Surviving Childhood


While I was sitting at my desk at work, thinking through a problem, I reached over and absently picked up a rubber band and put it on my wrist. That simple act made me smile. Why? I was instantly reminded of all the things my parents (and grandparents) warned me not to do when I was a child or risk suffering dire consequences. Here are a few of my favorites:

Don’t put rubber bands on your wrists, fingers, or another other part of your body (except to hold your hair up). The risk? You’ll lose circulation and your appendage would fall off.

By all means, keep your hands inside of the car windows at all times. Don’t even think about holding your arm out the window to feel the wind between your fingers as the car speeds down the road. The risk? A truck might (this was a very big “might”) come speeding by and knock your arm right off.

Not only was it impolite to make ugly or goofy faces at someone, it was also dangerous. The risk? Your face might freeze into the twisted, horrible face that you had contorted it into to torment your sibling.

Most people view whistling as a sign of happiness and contentment. After all, didn’t Snow White’s dwarfs whistle while they worked? That argument didn’t hold water where my grandmother was concerned. The risk? A whistling woman and crowing hen will soon come to a no good end. Not my words, my grandmother’s.

Don’t pout. The risk? Someone might (again with “might”) come along and step on your bottom lip (apparently it would be dragging that low).

Eye rolling was particularly dangerous. The risk, you might be wondering? They would get stuck, causing great difficulty in seeing anything other than skull.

Reading with enough light so your parents could see properly meant that it didn’t matter if YOU thought the light was sufficient. The risk? Blindness.

Sitting too close to the television. Blindness.

Staring at the sun. Blindness.

It’s a wonder I survived childhood at all. But thanks to my parents’ and grandparents’ vigilance, I made it with all of my limbs intact, no blindness, and for all intents and purposes, I haven’t met a “no good end”. Whew!

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