light reflectors. I can’t recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now. Flunking gym was not an option… even for stupid kids!
- We played dodgeball, and sometimes, the ball would really hurt.
- We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us. Remember accidents?
- We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it.
- We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live inside us forever.
- We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s home and knocked on the door, or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.
- Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment!
- Tests were not adjusted for any reason. Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.
- The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that!
We had the good fortune to grow up as kids before lawyers and government regulated our lives, and this generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors the world has ever seen. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation, entrepreneurship and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
Related: Are you raising a douchebag?