And This is What We Call Progress

by Dave on March 24, 2011

in Heartwarming,Reminiscent,Whinging

Editor’s Note: I fully realize that posting email forwards on your blog is the height of laziness – but this is profound and I have to share.

bratty-teenage-girlA little over halfway through my 30s it’s only natural that nostalgia, mortality and violent curmudgeonliness are setting in – which is probably why I’m drawn to these thoughts on how not all “progress” is… actually any sort of progress. I’ve edited this for length and into a list format which also deep-sixes some religious content. And I removed several negative references to movies, cable TV and video games – because that’s just fucking crazy talk. Apologies to the original author, but if you’re that annoyed are you any different from the whiny, lazy and entitled gluttons your original work indirectly bemoans? Let’s get down to the reminiscing…

To Those of Us Born Before 1980

  • First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.
  • We were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.
  • As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes. Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
  • We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.
  • We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And we weren’t overweight. Why? Because we were always outside playing!


“And This is What We Call Progress”–by Montreal’s The Besnard Lakes

  • We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And we were OK.
  • We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
  • We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth – and there were no lawsuits from those accidents..
  • We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.
  • Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment.
  • The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. In fact, they usually sided with the police.
  • These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever. The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
  • We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

What did you think? Seems thematically appropriate after my recent Chris Brown-related “what’s wrong with kids today?!” post [chases lost, crying infant off front lawn while wearing sandals with socks]. Should we wind the clock back on a few of these points? I look forward to your thoughts.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Greg March 27, 2011 at 1:43 pm


Hinesy March 29, 2011 at 9:01 am

It really makes me wonder how my kids are going to turn out. It really sucks that they can’t just go out and play… we have been turned into such over-protective nannies by an overzealous media and the fear of being outed as a parent who doesn’t care as much as the next if we dare to take our eyes off them for a minute.

I’m moving to Canada.

Dave April 9, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Matt – I’ll save you an igloo.

Lauren April 14, 2011 at 1:56 pm

I was born in 1989 and despite only being 21, I could relate to a lot of the things on your list. I spent all summer, and every day after school, playing outside. I wasn’t allowed to watch a lot of t.v., but that was never really an issue because I never had a real desire to sit down in front of the t.v. for hours. I remember I used to think that everything on t.v. was boring, and I dreaded the thought of being stuck inside watching t.v. as opposed to being outside. I also broke my arm climbing a tree, drank from a water hose, played in the sprinkler for hours and got spanked for doing something wrong. If I got in trouble with the law today, I would rather sit in jail then have to face my parents! That’s the way that I want to raise my kids because I turned out more than alright. I’m glad I grew up as I did, because I’m not “soft” as many of the people who are willing to file a lawsuit about everything!

BigSoph April 15, 2011 at 11:23 pm

When the Allies sent the first waves into the hell that was D-Day, many men, drafted men, volunteered. To be in the first wave.
How many of the Corys, Tylers and Justins today could do that?

History Buff June 24, 2011 at 6:21 am

Well the first wave at Normandy (Omaha and Utah) suffered 50% casualties so, statistically, Justin Bieber was more likely to have descended from those who let the brave ones go first. Then again, the guys in the first wave were more popular with women later because women like guys who have a pair. So there should be plenty of descendants of those guys.

Wait a minute. Bieber’s Canadian. They landed at Sword Beach IIRC.

History Buff June 24, 2011 at 6:25 am

The Canadians dared to launch an earlier raid on Dieppe that helped Eisenhower decide to attack Normandy instead of the Calais area. These brave men changed history for the better with their sacrifice. Imagine if there had been a massive Calais Invasion instead of a Normandy Invasion. It would have been a bloodbath.

Does Bieber represent their grandchildren? I don’t know much about him so I can’t say.

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