Sunday, May 16, 2010

Oh It's Like That Now

During one of my many deep talks with the illustrious and praiseworthy 18th Letter, she confided that she's not a big fan of her school lunches. She has catered meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which she likes, and Fridays are Pizza Day, also agreeable, but on Mondays and Wednesdays the fare her grandfather prepares is, according to her, lacking. So we held an ad hoc bull session, kicked around some ideas vis a vis how she might further enjoy her déjeuner.

Soup and pasta were out; it seems that, if you're a kid in the first grade, taking a Thermos to school for lunch these days is akin to owning a Sega Master System rather than a Nintendo. Eventually, as things naturally do, talk turned to sandwiches. The following dialogue ensued:

18th Letter: I like sandwiches.

Me: Everybody does.

18th Letter: Especially ants!

But what kind of sandwich? Ham and cheese, as faithful as that geyser in Yellowstone? Tuna and mayo, also a reliable standard? Or, how could I forget, PB&J?

The 18th Letter looked at me as though I'd suggested she take a gun or a bag of crack to school. Anything containing peanuts, she explained, is verboten; and the "law," as I hear, is strictly enforced. I pictured kids getting patted down before entering school, handcuffs slapped on the wrists of ne'er-do-wells venturing to sneak inside a Snickers, or, talk about contraband, a Reese Cup.

This shit has gotten a little out of hand, hasn't it? I have a bee-sting allergy, so I'm an advocate for awareness when it comes to life-threatening allergies, but there's a fine line between awareness and outright paranoia/scare mongering. It's gotten so bad that the 18th Letter twice asked me if the food she was going to eat contained nuts. (Keep in mind that she has no allergies except for homework on Sunday nights.) The first time it was a brownie she put on her plate at a buffet last week, the second time after I bought her a chocolate bar to benefit a charity for missing children and adults.

Forgive my language again, but she's picking this shit up at school, I'm sure, and it isn't from her classmates.

That's not even the worst of your favorite blogger's favorite daughter's fears: she's terrified of lightning storms, convinced she'll be electrocuted; and, according to her, you can die choking on blood from a nosebleed.

To quote the Bard (in this case the Bard is Biggie Smalls), things done changed. Kids these days are scared because the adults they're around are scared. Parents, teachers, astronauts. You don't have to be Dr. Spock, Dr. Phil, or Doctor Strange to figure it out: adults in the modern age, largely, have no idea how to rear their children. And child caretakers know even less.

It's a society of compounded fear. There's a reason why children eventually become adults, and it has nothing to do with nursing or coddling. Kids are resilient; that's why they're called kids, if I can borrow from David Mamet. They will figure it out for themselves.

This trend of overwrought protection, where kids are trapped from developing as humans and instead treated as purses that might get stolen, needs to end.

End. Fin. 끝.

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