Tuesday, April 19, 2011

wouldn't it be nice

The following was posted on Facebook as a friend's status.  I started to make my own points about each of these fond memories, but I don't have it in me to be that guy to this particular person.  So I'm calling blog fodder and bitching it out here.  Also, it's not about bikes for the most part.
If you grew up on home cooked meals, you rode a bike with no helmet, your parents house was not "child-proof" , you got a whippin' when you misbehaved, had 3 TV channels you got up to change or went outside to turn the antenna, school started with the Pledge of Allegiance, stores were closed on Sunday, you drank water out of a water hose and still turned out okay, re-post this and show that you survived.
I grew up on home cooked meals for the most part.  My mother's repertoire was varied somewhat, and for the most part I'd say it was basically  basic American (USA edition) with a strong southern bent.  I may well know how to cook a lot more things than she ever needed, but what she cooked was always good.  Her own mother apparently was never much of a cook, so my own mother was essentially self taught.  Other than liver night I have no complaints about her cooking.

Yes, I rode a bike with no helmet, and though I've begun to wear one there was some small amount of wanting to fight it on my part.  I hate bike helmets that look like some sort of alien's skull on top of your own.  I feel like I look like a douche in them, and I put off buying a helmet for some time.  Big Brother had a helmet in time to start riding his bike to school, and I'm glad he wears it.  I'm not sure how I feel about the law, but where we live the helmets-on-bicycles law applies to those sixteen and under.

But I do wear a helmet.  I finally visited the skateboard shop and bought a helmet I don't loathe.  I even put one of the stickers the shop guy gave me on the side to attempt to get back some coolness points.  I can heal from a broken arm or leg, but impact induced loss of what little mental accuity I still have because I chose not to wear a helmet is likely a slightly worse blow, no pun intended.

As well as I remember the house I grew up in was not especially child proof, but sensible precautions were taken to care for any children and to guard against the likelihood of dangerous items reaching their hands.  And my own house has been the same way.  I don't have any intention to leave harm lying around in the path of my children, but I also understand that some lessons will be learned the hard way, so I make sure those lessons aren't the truly threatening ones.

You got a whippin?  How do people still glorify this sort of behavior?  I certainly got plenty of them myself, but I've worked really hard not to bring that into my present.  That I've turned out as well as I have in spite of being struck as a child as punishment for misdeeds does not make it okay to continue the tradition of striking kids.

We had more than three channels, and for a few years we did have to get up to change channels.  It involved turning a knob, and sometimes you had to adjust the rabbit ear antenna while barely turning the UHF knob to try to find the kung fu movies.  I appreciate technology and am more than happy to change channels by pushing a button while staying comfortably on the sofa.

Most people I know don't have a problem with the pledge of allegiance, but I do know people who have a problem with the phrase "under god" being a part of it.  I have a problem with that phrase.  It's a way of excluding people, and I think that it's unAmerican.  I don't like it, and I don't think it should be there.  

Stores can close on Sunday or any other day.  The place I work at closes early on Sunday, and a restaurant down the square closes early on Monday.  No one should have to not open on Sunday, and I'll go so far as to say that blue laws should not exist that require certain businesses to not open on Sundays.  The only reason this exists is as a vague nod to religious traditions that many people don't necessarily follow, and it feeds into the system that allows exclusion of people based on religion.

I would probably still drink out of the water hose unless it tasted like water hose, and if I were thirsty enough even that wouldn't matter.

Other things that I like about progress is that there aren't colored water fountains and white water fountains, and you sit on the bus wherever you damn well please.  I like multiple television channels as well as the internet and smart phones and off buttons.  I like that I don't pretend I'm not gay any more.  I also like bobbers, decidedly low tech, as well as vintage bicycles, even older tech.  I like Sriracha a whole lot, which I haven't talked about lately, but I could easily do a blog post on that lovely little bottle of chili sauce.

There's nothing new there really for anyone that actually knows me or has read here for a while.  It's all standard stuff, and I do get why that misty eyed view of the past is so powerful.  I also get that progress for the sake of progress isn't always worth shit.  Maybe it's just me, because this little paragraph shows up periodically, and I hate every time, probably a little more each time than the last.  Hell, why don't we just go back to when we were banging rocks together, when our only real fear was getting gored by the wooly mammoth we planned to hunt as soon as we found one.  That's the life, no traffic, no screaming kids in restaurants, no tail winds from the Mexican we had for lunch, nothing but banging these here rocks and wondering whether I'd ever see the sun again every time a cloud covered it for a moment.


Lynn said...

"Hell, why don't we just go back to when we were banging rocks together"

Lol, I've been thinking about trying the paleo diet so, yeah, banging rocks works for me. Not sure how I feel about being gored by a wooly mammoth though.

JJ Ross said...

Sam, I much prefer our "I come from" meme essays, remember? Yours was so southern and yet it was full of good things, not taking a bent that made me feel the need to qualify or parse, much less object. I hope mine was, too.

Lynn, I saw a PBS program about that paleo diet, based on a real experiment in Britain where a group of enthusiastic people lived outside and ate like animals in the wild for weeks or months. None was very enthusiastic by the end. ;-) -- and the measurable health results were disappointing as I recall. The main effect was ungodly flatulence . . .

Lynn said...

I get those emails all the time - especially from older people. I sometimes wonder if they're still around as older people *because* of seatbelts and what they consider other consumer safety nuisances.

Even though ungodly flatulence is no doubtedly better than the godly kind, it sounds like I should check out that PBS program. Every thing I'm hearing is from happy converts and those selling paleo-books and -vitamins? (Did our primal ancestors take vitamins?) Thanks for the heads-up. :)

JJ Ross said...

Godly flatulence, now there's an image! ;-)