Victorian Ephemera, Patent Medicine and Today’s Mollycoddled Offspring

ChildrensElastic-1975-F-208

Here’s a Victorian-era product that probably wouldn’t go over too well today.  Except maybe to NAMBLA members.

I know that knee pads are available for kids today – as well as shin guards, mouth guards and bike helmets- but these I think were designed more to preserve expensive clothing rather than to prevent injury.  One need only examine some Victorian-era playthings to understand that safety wasn’t first. Or fifth.  From the looks of some of that stuff, safety couldn’t have really been considered at all.

I can only imagine the geek factor involved for kids whose mothers required them to wear these, but then again, boys of the Victorian era typically wore those awful little man-capris with knee high socks.  Knee protectors couldn’t make that dreadful fashion too much worse.

rocks and a mace

Screw the pellet gun- let’s just give them rocks and a mace!

Granted, Steve-o had toys, ranging from the innocuous to the deadly.  He had Legos, Thomas the Tank Engine, Power Rangers, those annoying little finger skateboards, a BB gun (I’m still picking BBs out of the walls) and a Zippo (not to be confused with a flashlight.)

He had the latest video games, and a lot of other electronic toys too, but I didn’t want him to simply sit on his ass and watch as it grew huge, so I did allow skateboarding and in-line skating, which were responsible for both times he broke his right arm, once at age 6 and then again at age 11.   I should have stopped at the BMX bike, but even the BMX bike proved quasi-deadly.  Some little ass-pilot at his school decided to jam the rear wheel so the bike wouldn’t move when he went to take off on it. Unfortunately the little ass-pilot behind the engineering of that prank didn’t have much understanding of physics.  Steve-o went to take off on the BMX and as the rear wheel was jammed all 160# of his 14 year old body went over the handlebars and landed square on his mouth- blasting his two front teeth to smithereens, though by some miracle of God sparing his skull.

$3800 (that insurance didn’t cover,) three root canals, and two crowns later, Steve-o was redeemed from a lifetime of Billy-Bob mouth.  I was redeemed from $3800.  I guess the love of money is the root of all evil.  The only thing is, I’ve never been able to hang on to money long enough to fall in love with it, so I’ve not gotten to test the theory.

cat wash

Wrong on many levels, but still cute.

Patent medicines have always fascinated me.  They would have been awesome if they actually worked.  One of my favorites is the wash-the-fat-away soap.  If only one could scrub away the bingo wings and thunder thighs.

wash away fat

Wash away the lard- and eliminate the ravages of time.  What’s in this shit?  Acid?  Flesh eating worms?

Even better are the adjectives used in patent medicine ads to describe overweight people- “corpulent,” “stout,” “too much flesh,” and just plain “fat. “

fat people

Hey!  You!  Lard Ass!  Try this shizzle.  It’ll CURE your fatness!  Or should I say “corpulency” and “stoutness?”

Maybe the fat reducing ideas of the Victorian era were more effective than the potions and fads we try today, but then I would wager there were fewer fat people back then because everything one ate or drank had a good probability of giving one Montezuma’s revenge.  You got to crap your way thin whether you wanted to or not.

constipation wretched

Then again…

Perhaps if you lived on salt pork and corn cobs, constipation may just be an issue.  I have to say that using a bird (presumably that’s a crow) to hawk (pun intended) a constipation remedy is brilliant.  None of nature’s creatures craps more often or in more quantity for its size than birds.  The subliminal is right here: Take these pills and you’ll shit like a bird!

Politically Incorrect Theatre, a Lovely Hiatus, and Welcome to the Gallery of Fashion Don’ts

I know what I want for Christmas! A revolver always makes a lovely gift-to-self, no?

I already have a revolver (and it was a gift to myself) though it’s a Taurus, not a Colt.  I believe in the 2nd Amendment, and packing (i.e. legal concealed-carry) has become a reluctant necessity for some of us.  There are some places and situations that are just plain unsafe for a woman to go alone and unarmed today.  I don’t want to be a victim.  Better to be armed and never have to use it than to need protection and fail to have it.

I don’t believe that packing is the right option for everyone.  I hesitated for a very long time before finally deciding to get gun safety training (and even then it was on my Dad’s insistence) and to get my permit.  Much to my surprise, I discovered that I actually enjoy shooting, and I can hit a target with a .357 a lot better than I thought I could.  The shotgun (I also have a Mossberg 20 gauge) is a bit more of a challenge.  Most people have an easier time with a shotgun vs. a pistol, but go figure, the pistol is more effective for me.  That being said, I do think that no one should even consider owning a firearm until they’ve had general gun safety training.  Even with safety training, it is essential to become intimately acquainted with how your particular firearm works.

No, I did not go on a cruise, gay or otherwise, but I had a nice few days’ away.

The meaning of words can change drastically in the course of a generation or two.  It also used to be possible to entertain kids with a simple puppet show.  Today even the very youngest kids need to be occupied with electronic stimuli.  My granddaughter is five months old and is currently learning to push buttons so they will make noises.  Then again, she also chews on her toes in between bites of cereal and fruit when she eats, so she’s pretty easily entertained- now.  I am curious to see what it will take to entertain her in a year or so.  All I can suggest to Steve-o is that he might want that portable DVD player for the car.   If such a thing had existed when he was in car seats it might have saved me a lot of irritation, if having to listen to Thomas the Tank Engine, Pokémon, and Power Rangers ad nauseam would have been better than his incessant screaming.  That just might be a toss up, though Thomas was a lot less offensive than the damned dinosaur. (I couldn’t handle Barney. Thankfully, Steve-o didn’t care for him either.)

I might just get him that portable DVD the more I think about it.  I’m sure he will love all those various princess, My Little Pony, and Hello Kitty movies- that I’ll make sure she gets.

If you’re watching this swill for the plot, you have Problems.  Just plead that it’s only on so the kid will shut the eff up. Boys, no one will get it that you’re having fantasies about the horses’ hineys.

I had a really fun time with my granddaughter Friday and Saturday.  It’s scary, but she’s already crawling and sitting up and she’s not even six months old yet.  It won’t be long before she is getting into everything and wreaking general havoc.  Yes, grandchildren are the ultimate payback.  Now, Steve-o, you might just start understanding why Mom was so flipping paranoid about so many things.

Of course medical fun is on my agenda a lot more often than I’d like it to be.  Yesterday I got to get another blood draw (had already had one Thursday in anticipation of my Dr.s’ appointment yesterday) because the lab forgot to do the A1C test which is probably the main reason for getting my blood tested every three months to begin with.  I think the Dr. and the nurse were more upset about it than I was.  I don’t freak over blood draws, but I know some people do.  The nurse kept on apologizing for having to take my blood again, but it’s really no big deal.  Hopefully I get a three month reprieve on blood draws (until I have to do it before my next appointment in November) but whoop-de-doo.  It really doesn’t bother me anymore. As long as my clothes stay on, medical procedures truly don’t phase me.

This is really all it covers.  For the waist down, you get a paper sheet.  Joy and rapture.  Yeah.

The only Dr. appointment I find unnerving anymore is the paper-nightie one, regardless of who does it. The first time I had it done, (I was 16 and I really wanted to get on the pill, you know… so I went to the county health clinic rather than my family Dr. which turned out to be a Bad Idea,) the guy was a medical student, and he was more than a little rough with things, and that memory has given me the willies about this procedure ever since.   My current gynecologist is excellent- I can do nothing but applaud his repair work that is allowing me to live free of pelvic pain, and even three years later I am so thankful I had the hysterectomy/major repairs.  Although I know I have to get all that checked once a year to make sure the repairs are holding up and to verify that nothing else in that vicinity is screwing up, these days I don’t like taking off my clothes for any purposes other than showering.  I have always found pelvic exams and mammograms to be rather unpleasant, but I’d probably be twisted if I enjoyed it. (Necessary, yes- and guys, you are not off the hook- get that prostate check you’ve been putting off!)

Sunday we took our obligatory trip to the State Fair.  I like to go to the fair, if only to marvel at all the bizarre specimens of humanity.  You don’t have to pay for the freak show at the fair.  The freak show is free- just look around and you’ll get treated to:

Bad Tats-

Isn’t that special?

Completely inadequate coverage:

This looks good- how?

WTF?  On many levels.

Horrible hair designs:

Oh. Dear. Lord.

And completely stupid tat designs such as: (though I’d already included a bad tat, I saw plenty of really bad tats at the fair!)

Even when I have it, I don’t really want to advertise it.

I admit I forgot my camera this year, which really sucks, but I don’t think I’d had the courage to take a pic of the 500 lb she-behemoth snarfing a footlong corn dog in one bite even had the camera been handy.  That image has seared itself into my retinas.  Woof.