Childhood often resulted in survival of the fittest

BY JACK GODBEY

Community columnist

Back before everything was crammed inside a smart phone, I used to enjoy going to the library and reading everything I could get my hands on. As a result, I have retained enough useless information to make anyone at any party regret ever asking me a question.

Want to know the mating habits of the African Beetle? I can tell you all about it. Thanks to a broken window shade on my neighbor’s bedroom window, I can tell you the same thing about them.

I was reading an article recently that was talking about the importance of safety in the home and how we should keep our children safe by eliminating all sorts of dangers from paint to cleaners to the ingredients in my breakfast cereal. I had to wonder after reading the article that if all these things were so dangerous, how in the world did those from my generation ever make it out of childhood alive?

When I was a kid, my room was covered with lead based paint and I turned out fine. However, that could explain why I glowed in the dark until I was five.

I saw a kid on the sidewalk riding their bicycle and they had more padding on them than the Goodyear Michelin Man. When I used to ride my bicycle, I was proud of every bruise I received.

However, if you want to talk danger, nothing compared to the dodgeball games that we played while in elementary school. The object of the game was to smash your friends in the face with the ball as hard as possible. As a result, I learned to deal with pain and not runaway crying. Well, not too many times anyway.

We didn’t have a cell phone or video games to play. Instead, we had something called imagination that allowed me to take on the identity of anyone I chose from The Fonz to one of the guys from the Dukes of Hazzard.

One of my favorite things to do as a child was to shoot my BB gun. Despite being told a hundred times of the dangers of this activity, I managed somehow to make it out of adolescence with both eyeballs intact and without shooting myself. However, I cannot say the same about some of the neighborhood cats that were on the receiving end of a BB or two.

When I was a kid, if you worked hard in school then you passed to the next grade. If not, then kids were actually held back a grade to repeat until they got it right. We knew that there were consequences to our actions and didn’t expect our parents to bail us out every time something didn’t go our way.

I can remember a story from childhood when I was told to stay away from the backyard because my father and brother were trimming tree branches. Of course, I went straight to that area and as a result, a medium sized tree branch fell on my head.

Everyone came running to my rescue and I came out with some scratches and a big black eye. I was so proud of the black eye that I couldn’t wait to go to school and show it off. If that happened in today’s world, the kid would be in a body cast on a Jerry Lewis Telethon.

Yes, we grew up just fine. We fell out of trees and wrecked our bicycles and we turned alright. Now excuse me I’m late for my chiropractor appointment.