Get Your Safety Freak On


Everyone thinks their parents grew up in the Stone Age but most kids today would be shocked if they knew the details of how their parents were raised. It's amazing any of us survived childhood after drinking water out of the kitchen faucet, the garden hose and the local pond. And back then, if you told anyone you wanted to buy water in a bottle they would keep their children far away from you.

No one eats raw eggs anymore but most of us survived after ingesting countless punch cups of eggnog during the holidays. Caesar salad dressing and hollandaise sauce were made with raw eggs and possibly half of every batch of toll house cookie batter containing raw eggs was consumed from unwashed fingers before the oven was even preheated.

Chemical additives in food prolonged the shelf life of the food and they were viewed as scientific breakthroughs at least until we learned that many of them caused cancer. Kids ate peanut butter sandwiches in the cafeteria at school and planes served peanuts to everybody. If you restricted yourself to eating only organic food you would be dead because there wasn't any unless you grew it yourself in your backyard. But then again, that dirt was probably contaminated anyway.

If the tainted water and raw eggs didn't kill you, the lack of seat belts certainly could have. We rode bikes without helmets and walked to elementary school without adult supervision. Children are much safer now although parents can get into a heap of trouble if they leave their kids in the car while they run into a store.

Birthday parties back in my day were definitely less expensive than the ones I attended with my son. The birthday parties I attended as a child consisted of a cake slapped together from a mix, some red punch from a can and ice cream. Then we would all play a game that involved blindfolding a child, handing her a dart and spinning her in a circle. After she was sufficiently disoriented, she would throw the sharp projectile in whatever direction she wanted in the hopes of hitting a picture of a donkey instead of another child. Whoever came up with that game should have been jailed.

How any of us survived is a miracle when you consider that people smoked all day long, boozed it up at lunch and smeared lead paint all over the inside and the outside of their homes. Kids today cannot imagine a world without big screen color televisions, XBOX, computers or the internet. They can't imagine what we did all day long without those things. On the other hand, I guess most of them haven't ever tried to go down the stairs in a box and that is a good thing. That didn't work out so well for my friend who was sitting in front of me in the box.