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Wed, Sep 20, 2017 04:34 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-06-20 life & times
Smile Awhile
Over 35 and still kicking
Sara Hopson
Thanks to my friend, Rita Campbell, I received an interesting e-mail last week about why people over 35 should be dead. Here it is in its entirety; judge for yourself as to whether you think you were one of the lucky ones.

* * *

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 40s, 50s, 60s, or maybe even the early 70s probably shouldn't have survived.

Our baby cribs were covered with bright-colored, lead-based paint. We had no childproof lids or devices on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags, and riding in the back of a pick-up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from a garden hose and not from a bottle. (Horrors!) We ate cupcakes and bread and butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight (except for me) because we were always outside playing. In fact, we shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode 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 would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. (No cell phones. Unthinkable.)

We did not have Play Stations, Nintendo 64, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, video tape movies, surround sound, personal computers, or internet chat rooms. We had friends! We went outside and found them.

We played dodge ball and sometimes the ball would really hurt. We fell out of trees, got cut, and broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us. Remember accidents?

We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it.

We made up games with sticks and rubber balls and ate worms, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes nor did the worms live inside us forever.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them. Little League had try-outs and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.

Some students weren't as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat it. Horrors! Tests were not adjusted for any reason. Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. (And with our teachers if we acted up in school.) Imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk takers, problem solvers, and inventors, ever. The past fifty years have been an explosion of innovative and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success, and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all. If you're one of the over-35 crowd, congratulations on surviving and having had the luck to grow up as kids, before lawyers and government regulated our lives for our own good.

* * *

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, don't it?

And while we're on the subject of being over 35 and beyond (and just in case you weren't feeling too old today already), this will certainly put things into a different perspective.

Each year the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the faculty a sense of the mindset of this year's incoming freshmen. Here's this year's list:

The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1983. They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.

Their lifetime has always included AIDS.

Bottle caps have always been screw-off and plastic.

The CD was introduced the year they were born.

They have always had an answering machine.

They have always had cable.

They cannot fathom not having a remote control.

Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show.

Popcorn has always been cooked in a microwave.

They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.

They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are.

They don't know who Mork was or where he was from.

They never heard "Where's the beef?," "I'd walk a mile for a Camel," or "De plane boss, de plane."

They do not care who shot J.R. and have no idea who J.R. even is.

They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.

* * *

Do you feel old yet?

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