Thursday, June 28, 2007

Warning: Rant Ahead

Every so often someone sends me this e-mail that's been circulating for years, about those of us who were born between 1930 and 1979, and how we did all these dangerous things like ride in the back of a pickup or without seatbelts and ate white bread and Kool-Aid without getting fat and crap like that.

I HATE that e-mail with the passion of a million fiery suns.

Yeah, people rode in the backs of pickups thirty years ago. And there were millions fewer cars on the roads, and drivers actually obeyed the 25-mph speed limit. Didn't wear seatbelts? Let me tell you about my cousin's cousin and how he went through the back window and almost lost his leg. And did lose his friend. You think the unsafe things we did had no repercussions? Why do you think they changed?

We "survived" having mothers who smoke or drank while they were pregnant--oh, except those who DIED or were born with defects or serious illnesses. I guess you still call it "survival" even if you had to undergo surgeries and developmental delays and all manner of terrible things. Crack babies "survive," too. We don't imply that it's FINE for pregnant woment to do crack.

We slept in cribs with lead-based paints...hey, maybe the person who wrote this ate the lead paint and that's why their IQ is so low!

We rode bikes without helmets. Yep, and my cousin cracked his skull open--I bet that was worth it--and my brother STILL has to have work on the teeth he broke twenty years ago.

THINGS CHANGE. And I am so sick of the implication that my kids are living a worse life than my parents did just because we don't necessarily do things the same way.

If things were so much better then, why don't you just go back to that time? Regress your life to the way you lived then. You know what that means?

Get rid of your stupid e-mail.


Erica Orloff said...


What REALLY galls me is that the "good old days" meant white water fountains and "colored" ones. It meant African-Americans riding on the back of the bus. It meant women were routinely demeaned on the job, that sexual harassment wasn't spoken about and was implicitly "ok" (or at least something you didn't make noise about). I could go ON and ON and on. Gay people forced in the closet, interacial couples forbidden to marry in certain states. You get the idea.

Are there problems today? Yeah. I wish times were simpler once in a while. I don't love all the negative rap music, AIDS, world crises, or what the media chooses to focus on sometimes. But I do not delude myself that the good old days were all that great--most especially if you were a minority.


Natalie Damschroder said...

Hear hear, Erica!

Admittedly the e-mail dealt only with superficial and specific things (like drinking out of the garden hose instead of bottled water), not those more serious global issues.

But I've always felt that there was no "Golden Age." Every time period has its good things and its bad things. We're better off just living in the times we're in instead of trying to glorify the past.