Sunday, June 19, 2005

My Turn! 

Yet Another Meme:

Believe it or not, I've been thinking about just this topic lately, so I have plenty to say about this one:


1.) Summer Vacation: Yes, this is the same as Caltechgirl's first choice on this meme, but I will expand on what she said.

All movies, TV, books, ect. that state that either Christmas or a birthday is the best day of a kid's year are full of crap.

Any kid (and any grownup who remembers being a kid) will tell you that the one day that stands out from all the other 364 (or 365) days is The Last Day of School.

The Last Day of School was better than being fed peeled grapes while being fanned by a harem of attractive servants. The best part was it a half day! There was no better way to start the summer; everybody knew that by 12:30 they would be blissfully free. Completely free on that day until parents came home at five or so, and also free from school until the Tuesday After Labor Day. When you're in elementary school, Labor Day might as well be the year 2059, it seems so ridiculously far in the future.

Besides being the start of a really long vacation, The Last Day of School was about the closest thing there was to a rite of passage. Sure, the true rite of passage was the upcoming Tuesday After Labor Day when everyone has to learn a new classroom, get used to a new teacher, and collect a whole series of strange new textbooks. That was the hard part. But The Last Day of School was a rite of passage without paying the bill. You could say you were in a new grade without all the responsibilities and trials that came with beginning that new grade. Those would come in September.

I think this is the biggest day to day change in the lives of kids and adults. In school, the passage of time was marked off with yearly precision; you knew when a course of study would begin and end, you could look back over the years and see how you advanced through grades and courses, and everyone's calendar was based off those rhythms of the school year. Regardless of where you went to school or how your life was going, it was a certainty that October would look nothing like July. Even if there was summer school, those classes would be different.

In the grown-up world, days and months can easily blend into years. All of a sudden October does look like July. Work is usually the same day in and day out. A good position will give you three week off per year, in addition to Christmas Vacation, but it still isn't the same. I miss the ebb and flow of the school/college years.

2.) I miss the lack of responsibilities. When the homework and chores were done, you were free. In adulthood, most jobs are 24-7. Even when someone isn't at work, the stress of work is still there. I guess it's just easier for a kid to leave the stresses of life behind.

3.) I miss floating in my old above-ground swimming pool. It was a great place to think and just get away from everything.

4.) I miss being as goofy as I want to be. I'm goofy as a grown-up, but not nearly as much as I would like to be. And what's so wrong about a grown-up playing on a swing, anyway?

5.) I'm saddened by the fact that options narrow over time. I think just about every kid dreams about being an astronaut, cowboy, pro football player, or some other far-out occupation. 99.9 percent of people don't make it. I wish I was back in a time when dreams were unbounded.

And although it isn't a necessary part of the meme, allow me to blather on about the flip side of the coin:

A summary of the forgettable aspects of childhood, from the Calvin & Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book by Bill Watterson. Click on the picture above for an enlarged view.Posted by Hello


1.) Driving. Let's face it; even with God-awful crappy commutes like those which plague the Bay Area, driving is cool. I always wanted to drive as a kid; it gives the type of freedom a kid could only dream of. Bikes were the closest thing, but legs get tired long before cars run out of gas.

2.) Credit cards, ect. Yes, I can be a consumerist whore too. Being able to spend money is cool. Of course, this joy is in direct proportion to one's income, but there is still more freedom to spend than I had as a kid. Now there are twelve-year-olds who have a larger credit limit than I currently have. Still, I think I appreciate being able to spend the money more than that twelve-year-old.

3.) I can leave my bed unmade the whole week if I want to. Enough said.

4.) I am far less likely to be patronized. Grown-ups usually treat kids as if they have some form of severe mental retardation. I hated it, and as an adult I now know what I suspected as a kid: many adults are at least as dumb and immature as children. Ironically, the last group that patronizes me on a routine basis is the government. This is all the more ironic, since many times they have the maturity of a kindergarten playground.

5.) I am more powerful. This is related with the above. Being an adult gives me more of a chance to do great and wonderful things. I have a chance to produce important medicines, to vote and participate in political debates, and to assist in things I believe in.

OK Helen and Bill, you're next. Only the first part of the meme is required. Enjoy.

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