Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Childhood Was Better Than Your Childhood Is

Being a kid a long time ago was way cooler than being a kid today.

I was just thinking how cool it was when I was a kid to go to the store and get a box of cereal that had a prize in the box. IN the box. Not in some warehouse a thousand miles away where you have to send "just 10 UPC labels" to the manufacturer before you could get it. You would open the box, and if you were impatient like me, you would dig around for the prize, which always seemed to be in a little plastic pouch I had assumed existed to make sure the cereal didn't get contaminated by the toy... a purpose that I had defeated by digging through the cereal with my small, probably filthy, kid hands. When I think about it now, I think it must have been so that the cereal didn't get into the toy and mess it up.

Now if you find a "specially marked package" of whatever, it just has some weird code that you have to go online with to see if you have won anything. Most likely you will "win" a coupon for 50 cents off of the thing you just bought. So what you're really winning is a chance to give the company more money, but it's cleverly disguised as a prize. Sorry kids, I had an awesome childhood, where prizes were tangible and satisfying. You are stuck in today, where prizes are meaningless and cool things are unappreciated.

Today, you kids expect your parents to buy you an Xbox or PS3 by the time you stop pooping in your pants, but in my day video games were strange and wonderful things that only your coolest of friends had. We didn't just wake up and play these things we had other things to do, like ride bikes, climb trees, and pretend we were the Ninja Turtles, and after a nice long summer day of ACTUALLY playing stuff in REAL life, using what we used to call: our imaginations, we would go to this friend's house and play on things like the NES or SNES or SEGA Genesis. I remember when there was a time that every department store at the mall had a console station. It was right after the N64 came out and located near the checkout stands this colorful, wonderful child magnet ensured that parents could do their shopping unhindered by fussy kids. There was a 15 minute time limit per turn and the screen was somewhere in the stratosphere, the controller was immovable and we were too short to see all the buttons clearly, but Mario had never looked so lifelike and we were in love.

Technology was amazing, we didn't carry around super computers in our pockets to tell us the answers to every question. We would wonder about things, and then ASK somebody. The internet was this funny idea that someone had and people were struggling to find out if it was even useful. The world was at our fingertips, but it was the literal world, not the digital one. I don't remember expecting the world to be there at my beck and call, I didn't think that I was better than my teacher at school. My recollection concerning threats and comebacks consisted of "my dad could beat up your dad", not "I'm going to sue you".

We used to wait to talk to our friends on the phone until we got our chores done, then we would go over to the wall in the house where the phone lived and we would call our friend to see if they could play. That's right, we used to know our friends' phone numbers, not just punch our index finger at their face and then talk to them. And you know what? It used to be that it didn't bother us to leave a message with someone if they weren't home, or weren't available. When I didn't own a cell phone a few years ago, 20 year-olds were afraid to call my house because what if I didn't answer and they had to talk to someone that wasn't me? Oh no!! Or what if no one answered and they had to leave a message on *Gasp* an ANSWERING MACHINE!
I would ask these people, "what's wrong with leaving a message?"
"Well," they would say, "then someone else might listen to it." What? So?

Do you remember when you were a kid, and you played outside (for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, it's that place where the roof is the sky and there is this bright yellow thing called the Sun) and got your hands dirty climbing trees and playing in the dirt, and then one of the moms in the neighborhood would come out and have a bunch of otter pops and you just went right over and started eating one? You didn't worry that your hands were covered in sap, you didn't even wash your hands, and that otter pop tasted great. You know what I think? I think germs made us healthy. Today, you kids don't get a chance to get covered in dirt and dust and grime cuz you never go outside, and if you touch anything more than once your parents have been brainwashed to sanitize every surface of the house making it impossible for you to get sick. Right? If you never come in contact with a germ, you never get sick. That's what the media are telling us through advertisements. Just use this product to wash your hands/clothes/house and "protect" your family. Well, who doesn't want to protect their family? So what do we all do, rush around frantically killing the germs.

But if you never come in contact with germs you end up with a really wimpy immune system, and when a germ attacks you, you DO get sick, and then you get sick a lot. What we were doing playing outside, eating food with dirty little hands, getting scraped climbing trees, was building an immune system. How in the world are you supposed to train an army to fight if you never tell them what they are supposed to fight, or how?

In a world where everything is just there for you, readily available, ads are over-stimulating and full of garbage, and our parents are hyped up on the latest study about the dangers of things that have been around for eons, I feel that the children of today are being short-changed. I think if you don't know what that phrase means you've been short-changed. (it refers to this green papery notes and cold metallic stuff used for currency, you know, it's like a credit card, but made out of round flat metal, and paper stuff with numbers and dead guys' pictures on it, and how sometimes if you used some of this stuff at the store the cashier accidentally doesn't give you all the leftover stuff, called "change" and that meant you got short-changed)

I was listening the other day to a doctor who was talking about vitamin D and how your body needs it for things your body does. He talked about how when your body is deficient in Vitamin D you run into a lot of problems and it can also lead to many other things not directly controlled by Vitamin D but still affected by it and they weren't good things. Guess what happens when you are outside in bright sunlight for just 20 minutes... Your very own body PRODUCES more vitamin D than you could get if you drank 200 glasses of "Vitamin D" milk. Why do you think your body makes that much vitamin D? Maybe because it's important? This doctor was talking about our society and how we are spending more and more time inside and how we are all so afraid of the sun. We are told by the "Officials" that we need to be careful with the sun or we will get cancer. We need to put sunscreen on our kids and now-a-days you can only buy windows that are "UV Protective" so no sun rays can touch you indoors where we stay all day. He talked about studies being conducted right now trying to see if this lack of Vitamin D in our bodies was influencing any of the conditions we see today, such as the rise in autism or the increase in cancers and so on. It is pretty interesting that we as a society want the easy fix to our problems and we think that comes in a pill. The FDA has done a good job at staying in control of our beliefs on that front. But the funny thing is that the easy fix is just doing the things people have been doing for forever, like going outside and getting some sun. Obviously getting burned is bad, but unless you are allergic to the sun, 20 minutes is not going to burn you. People want to lose weight, but don't want to eat right or exercise... Ok, so how are you planning on doing that, maybe rolling through a cheese grater gauntlet? I'm sure the weight will come right off... Nope just want to sit there and get skinny and attractive with nicely toned muscles. Ok, good luck with that.

Now, your body needs a lot of different things, and my least favorite entity to get the "official" info from is the FDA. They have already decided that a disease can only be cured by a drug and a drug can only be something which they approve and a drug must also be a manufactured chemical compound. This means that doctors are not allowed to "cure" anyone by telling them to eat the right food or go outside or exercise. They can suggest these things but they also have to prescribe a drug to be sure that you get "cured". Now the FDA is deciding what can be called a food. They already decide what chemicals can be used to produce your food, what chemicals can be IN your food, and all the processes used to "purify" your food, and by purify, I mean sterilize. They are even saying that babies should not have mother's milk, because it may contain contaminates that will give the babies allergies and problems in development. Wait, at what point is the milk sitting anywhere long enough to get contaminated by something? It is in one place, and then it's in the baby's tummy. Ta Da! That's as pure as it gets folks. They also say that saturated fats contained in mother's milk are harmful to babies and they shouldn't be digesting it so early. What do they suggest instead? Formulas and pasteurized cow milk. WHAT?! How long have humans been feeding newborns mother's milk? I think since mothers had milk to feed their babies with. So, what the FDA is saying is that nature doesn't know what it's doing and we are much smarter so listen to us. That is BS! Mother's milk contains enzymes that help the baby's digestive system develop so they CAN digest other foods. NATURE made mother's milk with lots of fats, why? so that babies would have the energy to grow! Fats are GOOD for you people! They are the long burning fuel that let you go longer and stronger. They want to feed babies formula and pasteurized milk? What is that about? Formula has a bunch of sugar and some proteins and some vitamins. Nothing you make in a lab is going to beat out what Mother Nature has been doing for, let's see, oh, since the beginning of time. Pasteurized milk is better than raw milk? Have you ever seen a baby cow raised on pasteurized milk? No. And any farmer out there is going to call you a stupid city boy. You know why? Pasteurized milk has had the stuff that goes bad killed so it won't go bad as quickly. This is good for shipping milk to stores and then letting people buy it, but the stuff that goes bad is the stuff that is the most nutrient rich part of the milk. It's the part that is alive and vital to infant growth. It is also better for you than pasteurized milk, but since most of us don't live on a farm and we aren't relying on it like a little calf is for development, then it isn't a big deal for us full grown types. But for babies?! No way! Nature is doing this on purpose, and you know it, so that raises the question, what are the people in the FDA trying to accomplish? Make our babies weaker, earlier, and force everyone to buy drugs for the rest of their lives to "fix" all of the "naturally occurring" maladies we will see in about 5-10 years.

Anyway, back to other things. Kids face a much more complex and desensitizing world full of information, devoid of consequences or discipline from their parents, and powers they ought not have. How can we expect kids to grow up to be good citizens when they know they can get their teacher fired for making them feel bad. Since when has feeling bad been grounds to ruin someone else's life? You're going to feel bad sometimes kids. Try to learn something constructive from the experiences and maybe you won't be such a pig the rest of your life.