Monday, April 21, 2014
And that applies to ANY kid under 15. ANY kid at all.
Kids today are so spoiled. In my day, you had to be a “special” kid like me before the adults would even consider letting you do something as wildly frivolous as running the bases after a game at Wrigley. “Special” kids were the ones who sometimes got “special” treatment, sort of like Make-a-Wish kids.
It never occurred to me to put running the bases after a game at Wrigley on my “special” kid bucket list. It would have been considered a mighty tall order at the time. But maybe the Kiwanis or someone might have arranged it. If so it would have been me, just me, out there pushing my wheelchair around the diamond. Nobody else but me! Or maybe the players would take turns pushing my chair like a relay race. And all the plain old unspecial kids would feel jealous as hell!
But now, in this new era of permissiveness, pretty much any kid can run the bases. All they have to do is show up. And that ups the ante for “special” kids of the 21st Century. If they want to maintain their elevated “special” status, they have to get really creative with their bucket lists. They have to demand an exclusive day at Disneyland where no one is allowed in except them and their VIP entourage. And this “special” day must include a private brunch with Goofy.
It used to be, when I was a criplet, that the purpose of childhood was to prepare children for the misery of adulthood. Thus, all the big obligatory things kids had to do, like going to school and church, had to feel like punishment. In church, the adults lined kids up to eat a piece of our Lord and Savior. And we received a communion wafer that tasted like notebook paper. But why couldn’t the wafers taste like pizza or Oreos or any number of yummy treats? Surely the technology existed to make that happen. It would have given kids something about going to church to look forward to. We could compare notes after communion: “I got pizza! What did you get?” We’d turn it into a competition. You know how kids are about stuff like that. Be the first one to taste all 31 communion wafer flavors! Make a checklist! Kids would have raced each other to church every day to receive communion.
But the adults seemed to believe that if going to school or church was at all satisfying or pleasurable, it would be a grave disservice to the children in their charge. Because if children expected going to church or school to be in some small way pleasurable and satisfying, then, as adults, they might expect going to work to be in some small way pleasurable and satisfying. And that would be setting these children up for profound disappointment.
But when it came to “special” kids, the adults in charge sometimes relaxed and arranged for us to do something fun just for the pure sake of having fun. Maybe they figured we weren’t going to make it to adulthood anyway so there wasn’t any risk that frolicking with frivolity would leave us scarred.
I guess nowadays all kids are automatically granted the status of “special” without even earning it by being crippled. I fear this inevitably means that soon criplets will no longer experience the joy of making all the plain old unspecial kids feel jealous as hell.
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