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.

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