Tuesday, June 23, 2015

'The Last Rebels'

The title of this post is taken from an article at Zero Hedge titled 'The Last Rebels: 25 Things We Did As Kids That Would Get Someone Arrested Today'.  It resonated with me.  The author points out:

With all of the ridiculous new regulations, coddling, and societal mores that seem to be the norm these days, it’s a miracle those of us over 30 survived our childhoods.

Here’s the problem with all of this babying: it creates a society of weenies.

There won’t be more more rebels because this generation has been frightened into submission and apathy through a deliberately orchestrated culture of fear. No one will have faced adventure and lived to greatly embroider the story.

Kids are brainwashed – yes, brainwashed – into believing that the mere thought of a gun means you’re a psychotic killer waiting for a place to rampage.

They are terrified to do anything when they aren’t wrapped up with helmets, knee pads, wrist guards, and other protective gear.

Parents can’t let them go out and be independent or they’re charged with neglect and the children are taken away.

Woe betide any teen who uses a tool like a pocket knife, or heck, even a table knife to cut meat.

Lighting their own fire? Good grief, those parents must either not care of their child is disfigured by 3rd-degree burns over 90% of his body or they’re purposely nurturing a little arsonist.

. . .

“Free range parenting” is all but illegal and childhood is a completely different experience these days.

She then lists 25 things that children routinely did in the 1960's and 1970's, and asks readers how many of them they did.  I've highlighted in yellow those I didn't do, and explained why.  All the rest I remember well - and I'm sure I'd have done the three I didn't do if I'd had the opportunity!  How many did you do?

  1. Riding in the back of an open pick-up truck with a bunch of other kids
  2. Leaving the house after breakfast and not returning until the streetlights came on, at which point, you raced home, ASAP so you didn’t get in trouble
  3. Eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the school cafeteria (the only reason I didn't do this was because we didn't have school cafeterias)
  4. Riding your bike without a helmet
  5. Riding your bike with a buddy on the handlebars, and neither of you wearing helmets
  6. Drinking water from the hose in the yard
  7. Swimming in creeks, rivers, ponds, and lakes (or what they now call *cough* "wild swimming")  (I presume she means skinny-dipping?  Yeah, did that.  Often.)
  8. Climbing trees (One park cut the lower branches from a tree on the playground in case some stalwart child dared to climb them)
  9. Having snowball fights (and accidentally hitting someone you shouldn’t) (the only reason I didn't do this was because we didn't have snow during winter.  I have had lots of mudball fights, though.)
  10. Sledding without enough protective equipment to play a game in the NFL (No snow to sled on - but I did play with home-made go-karts, running them down driveways and some local roads and devil take the hindmost.  Protective gear?  What's that?)
  11. Carrying a pocket knife to school (or having a fishing tackle box with sharp things on school property)
  12. Camping
  13. Throwing rocks at snakes in the river  (and other animals too)
  14. Playing politically incorrect games like Cowboys and Indians
  15. Playing Cops and Robbers with *gasp* toy guns
  16. Pretending to shoot each other with sticks we imagined were guns
  17. Shooting an actual gun or a bow (with *gasp* sharp arrows) at a can on a log, accompanied by our parents who gave us pointers to improve our aim. Heck, there was even a marksmanship club at my high school
  18. Saying the words “gun” or “bang” or “pow pow” (there actually a freakin’ CODE about “playing with invisible guns”)
  19. Working for your pocket money well before your teen years
  20. Taking that money to the store and buying as much penny candy as you could afford, then eating it in one sitting
  21. Eating pop rocks candy and drinking soda, just to prove we were exempt from that urban legend that said our stomachs would explode
  22. Getting so dirty that your mom washed you off with the hose in the yard before letting you come into the house to have a shower
  23. Writing lines for being a jerk at school, either on the board or on paper
  24. Playing “dangerous” games like dodgeball, kickball, tag, whiffle ball, and red rover (The Health Department of New York issued a warning about the “significant risk of injury” from these games)
  25. Walking to school alone  (and riding my bicycle to and from school, alone and unescorted)

There's more at the link.  Recommended reading, if depressing at times.

I suppose it's as Horace complained, a couple of thousand years ago:

Our sires' age was worse than our grandsires'. We, their sons, are more worthless than they; so in our turn we shall give the world a progeny yet more corrupt.

There are many more such complaints about the young here.  (They're funny in retrospect, too.)



kamas716 said...

I've done all of those at one time or another.

I've noticed, at least in my family, each successive generation has gotten a little milder. I may have done all those things, but my Dad used to play hide-and-seek with the cops, raced motorcycles on the ice and on dirt tracks, regularly got into fist fights, sat in the balcony during scary movies while turning his fur-lined gloves inside out to scare the person in front of him, played ice hockey without pads or masks, and even 'hung' his best friend by a noose from a tree one halloween.

One the other hand, my grand-father helped make moonshine and smuggled booze across the border during prohibition and once shot the tassel off another kids stocking cap while the kid was wearing it (great grandpa busted the stock of the rifle over grandpa's butt for that one).

Things have changed.

Bob said...

Hell yeah!

The only one I didn't do was No. 3, no school cafeteria, we brown-bagged our lunches and snacks.

We (in summer) would disappear into the arroyos early in the AM with our machetes, bows and arrow, .22 rifles and .410 shotguns, pocket knives, water canteens and not re-appear until twilight.

Mom's usual admonition: You be home before dark!

Camping? Yes.
Hunting? Yes.
Fishing? Yes.

Helmets? You gotta be kidding.
Knee or elbow pads? Gimme a break.

The list didn't mention rock fights... we got into those also.

Jim said...

My parents would have been arrested for abuse if I'd grown up today.

Chris said...

#23 is the only one I never did - I was always smart enough in how and when I misbehaved that no adult authority ever knew I deserved punishment.

And as for #11, it wasn't a pocket knife... I had a Fairbairn-Sykes in my bag throughout highschool.

Born in 1972, btw.

Anonymous said...

I can carefully present some data from my family that supports Horace. Except maybe for the part about progeny.

The argument also breaks down with great-grand sires. One of my great-grandfathers had some problems.

J. Sullivan said...

The only one I didn't do was #20.

I never cared for penny candy so I spent the money on comic books or squirt guns.

J. Sullivan said...

Heck, now that I'm thinking about it, we used to play war with BB guns. We had a 5 pump limit. Any more than that ( and it was easy to tell!) and you were going to receive a beating.

Anonymous said...

don't think i missed a one plus riding double on a honda 50 while both of us bare carrying 12 ga shotguns.
gotta get to where the ducks are somehow. 16 at the time.

lee n. field said...

Most of them, yes, of course.

Special comments on #1. That, and I at times would ride on the running board of a pickup. (That's what they're for, after all). I also used to drive a farm tractor, on the road, the mile and a half to Grandpa's.

and #14. Japs and Germans, in the mid-60s. (The era when Vic Morrow's Combat was on TeeVee.)

Snoggeramus said...

Pfft. You haven't lived until you've been down a "slip and slide" in summer. It's practically a water slide but without the theme park. Find the side of a hill, roll out a very long piece of plastic sheeting and add water + detergent. Slippery as hell and lots of fun. Grass burns at the end not so much fun ... but we still went back for more.

Murphy's Law said...

I did all 25 regularly as a kid...only instead of penny candy, I bought Hostess Cherry pies. (Back when Hostess was really Hostess.) Used to sit in the phone booth outside the store and eat them.

Ah, phone booths...

Able said...

Done most of those too (or the equivalent for those of us not in the colonies).

#1 No pick-ups here so does the back of a flat-bed count, or a tractor trailer balanced precariously on-top of five or more layers of hay bales?

#2 That and disappearing for the entire weekend into the woods/moors with nothing but one of the dogs, a home-made plastic bag bivi, a 58 water bottle, a few sandwiches (and a precious bar of Kendal Mint Cake) and an air-rifle (bunnies beware).

#3 Peanut butter and jelly? Now that's an Americana – jam sandwiches in soggy over-processed white bread eaten whilst sat outside with a book here (I was a 'brown bagger', only the destitute ate school dinners only vaguely related to food as we know it, with Dinner 'Ladies' with bigger muscles than the PE master and more facial hair than the former Brylcream-boy Maths master and his handlebar).

#9 Accidentally? Having hit every Head-Master and Form teacher I ever had, and a fair number of random post-men, milk-men and one or two Bobbies we'll stick with 'accidental' shall we.

#11 and #24 We were 'required' to do so. Everyone (including the school nurse) carried a pocket knife, and you don't know dangerous games until you've played Rugger (dangerous enough on its own) on the same playing field as another form doing 'athletics' (ie. Throwing the hammer, javelin or discuss).

#17 That and having a former Popskis chemistry master who delighted in showing us the joys of 'things that go boom' (it was a base calumny blaming me for the 'exploding post-box epidemic' although the 'melting telephone box' 'may' have been me).

#20 The local 'sweet shop' owner cried when I joined up and left.

#23 I had 'my own chalk'! (Let's just gloss over the slipper/ruler/cane shall we – I still wince at the thought although I still thank my early exposure to dodging chalk and/or black-board rubbers for 'imagined' infractions for surviving later forces experiences).

All in all I suspect my parents would be locked up as abusers and the school closed as a terrorist training camp today. Sigh!

The funny thing? The young today still 'try' to be rebels, but they do it by getting tatts/piercings, joining protest groups or gaming/skateboarding/etc. …. exactly like 'all' the other teens out there (not to mention the grannies).

Modern youngsters, Rebel, You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means!

dirty dingus said...

One reason I like Japan - particularly rural Japan - is that Free range parenting (a.k.a. what everyone used to do) is alive and well.

You see elementary school kids walking home in flocks with nary an adult in sight, and of course the boys are poking at things in irrigation ditches and getting up to all sorts of other mischief. The girls probably are too but just not as noticeably.

And then as they get older you see waves of them cycling to/from school, sports practice, tutoring classes etc. and playing in the streets and so on.

There are plenty of problems with Japan but at least they aren't quite so paranoid about parenting

Anonymous said...

I think I got them all.
Bob Glass brought his dad 303 Enfield for history class in 8th grade. No police called.
Jumped off moving bikes, motorbikes, horses and one pickup truck.
Mud ball fights and rock fights. Have the scars to prove it.
Jumped off cliffs into a flooded quarry, swam across lakes towing a home made raft at night.
Played Masai warrior and threw spears at each other.
Built tree forts.
Played tackle football and hockey without protective equipment. Have the scars to prove it.
Built bows, arrow, spears, slingshots and traps.
Thought Lord of the Flies was a great book and movie for all the wrong reasons. Come on living on an island hunting pigs with your buddies and no school, what could be better?
Got a black eye in a fight, gave a black eye in a fight.
Giving dares and double dares to do stupid things.
Sword fights with wiffle ball bats and garbage can lids.
Shooting BB guns at each other. We had the same 5 pump rule JS!
Got yelled at for getting grass/mud stains on my new pants, shirt, and/or shoes.
Got chased for throwing snowballs at the wrong people including police cars.

Good time had by all.