Sunday, 2 September 2007

e mail meme

At one time I used to receive loads of 'jokes', stories, images (usually sexist, laughing at how stupid men/women are) even prayers on email.
These have died down now - maybe as people have tired ofthese things, or maybe because I rarely responded to the ones sent to me (perhaps everyone else gets as many as they used to) . I think that what they do is kind of 'poke' people, reminding them of who they cpuld interact with if they want to, in the same way as facebook does I suppose. And maybe now a lot of this kind of phatic socialisation and development of in-jokes has transferred to facebook, Bebo and so on and on.

Anyway I got this today:

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids
in the 60's, 70's and early 80's probably shouldn't have survived, because
our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint which was
promptly chewed and licked.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or
cabinets and it was fine to play with pans.

When we rode our bikes, we wore no helmets, just flip-flops and fluorescent
'spokey dokey's' on our wheels.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or airbags - riding in
the passenger seat was a treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle and it tasted the
same. We ate chips, bread and butter pudding and drank fizzy juice with
sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside

We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or can and no-one
actually died from this.

We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then went top speed
down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into
stinging nettles a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and could play all day, as long as we
were back before it got dark. No one was able to reach us and no one minded.

We did not have Play stations or X-Boxes, no video games at all. No 99
channels on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no
personal computers, no DVDs, no Internet chat rooms.

We had friends - we went outside and found them. We played elastics and
rounders, and sometimes that ball really hurt! We fell out of trees, got cut
and broke bones but there were no law suits.
We had full on fist fights but no prosecution followed from other parents.

We played chap-the-door-run-away and were actually afraid of the owners
catching us.

We walked to friends' homes. We also, believe it or not, WALKED to school;
we didn't rely on mummy or daddy to drive us to school, which was just round
the corner.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls.

We rode bikes in packs of 7 and wore our coats by only the hood.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of...they
actually sided with the law.

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem
solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of
innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and
responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all. And you're one of
them. Congratulations!

Pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow as real kids, before
lawyers and government regulated our lives, for our own good.

For those of you who aren't old enough, thought you might like to read about
us. This, my friends, is surprisingly frightening...and it might put a smile
on your face:

The majority of students in universities today were born in 1986...They are
called youth.

They have never heard of We are the World, We are the children, and the
Uptown Girl they know is by Westlife not Billy Joel. They have never heard
of Rick Astley, Bananarama, Nena Cherry or Belinda Carlisle.

For them, there has always been only one Germany and one Vietnam. AIDS has
existed since they were born. CDs have existed since they were born. Michael
Jackson has always been white. To them John Travolta has always been round
in shape and they can't imagine how this fat guy could be a god of dance.
They believe that Charlie's Angels and Mission Impossible are films from
last year. They can never imagine life before computers. They'll never have
pretended to be the A Team, RedHand Gang or the Famous Five. They'll never
have applied to be on Jim'll Fix It or Why Don't You. They can't believe a
black and white television ever existed. And they will never understand how
we could leave the house without a mobile phone.

Now let's check if we're getting old...

1. You understand what was written above and you smile.
2. You need to sleep more, usually until the afternoon, after a night out.
3. Your friends are getting married/already married.
4. You are always surprised to see small children playing comfortably with
5. When you see teenagers with mobile phones, you shake your head.
6. You remember watching Dirty Den in EastEnders the first time around.
7. You meet your friends from time to time, talking about the good Old days,
repeating again all the funny things you have experience together.
8. Having read this mail, you are thinking of forwarding it to some other
friends because you think they will like it too...

Yes, you're getting old!! :-)

I admit to having quite liked reading this and felt a bit smug and thought 'oh yes!! That's true - especially as I started remembering spending days roller skating while pushing along my old dolls pram filled with stuff.There are myths and tropes about today's kids, yesterday's kids and today's adults. I guess the meme within this whole thing is the one that has persisted over generations which is that in the old days, people had it tougher and it did them good.

Certainly the author of 'Toxic Childhoods' has a rose coloured notion of the past and probably has loadsa conversations about the good old days.

But I am not glad I have thirteen amalgam fillings in my teeth; that my Mum used to cut a hole in the front of my winter shoes to turn them into summer sandals; or that Sundays were so endlessly endlessly boring; or that oneof my junior school teachers smoked in the classroom and that kids got whacked on the hands, legs or face if they did stuff wrong in school. Don't et me wrong, I enjoyed my childhood and it is quite thought provoking getting these kinds of email from time to time. (And it is this that shows my age - I can talk about my childhood and know that it was very very different in so many ways to that of 'kids today'.


brendadada said...

"They have never heard of Rick Astley.."

Poor wee things!

DrJoolz said...

Or Bobbie Gentry.

Kate said...

I liked this post. I found 1970's Kent deeply boring - we were turfed out after lunch to have fresh air and loiter in the excitingly named 'rec', I cycled to school and went to an interminably boring girls grammar where you had to wear ties and hats.
The most exciting thing that ever happened to me was platform shoes.
I am still recovering.

DrJoolz said...

Do you mean recovering from the shoes? Or the boredom? Either way, it is all quite desperate.

Kate said...

I am still recovering from the shoes.
They were suede and blue.
I bought them in Snob (remember Snob?) and they were called Sasha shoes.
I found a similar pair this year by Camper and it was a big moment.

brendadada said...

I remember Snob. Mine were a sort of burgundy colour, and the platforms weren't very high then, but still people nudged each other and pointed in the street.