Safety is Overrated

I miss the death trap experiences of my childhood.  Easy to say now, since I’m alive.  Yet I’ve had about 100 conversations over the years with other survivors of the 60s and 70s when OSHA hadn’t gotten us all nervous, and not a one of us can think of anyone who didn’t progress from the pre-K group photo into the kindergarten group photo because we 45-pound-wonders weren’t sitting in car seats and “something happened.”

Those were the days:

  • When we bounced around in the “backety-back” of the ginormous station wagons as we barreled down Highway 41 with our ramblin’ man fathers.
  • When we flung each other around, until we threw up, on merry-g0-rounds made of metal, poised over concrete, gravelly concrete even.  And laughed if we fell off.
  • When mothers said, in the morning, “Be home for supper,” and we somehow found a spare hot dog at a friend’s house, or didn’t.
  • When we roller skated in the streets without helmets.
  • When we searched alleys for money and then bought and ate a lot of Lemonheads.
  • When we took dares to climb through barbeque pits and sewers or to swim in 35 degree water.
  • When we licked the exposed coils inside the refrigerator to cool off (ok, that wasn’t a great idea, for my tongue stuck… but I did survive).
  • When we bowled with glass bottles and kickballs.
  • When we threw raw eggs at enemies (and then invited them over to play the next day).
  • When we rode the Gravitron 12 times in a row to see if we could still walk straight.
  • When we ate cases of Wintergreen lifesavers to watch the sparks fly in the dark (was that a myth?  were those the ones?

As my children will tell you, I have a long list of “dumb things I did as a child.”  And most of them were truly, truly dumb. Object lessons in what not to do.

Yet, it worked out okay.  I’m responsible.  I don’t play with matches or run with scissors now.  I survived.  My own children have made it to adulthood.

We have an obsession with keeping everybody safe.  What are we preserving ourselves for?

I love this quote by William Lloyd Garrison: “I have need to be on fire.  I have icebergs to melt.”

A little contained fire never hurt anyone.

~ by Cary on June 22, 2010.

2 Responses to “Safety is Overrated”

  1. Yeah, it was the wintergreen ones.

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