An Argument for Psycho Control- and Workouts for Kids

gun control

One (very rare, may I add) positive to come out of the Obama administration was that his ineptitude and usurpation of Americans’ rights made me very much more aware of my both my first and second amendment rights.  I never dreamed five years ago that I would ever want to own a gun, let alone apply for concealed carry.

Times have changed.


I don’t feel safe going anywhere after dark.  That’s not necessarily Obama’s fault, because the neighborhood where I work has been going downhill for years, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt on that one. I don’t feel safe going out after dark because there are crazy people out there. If the crazy people have guns, then why do I want to be unarmed?  Doesn’t it make more sense not only for me to be armed, but also for me to know how to use a firearm correctly?

This morning there was a shootout just down the road– in the WalMart I’m afraid to set foot in, no less.  The shooter shot a little kid, a woman while she was sitting in the dentist’s chair, (?) and a cop.  Shooting the cop got him killed- and saved the taxpayers some money- at any rate.  I don’t like to see people get killed, but shooting a cop is just plain asking for it.

I don’t blame the firearm, or even the fact that this guy had access to one.  I blame him and him alone.  Triggers don’t pull themselves.

Gun control is holding on with both hands.  Psycho control is what we need in this world, and unfortunately in the trees of civilization, there are more than a few fruits and nuts.


Really?  Where’s your mother?  In the rhino cage?  That explains it!

When I was growing up (in a rural, poor area…) there were no fat kids, except one.  That was Scottie-Scottie Two By Four.  You know the rest of the rhyme- “couldn’t get through the bathroom door/so he did it on the floor/licked it up and did some more/Fatty-Fatty two-by-four”  In middle school he was well over 200#.  This poor kid was harassed so relentlessly that the summer between seventh and eighth grade he went to football camp, as well as he went on a crash diet and lost well near 7o#.  By the beginning of eighth grade he was still big, but it wasn’t fat any more.  The coaches had ran it all off of him.  His parents were lard asses, which probably explains how he got so large- Daddy was about 400# and Mommy wasn’t far behind.  Yes, the kids made some serious jokes about Scottie’s Mom and Dad having to do the wild thing on a steel reinforced mattress.   There was also much speculation that they had to go out in the garage to do it because the floors in their house couldn’t take it.  I don’t know if that was true or not.  Some things are just not worth finding out.


The apple usually doesn’t fall far from the tree.

But most of us kids were thin according to today’s standards.  Even though I was never allowed to play organized sports after I had rheumatic fever, (and nobody wanted me to before, because I sucked,) I still got lots of exercise.  Self preservation is a good workout motivator.

My Mom liked to lock us outside and turn up the TV when she’d had enough, or just when she was spaz, which was a good deal of the time.  Although I was never a fast runner, I was good at hiding. I had to work to avoid getting my ass kicked.

ignore your kids

One of my favorite hiding places was with the Rottweiler down the street.  I wasn’t afraid of him, even though he wasn’t always terribly clean, and his fleas had no problem biting me too.  The other kids were terrified of him.  Ass kicking or flea bites?  Most of the time I took my chances with the unauthorized insect life.  Mom really didn’t like it when I came home eaten to death with flea bites, and smelling like dog shit, but at least it wasn’t blood and broken bones. I did manage to get through childhood without breaking anything.  I did get blood poisoning from scrapes, cuts, splinters and so forth, a few times though.

old bike

You put it together with whatever pieces you could scrounge.

Your bike was your transportation.  Mom didn’t get a driver’s license until I was 12 years old, and even though the state of Ohio thinks she’s cool to drive, I’ll beg to differ.  Riding a bike was safer on many levels than riding with Mom, even though there is a good deal of comic relief to be gleaned from her chronic road rage.

It’s sad but true- my son learned how to fly the one finger salute (age 5) by watching my mother road rage.

one finger

Thanks, Mom!

Now people don’t let kids ride their bikes unless they have so much protective gear on that they look like the freaking Transformers.  And then they can only ride their bikes on the designated bike path, never on makeshift BMX trails in the woods or back along where the railroad tracks used to be.

bike gear

Welcome to the Thunderdome!  Oh, I was just riding my bike down to the carry out?  Really?

I think part of the reason why kids of my generation got plenty of exercise is that we were pretty much left outside to fend for ourselves most of the time.  Most of our families were poor.  Most of our families had two or more kids, so if one went missing, it’s one less mouth to feed.  Oh, well.   Now people treat their kids in much the same way as some of the poor dogs I see in the vet’s office.   They mollycoddle, indulge and literally “love” them to death.


It is cruel to let a dog get this fat.

Science is on my side here: obesity kills dogs.  It’s a proven fact, and since a dog lives about 15 years give or take, it’s easy to see what happens when dogs are allowed to be hugely fat.  But there are people out there who just can’t see the correlation, that overfeeding and under-exercising their dogs takes years off their dogs’ lives.  Every time I take one of my girls to the vet’s office, I see obese dogs suffering from preventable health problems.  The vet sees it too and it has to really bother her.

Perhaps people are viewing their kids not as liabilities or money pits, but as pampered pets.  I don’t know which mindset is worse- leaving kids to their own devices and out to the wolves, or mollycoddling and indulging them.

Kids have to get out and get dirty.  Kids have to have limits.  One Klondike bar once a week is fine.  Three after dinner is way too much.

Maybe if we could worry less about the psychos in our midst, we could let kids go out and play and be kids and not feel as if we have to indulge their every whim.

Candy Coated History, Middle Age Cowardice, and Don’t Call Me by My Name

I don’t remember seeing anything remotely like this anywhere in Marion, but then this postcard likely was from the early 20th century.  There were some most beautiful parks and avenues there back in the day, but by the time I was capable of conscious thought the decline was well underway. 

Perhaps I am as guilty as anyone else of viewing the past through a rose-colored lens.  There were definitely aspects of my past that completely sucked and I am the first to admit it.  Even so, I can’t help but to think there is something wired into our brains to make us see the past with a more positive slant that it deserves. 

The grass was greener/ The light was brighter/ With friends surrounded/The nights of wonder” – Pink Floyd- “High Hopes”

I don’t think the grass or the light have been doing the changing.  I am the one who has changed.  My vision is dimming.  I don’t get to see the friends who were so much a part of my world, and as far as “nights of wonder” go, suffice to say that it’s been a very long time.  Way too long, even though I know that love is an illusion.  The moment was sweet, but the requiem is long and bitter and loaded with longing and regret. 

The suckiest thing about middle age is that it’s so easy to become blase and jaded.  I have to admit that’s partially my own fault, because I do tend to be guarded.  The drawback of safety is that it’s not all that much fun, but when you’ve been wounded in the ways I’ve been, stepping out and taking chances beyond the cycle of daily routine is terrifying.  I’ve seen more than enough rejection and failure in my lifetime, and that fear makes me wary.

Anything worth doing is worth sacrificing everything for.  I could only pray that I could get to the point where I could love without fear and where I could garner the courage to stand and not be tempted to run back to the ivory tower at every hint of a threat.  I am not even remotely close to that goal.

I’m a coward.  I admit it.  I’m afraid to fail.  I’m afraid to face up to my own inadequacies.  I’m afraid to stand up to those who would control me.  I put up with a lot of crap I shouldn’t because I’m afraid to stand my ground even when I know I’m right. 

I don’t have an easy answer.  In fact, I don’t have an answer at all. 

At one time I used to believe that if only I had enough money I could solve all my problems.  I think that’s the biggest lie that society attempts to drill into people’s heads.  Although I would have a lot less stress if I were in a better financial situation, money only buys one the misery one likes the best.  I see all these celebrities in the news and they are more screwed up than I am- in spite of their money, influence and power.  I don’t think I would refuse money if I would ever have the good fortune to come into it (it would be nice to go on a Cougar Cruise, it would be lovely to have all my superfluous body hair removed, as well as it would be nice to have an indoor pool) but I will still be the same unlovely, awkward, geeky kid that no one likes and everyone makes fun of.   I may not do much for the betterment of society, although if you stick around long enough, I may expand your vocabulary.

On the brighter side, I’m not much of a social butterfly to begin with.

One thing that does bother me about kids is they don’t show much respect toward their elders.  Granted, a lot of elders don’t deserve a whole lot of respect, but it’s the principle.  I can’t remember ever referring to adults by their first names when I was a kid.  So-and-so’s mother was always “Mrs. Johnson,” never “Gladys,” or whatever her first name was, even if you knew her first name.  Kids simply did not address adults by their first names.  Steve-o’s friends generally just referred to me as, “Hey, You,” or if they were feeling really formal, “Hey, Stephan’s Mom.”  I can only remember one of them referring to me as “Mrs. Price,” and I think that was only because he was in front of his mother. 

In some ways I can see where it would be confusing for kids because most of them don’t have the same last name as the parental units they are currently habitating with. They can’t assume that because Jeremy’s last name is Wilson that his Mom’s last name is Wilson.  Her last name could be Fartknocker, or Sanchez, or Wang,  for all the poor kids know, and she might be on Jeremy’s Step Dad #4.  I guess one can’t expect the kids to keep the other kids’ parents’ last names straight.  There are days when I’m lucky to remember my own name, but I have the advantage of being able to use my advanced age as an excuse for memory loss.

I guess I don’t care what the kids call me (one of Steve-o’s friends refers to me simply as “The Cougar”) as long as they pretty much abide by my rules and stay civil in my house.  Empty your ashtrays,  dispose of your Mountain Dew bottles and used prophylactics in the proper manner, and I’ll have no real problems with you whether you can remember my name or not.  I’ve never liked my first name, and being called Mrs. anything  just reminds me a.) that I’m old, and b.) to remind myself that I’m not my mother-in-law. 

It’s easier to say it than to live by it, but when all is said and done, the greater part of humanity is cordially invited to kiss my behind.  I know it’s human nature to seek approval, but it’s my nature to be selective regarding whose approval I care about seeking.

Experience is a Most Effective Teacher, “Go Find Yourself” and Think About a Road Trip

I think today’s kids (i.e. Steve-o’s age and younger) are mollycoddled way too much.  For Steve-o it’s a major crisis if his phone battery goes dead.  I never had a cell phone until the late 1990’s and even today I consider it sort of a mixed blessing.  No one needs to be able to contact me 24/7 except for God, and He has infinite ways at His discretion to get my attention should He wish to.   There are times I have to just turn the damned thing on “silence all” and let the voice mail get it.  Most of the time I’d rather not talk to anyone because I have to do enough of that at work.

Back in the dark ages of the 70’s and 80’s there were certain things that were inevitable if you were a kid- at least a poor kid growing up in a Midwestern backwater, that is.  I have to qualify that.  I’m sure that there were rich kids who never had to endure hand-me-down clothes or eating leftover tuna casserole over burnt mashed potatoes and/or Cream of Wheat for dinner three or four days a week, but I wasn’t one of the lucky ones.  I wasn’t even lucky enough to be an only child or to have my own room.

Nobody wore helmets to roller skate or ride bikes.  The only kids who had helmets were boys who played football.   No one thought twice about climbing trees.  My sisters climbed the TV antenna (Dad left it up even after he got cable, for some unknown reason) to go on the roof and sunbathe. Nobody used seatbelts, let alone car seats for kids.  If Mom rear-ended someone and you went through the windshield that was tough titty.  Mom did roll one of her cars when she had the dog with her- Mom was unhurt, the car had a few scratches, but the poor dog ended up with three broken ribs where Mom landed on her.   The dog lived for another 12 years after that, but she never liked being with Mom in the car again.  To put it in perspective, I put my dogs in harnesses and belt them in the back seat.   I blame the Toyota automotive safety training I took years ago where you had to watch crash test videos as part of said training.  It’s amazing to see just how far a seventy pound child in the back seat can be thrown out the windshield.  That visual changed my perspective, (I’ve seen a lot of real live body shop carnage in my time too,) but back then nobody gave it a second thought.  Kids would routinely ride around in pickup beds.

Back in the day you had to learn by experience, i.e. by screwing up.  I must have learned a lot because I screwed up a lot.  The pity is not so much in screwing up but in one’s reaction to it.  Ignorance is screwing up because one doesn’t know any better.  Stupidity is screwing up in the same manner over and over again without learning something from all the repetitive failures. 

Kids today are not given the permission to fail.  I know that sounds sort of twisted, but in our desperation to protect them from the evils we had to live through, we end up shielding them from the experiences they need to learn. 

Steve-o has absolutely no idea what it is to go a day without cellular service, cable, high speed internet, and an endless river of Mountain Dew.  He’s never had to wear anyone else’s old clothes with the exception of his early teen years when he grew from 5’5″ to 6’1″ within a year and a half and I had to buy his clothes at the Goodwill because he outgrew them so fast.  I am not going to buy a kid a new pair of pants (at $40-$70 a pop) that he will outgrow in a month or two.  He screamed and cried about it until I threatened to send him to school in my clothes.  I don’t think capris have ever been in style for men, and there is a lot of pink in my wardrobe.

They don’t get the experience that we had at an early age, save in the areas of premarital sex and experimenting with drugs.  I am sad to report that Steve-o has probably seen more carnal action in his 19 years than I have seen in almost 42.  He doesn’t care much for drink and drugs (thank God for small favors.)  I liked the booze and the homegrown back in the day, but for the past 15+ years my track record of overall clean living would make any temperance crusader proud.  As far as having to learn the hard way the value of a dollar by having to work shitty jobs with evil managers and impossible working conditions, they have no experience at all.  I don’t think Steve-o has ever had to scrub a toilet or scrape down a filthy floor.  I know damned well he never did either of those things at home. (Shame on Jerry’s poor example of  “you’re a man, and housework is for women” attitude- I couldn’t get Steve-o to lift a finger on household chores even when he was a little kid and should have been doing them!)   Society doesn’t help the situation, as it expects us old codgers to indulge their extended adolescence (no I am NOT supporting him until he is 26- supporting him at 19 is bad enough) which I say is complete and utter bullshit.  Then again, he has not been in any rush to go down and sign up at the plasma center to earn a few bucks, even though he should know Dad is just trying to scare him by telling him you can get the AIDS from selling plasma.

Grandpa (Mom’s -technically- stepdad, although I always thought of him as my Grandpa) always used to joke about people going off to “find themselves.”  He would always say, “Why do you have to go find yourself?  Can’t you see that you’re right here?” Grandpa was from Norfolk, Virginia (complete with the Foghorn Leghorn accent) and was the perfect example of the ultra conservative, cultured Southern gentleman.  He had a rather pithy sense of humor, which made conversation with him most entertaining. 

In the literal sense Grandpa was right- you should be able to see what is right in front of your face.  It always used to confound me that seemingly logical individuals would go off on some grand quest only to realize that they had already found what they were looking for before they left.  The irony in this is that sometimes people (me included) keep on looking when they have already found what they’ve been looking for.  You don’t always find the object of a search in the last place you looked.  Sometimes you find it, don’t realize it, and keep on looking anyway.   Irony turns to tragedy when you finally realize that you did find what you were looking for, but when you try to go back to where it was it’s gone again.  Sounds like the story of my life.  Then again, hindsight is 20/20.

I would so enjoy a road trip right now, but the closest I’m going to get today is making it home and possibly to Kroger’s because there is no food in the house.  I don’t need Jerry’s “no food” rant again tonight.

Man I would love to have another 72 Super Beetle, even though air cooled VW’s are not the vehicle of choice in Central Ohio in the winter.