Wednesday, February 9, 2011

For the fun of it...

Remember when—

Hooking up the old roller-blades and grabbing hold of that rope your brother stole from your dad, and with a wave and a wink, the engine rumbled to life. Those were the days, yeah! Wind in your hair as the Plymouth virile station wagon, crested the hill with legs shaking, adrenaline pumping you screamed for big boy frank to go faster…

And he did!

Frank was the neighborhood go-to-for-anything-guy, and he had a license, well not a real one but a permit that said he could drive with an adult in the car but only in the daytime. No one seemed to mind as the sleepy little town stared on as the crazy kids flew by going 40 miles per hour, cheap roller-blades rattling, teeth grinding and little brother hanging out the window pumping his fist in the air and egging you on to take the jump.

And you did!

Remember the time you bent over holding your gut as you laughed until it hurt, after shooting a bottle rocket at a passing car? Hiding under the long row of bushes in front of your house and gripping a little piece of cut garden hose, with your brother lighting the rocket as you listened to the wheels of the next approaching car bearing down… time ticked on by, but this time it was a police car, but it was too late, no choices only the car and the angry rocket in your hand as your little brother looked on. Turning and aiming the bottle rocket at the car as it passed and in perfect timing the rocket blazed from the hose and hit the back window and brake lights flashed and you thought of running.

And you did!

Remember when it was okay to ride in the back of a pick-up truck as your dad drove down the freeway? Remember when you didn’t have to wear a helmet to ride a bike or sit in a booster seat to the age of 11, or worry about pointing your toy gun at a person—cuz doing that might mean you might accidentally shoot a real person with your cap gun.

Since when did we have to wear a helmet and strap on knee-pads, elbow pads, shin guards, and stuff pillows in our shirt, just to learn to ride a two wheel? Moms faint in horror as their precious little Johnny takes a bite of a Big Mac and drains a Rockstar wondering how the Trans fat will affect their little brains. Save us from more warning labels and car seats, seat belts, restraining straps, safety guards, childproof caps in which the only ones who can open the darn things is the child. Can we not save ourselves from plastic bags, sharp edges, potholes, icy sidewalks, hot coffee, peanuts, food coloring, sugar, fast food, exhaust, cow farts, and the ever-increasing hole in the ozone layer?

Don’t we have enough to worry about without knowing that the entire planet is going to melt because you use hairspray? Saving the world one protective label at a time is much more important. Get on the ball my friend and forget the way it used to be. How we survived is still a mystery, a strange warp in the fabric of the universe.

Or do you remember?

The sound of the ice cream man driving up the block—the smell of a hot summer day and the dust of the high school baseball field. Cold root beer right from the cooler of the 7—11. Warm nights sitting on the roof of your house looking at the billions of stars hoping to see one shoot across the blackness. Walkmans and bubble gum in a pack of baseball cards. Rock and roll and big hair and the city pool.

Was it all just in the imagination of a child or did it really happen? Did life before the XBOX, play station 3 and the WII ever make us happy? How did we ever function or experience a fulfilling childhood without Facebook, twitter and the internet?

But maybe we don’t want to remember—or maybe we can’t.

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