How Did We Survive?
My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't seem to get food poisoning.
My Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter AND I used to eat it raw sometimes too, but I can't remember getting E-coli.
As children we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a
Our baby cribs, toys and rooms were painted with bright colored lead based paint. We often chewed on the crib, ingesting the paint.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day.
We played dodge ball and sometimes the ball would really hurt.
We played with toy guns, cowboys and Indians, army, cops and robbers, and used our fingers to simulate guns when the toy ones or my BB gun was not available.
We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank sugar soda, but we were never overweight; we were always outside playing.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't, had to learn to deal with disappointment.
Some students weren't as smart as others or didn't work hard so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade.
That generation produced some of the greatest risk-takers and problem solvers. We had the freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring), the term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system.
We all took gym, not PE... and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Ked's (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! I guess PE must be much harder than gym.
Every year, someone taught the whole school a lesson by running in the halls with leather soles on linoleum tile and hitting the wet spot.
How much better off would we be today if we only knew we could have sued the school system. Speaking of school, we all said the pledge and staying in detention after school and caught all sorts of negative attention for the next two weeks. We must have had horribly damaged psyches.
I can't understand it. Schools didn't offer 14 year olds an abortion
or condoms (we wouldn't have known what either was anyway) but they did give us a couple of baby aspirin and cough syrup if we started getting the sniffles.
What an archaic health system we had then. Remember school nurses? Ours wore a hat and everything.
I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself.
I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, PlayStation, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital cable stations.
I must be repressing that memory as I try to rationalize through the denial of the dangers could have befallen us as we trekked off each day about a mile down the road to some guy's vacant 20, built forts out of branches and pieces of plywood, made trails, and fought over who got to be the Lone Ranger.
What was that property owner thinking, letting us play on that lot. He should have been locked up for not putting up a fence around the property, complete with a self-closing gate and an infrared intruder alarm.
Oh yeah... and where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed!
We played king of the hill on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48 cent bottle of mercurochrome and then we got our butt spanked. Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of antibiotics and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat.
We didn't act up at the neighbor's house either because if we did, we got our butt spanked (physical abuse) here too ... and then we got butt spanked again when we got home.
Mom invited the door to door salesman inside for coffee, kids choked down the dust from the gravel driveway while playing with Tonka trucks (remember why Tonka trucks were made tough... it wasn't so that they could take the rough berber in the family room), and Dad drove a car with leaded gas.
Our music had to be left inside when we went out to play and I am sure that I nearly exhausted my imagination a couple of times when we went on two week vacations. I should probably sue the folks now for the danger they put us in when we all slept in campgrounds in the family tent.
Summers were spent behind the push lawnmower and I didn't even know that mowers came with motors until I was 13 and we got one without an automatic blade-stop or an auto-drive.
How sick were my parents?
Of course my parents weren't the only psychos. I recall Donny Reynolds from next-door coming over and doing his tricks on the front stoop just before he fell off.
Little did his Mom know that she could have owned our house. Instead she picked him up and swatted him for being such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amuck.
To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have known that we that we needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes?
We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn't
even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac!
How did we survive?
Feb 25, '03
There's No Such Thing as `Fuzzy Math' In An Airplane Cockpit
By EDWIN A. LOCKE
Andy Brown, hoping to become the third generation in a family of pilots, was excited. This was his first test in a flight simulator in which he was to be copilot of a commercial airliner. He felt good about himself, because unlike his father and grandfather, he had attended schools that practiced the most modern principles of education.
The simulated takeoff from Chicago was routine until the simulated chief pilot suddenly "died" of a heart attack. Andy immediately called the nearest flight center, which advised him to return to Chicago rather than proceed to Denver, the planned destination. Andy became angry. Who were they to tell him what to do? He had been taught since the first grade to defy any authority figures, including his parents, who tried to "limit" his freedom of expression. He decided to keep going.
He proceeded to plot the course to Denver, but he was forced to do it by hand, because the computer had simulated a malfunction. At this point, he started to feel a little uneasy; he had been educated with "fuzzy math," which gave full credit for wrong answers if you seemed to have followed the "right method." He did not worry about exactitude, because all of his teachers had assured him that "you cannot be certain of anything."
Soon the plane entered a simulated storm system, and Andy was forced to fly solely by instruments. This was getting difficult, and Andy started to feel resentment. After all, in school he had never been held to absolute standards. If he failed a test, he was allowed to take it over until he got a good grade. This was so that his
self-esteem would not be threatened. He looked down at his instruments but started to feel confused. One of the instruments was labeled "attitude" and another "altitude." He always had trouble distinguishing similar words, having been trained to read by the whole word method rather than by phonics. The teachers were happy if he got
the "general idea" of what a word was.
At this point Andy felt the need for reassurance. He had always worked in groups at school. In many courses, groups even took the exams as a unit. He never had been held individually responsible for anything. If there was a problem, it was someone else's job to fix it. But there was no one in the plane to consult, only 250 simulated passengers
whose "lives" depended on his skill and judgment.
In desperation, Andy called a control center, but simulated static from the storm made a good connection impossible. He pulled out the flight manuals for help, but they were very long and looked complicated. In school, he never had to actually read a textbook. Class periods and exams often consisted of the students expressing
their feelings about the teachers' feelings about the material.
Andy's carefully cultivated illusion of self-esteem -- based on a lifetime of having met no standards, having acquired no knowledge, having answered no questions requiring objectively correct answers --began to crumble when confronted by an inexorable, if simulated, reality that could not be faked.
The realization slowly hit him that his self-esteem was a sham and that, in fact, he was unfit to function in the real world. Tears began to stream down his face, and he was still crying 10 minutes later when the plane "crashed" into a mountain peak 100 miles south of Denver.
Andy had mastered the core principles of modern education too well. His father and grandfather had been educated the old-fashioned way. They respected their teachers because their teachers taught them something: They taught them to read using phonics; they taught them facts and how to think using facts. The teachers had, and the students
had to meet these standards.
No, this is not a true story and Andy would not get a job with the airlines -- today. But our society is rapidly being populated with Andy Browns. The modern educators' chickens are coming home to roost.
If they become dominant in our society, it will perish just like Andy's 250 simulated passengers -- only the crash this time will be real.
Locke, a professor of management at University of Maryland, is a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute in Marina del Rey, Calif.
Feb 25, '03
AAhhh the good ol' days.
Was my Mom the only Mom to encourage her prepubescent daughter to go outside and lie in the sun all day?? She used to mix baby oil and mercurochrome and I'd use it as suntan oil!
OMG!! To think about it now!!
Maybe I'll sue her for trying to give me skin cancer!! tee hee!
Feb 25, '03
Andy sounds like my husband!