Lin, What Were Things Like When You Were A Kid? (Lin's Bin)

Wooden school desks were so sturdy that you could save yourself from thermonuclear war by hiding underneath them.

November 27, 2018

Cameron asked,

Lin, what were things like when you were a kid.


What were things like when I was a kid?

They were different.

Our snow boots had metal clips that jangled when we walked.

And we wore soggy woolen mittens to make snowballs that we threw at anything that moved.  Alley cats.  My brother David and his friend Phillip.  School buses. Station wagons.  And trucks.  We hid behind parked cars with stockpiles.  Any vehicle that ventured down the street would think their carpool had landed on the beaches of Normandy.

Occasionally, a snowball would slip through an open window and we’d see the brake lights.

Have you ever been chased by a truck driver on amphetamines?

When I was a kid, they were allowed to kill kids who threw snowballs. 

When I was a kid, no one picked up after their dog so we spent a lot of time with sticks trying to scrape dog smears from the ridges of our sneakers.

When I was a kid, we walked to school by a triangular traffic island where everyone in the neighborhood walked their dogs.  It was an island more feared than the island of lost souls.  It was a grass knoll more storied than any patch of land in Dallas.  It was Doody Island.

You gave doody island a wide berth because a random shove by a bully and you were tiptoeing threw a steaming mine field.

When I was a kid, you couldn’t say 'doody' on the radio, but you could watch a tv show called Howdy Doody.

It was a strange world.

You had to really hate a television show to change the channel because there were no remote controls.  And if you did get up and change the channel, you had only five choices.

Street gangs frightened us because they knew how to dance and sing.

A Wonder Bread bologna sandwich with a piece of American cheese was a nutritious lunch.

You had to wait an hour after lunch before swimming because if you went swimming too soon you would suffer crippling stomach cramps and drown.

I think it was the bologna.

Baseball bats were made of wood and rarely broke. 

When I was a kid no one wore jeans to school and when your mom bought you new jeans they were so stiff that you ran like your legs were in splints.

Wooden school desks were so sturdy that you could save yourself from thermonuclear war by hiding underneath them.

Vegetables were cultivated in deep freezers and after 30 minutes in boiling water they all pretty much tasted the same.

Succotash was a vegetable medley that was used to interrogate Russian spies.

The best commercials advertised cigarettes so everyone smoked everywhere.

Telephones were attached to the wall and when they rang people would jump over each other to answer them.

There were no computers or Xbox or Playstation so we often went to a place called “outside.”

Outside.  Where the sidewalks, schoolyards, and playgrounds seethed with kids.  Where cigarette smoke filtered the sunlight and teenagers spread Johnson’s baby oil on their bodies instead of sunscreen and kids rode in large metal cars without seatbelts and doctors came to your house when you were sick.

When I was a kid, people looked forward not backwards.

When I was a kid

There were dutch elm trees and DDT and dinosaurs roamed the earth.