Tuesday, January 20, 2015

In The Middle

Note to the Reader: I have had a LOT of off-brand Mucinex and am just cold medicine stoned enough that my cousin, Shawn, says I may not make sense.  So bear that in mind - if I'm not making sense, I'm not drunk.  I'm high. On cold medicine.

As you guys may know (or may not know... I'm not sure because, as I may have mentioned, I'm pretty stoned), I really hate this idea of the middle. The notion that there's some middle area between radical sides is the most toxic myth of the modern age.  Well, second most toxic after the one about how Reaganomics were behind a robust economic recovery.  Well, third most toxic after the one about how Reagan caused the fall of the iron curtain.  Well, fourth most... You know what: let's just nutshell it as most toxic aside from any part of the current tea party Reagan mythos.

So it's weird when I find myself wanting to take a middle part anywhere. I like the radical sides.  But I'm gonna move to the middle here; and, like all people who claim the middle, I'm going to feel very smug and self-satisfied about how reasonable and rational I am.

Side One says, "I left the house, jumped on my bike without a helmet and rode around all day and didn't come home until supper and I am so much better of a grown-up than your dumbass helicoptered kids are gonna be."  Side Two says, "Oh my god, that 12 year old is in the car with the windows rolled up in July.  I should probably call the cops."

Look, can't we agree that it's probably a net positive that our babies come home from the hospital in car seats instead of on their mothers laps?  Childhood mortality has gone down quite a bit since the halcyon days of my youth when (this is a true story) a kid broke her arm on the playground in the midst of a P.E. class where we were playing (I swear to the FSM this is true) "Smear the Queer" and the P.E. teacher shook the broken arm and said (just to reiterate: I am not making this up), "You're ok. Walk it off."  It's probably better now that our kids have those rubbery soft things under the jungle gyms and knee pads, etc.  This is a net positive.  This is a good thing.

On the other hand, it's OK for our kids to walk home from school despite the increasingly alarmist news stories about child abductions.  The world is safer now than it was when we were kids.  There's not a boogie man around every corner waiting to snatch our babies away.  And if you think the world is more dangerous now than it was when you were a kid, this is probably because the world always feels safer to a child than it does to a grown-up.

There.  The Middle.  Now that I've written this down it all seems painfully obvious.  But you guys will forgive me because, you know, I have a cold!  The "Smear the Queer" story was pretty good, though, right? I'm pretty sure that it's true.  To be honest, it was 35 years ago and I'm high.  But this is how I remember it.