By Sean Pearson
I have come to the conclusion that kids today are way too soft.
I think we’ve been down this road before, but sometimes I think things just can’t be too overstated.
I’ll set the scene for you.
First grade. It wasn’t raining outside, but the grass was too wet for recess. So, where else should we go to play but in the school parking lot? Nothing there but asphalt, parked cars and traffic. What could go wrong?
Well, not much really. Unless, of course, you are playing “head-on collision” with Spike Daniels, and he aims a little too high.
(As an aside, here: I begged my mother for months to change my name to Spike. How could you NOT be cool in first grade with a name like Spike? By second grade, I had decided I would rather change my name to Rock.)
I really wasn’t a difficult child.
No … really.
Didn’t eat paste. Not a scissors-runner. And I usually played well with others. I think it only fair to point out that, while I miraculously was genius enough to spell the word “tongue” correctly in first grade, I was too stupid to tell time by second grade.
I’m not so good with numbers.
Or “head-on collision,” as it turns out.
The idea of the “game” was to run at each other with our arms crossed out in front of us, and slam into each other as hard as possible.
Looking back, maybe it wasn’t one of our “smarter” games. But we were first-grade boys; don’t wanna set the bar too high, do we?
So Spike slammed me in the mouth, causing me to sink my right incisor deep into my tongue. (See? I can still spell it.) The result was an instant mouthful of blood and a mortified teacher, who merely waved me toward the nurse’s office before passing out.
OK. She didn’t actually pass out, but she looked kinda pale.
Back then, nobody cared if you dribbled a little blood down the hallways: a scrape on the knee, a bloody nose; it all happened, and nobody grabbed gloves, bleach and a red biohazard bag. Unfortunately, this was a full-on gusher, so I thought it best to keep my mouth shut and just let the blood accumulate.
(Sorry, didn’t realize this would end up being such a sanguine Spiew.)
Another thing about “back then,” no one went with me to the office to make sure I made it there OK. For all my class knew, I could’ve collapsed by the bike racks and bled out.
I made it into the office, where Nurse Trudie was pleasantly chatting on the phone. She looked my way, gave me that sad, “Oh-did-we-hurt-ourself-today” frown and nodded to her office.
She finished her phone call.
I waited patiently in her office.
Obviously irritated that I had yet to produce some sort of visible wound by the time she walked into the room, Nurse Trudie tossed another frown my way.
There was some arm-crossing and foot-stomping in there, before she finally snapped, “Well, let’s see it then.”
To this day, I’m not sure if I made the right choice. Whether I explained it to her or showed it to her, I was gonna have to open my mouth, thereby releasing the profusion of blood. (Cut me some slack. I couldn’t find a pencil and paper, and I just had a sneaking suspicion Nurse Trudie would implode if I tried to tell her via charades.)
So I opened my mouth.
It wasn’t pretty, but the look on Nurse Trudie’s face was well-worth pulling that imbedded tooth from my tongue and ruining my favorite Hawaii Five-O T-shirt.
It was sooo cool.
That’s the problem with kids today; they just aren’t allowed to have that kind of fun. I’ve even heard rumors that you’re not allowed to jump out of the swings any more. That’s just wrong. I caught some serious air coming out of one of those black, rubber swings at the park. That’s when I first discovered I could fly.
But that’s a different story.
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