Thursday, April 14, 2016

Why Your Childhood Sucked

In a way, this is a rebuttal to the latest blog post everyone is passing around like the shrimp puff and condom plate at a key party: Parenting: Are We Getting A Raw Deal? By Rhonda Stephens. In a way, though, because I like the post. If you haven't read it, please do. It's funny and true and it'll make you hope that Big Jerry and Ginny are enjoying their retirement as you remember fondly your own 70s-style childhood.

And those were truly THE DAYS, weren't they? Freeze tag until the street lights came on. Roller skating everywhere like you were Tootie. Bike riding down to the pond. Accidentally falling in the pond. Picking leeches off your thigh because the pond has leeches. Trick O' Treating in traffic. Getting frostbite from sledding for 8 hours with holes in your hand-me-down boots. Bare knuckle boxing in the street. Giving up on the bare-knuckle thing and picking up some rebar that's just lying around someone's backyard. Playing with rusty power tools at the ol' junkyard. Getting lost in the forest for hours. Getting hit by a car while roller skating. Losing a finger or two in a lawnmower accident.  Walking across the street to avoid the pedophile who stands against his fence all day every day, leering at the children who thumb their noses at him and run away so they don't get caught...by the neighborhood pedophile...who should be in jail, but is just standing there, leering and leaning against the fence until his head leaves a weird greasy stain on the fence like a gross brown halo.

The author in the 70s, wearing Garanimals and playing on a cannon. 


The 70s were great, no doubt, and we are all rightfully proud to have survived the 70s with little more than a few scars, missing digits or limbs, and decades of therapy bills. Seriously. What a RUSH! Ms. Stephens and bloggers like her are right to paint that time with sepia tones, rose tints and Snoopy sno-cone flavors, but it's what they imply that I have I have an issue with. Sometimes they come out and actually say it, but they all imply the same completely wrong sentence fragment: "And we turned out okay." AND WE TURNED OUT OKAY?! Did we? Really? How many of us 70s kids have to start needless wars in Iraq, cause a mortgage crisis that nearly bankrupts the planet earth, greenlight The Swan, found companies like Girls Gone Wild and bands like Nickelback before we admit that maybe we didn't turn out so great? While middle-aged members of men's rights groups troll the Internet looking for rape survivors to harass, a 14 year-old girl has invented an app to wipe out Internet Bullying. While Baldy McPaunch is poisoning the water supply that we need to live, a teen invented a way to clean up all the garbage that our generation dumped in the ocean like tomorrow would never arrive. While millennials are showing up in huge numbers at Bernie Sanders rallies, guess who is voting for Donald Trump? It's not Dakota, Dallas or even Austin. Nope. Trump lost Texas. It's your Candy-Crush addicted, gray-hair covering, Olive-Garden munching Aunt Cindy. Donald muther-humping DRUMPF?! We lost our fingers to lawnmowers and our innocence to greasy-headed pedophiles for DONALD DRUMPF?! Come on, Cind! Get a grip.



So then the blog war began. (Amongst Gen Xers. Millennials don't argue via the four-to-six-paragraph blog post. They take their beefs to Snapchat...where they belong!) We wrote a million blogs about how to raise children who will have enough self-esteem to NOT vote for Donald Trump. We read the blogs written by tenured college professors about the basic skills kids today are missing due to helicopter parenting, and no, the irony of someone entrenched in academia complaining that someone else can't hack it out in the real world is not lost on us, and yes, we concede that helicopter parenting is annoying and that you should make your kid cut the crusts of their own damn sandwich and twelve is too old to still be pushing them on the swings, but maybe these supposedly over-parented kids have some skills that we don't. With the exception of going on a 48 hour, unchaperoned trek through the woods to look at a dead body, a millennial with twelve years of ballet, tap, chess, Hapkido, violin and swimming under their black belts is going to handle any situation better than a twitchy, three-fingered Gen Xer. Let's get real.

At the beginning of her post, Stephens asks: "When did adults start caring whether or not their kids were safe, happy, or popular?" 

I'll tell you when, Rhonda. Right around the time Al Gore told us that we've doomed human civilization for all eternity because we don't like carpooling. We tried it the 70s way. Now let's try Giving A Crap! It can't do any more damage than has already been done. 

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