Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Oops! Ridiculous History Keeps Rearing Its Ugly Head

"I am trying to see their point of view but I can't get my head that far up the arse!"

The above picture just might explain why some things are the way they are. It reminds me of when I was in elementary school in the 1960's. The Cold War was heating up more and more. Every school had air raid sirens on the roof and they let those suckers wail each day at one in the afternoon. I remember the specific time because it always happened after lunch. We were supposed to be on guard and prepared for any threat from nuclear bombs. It was the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis during the Kennedy administration. As a kid, I thought the sound of those sirens all wailing at the very same time was frightening. I heard sirens like that go off in scary movies about ufo's and stuff. I wasn't aware or scared about Cuba or much anything else at that time. My parents never gave me any kind of nuclear drills to do at home. I thought if we were gonna be bombed, it would only happen while I was at school............maybe this is why I never liked school. To add insult to the injury of kids everywhere, some bonehead came up with ways to make children safe and prepared while at school. One of those brilliant ideas is shown below:

At 1 P.M. each day the sirens sounded and the teachers would instruct each and every kid to get under their desks and hold their hands around their head. Easy enough drill unless you happen to be me. I was one of those kids who could never bend over and touch his feet without bending the knees. It was painful to even attempt it, yet I suffered in many a gym class. Participating in the air raid drills was even more painful. It's hard enough to keep a kid still for any reason....try keeping them still in the painful positions seen above. If your head rubbed the under surface of the desk, the suffering was even worse. Now your entire body hurts and you have bubble gum and boogers stuck in your hair. This whole activity was supposed to protect us in the even of a nuclear explosion. Imagine that. Another brilliant idea was to have all of the kids occasionally take the same contortionist position in the hallways of the school. Fortunately, no nukes ever were launched and the people that required the aforementioned activity never lived long enough to see the day when those kids grew up. Just imagine returning favor. Picture the senior centers in the 1970's and 1980's........it's 1 P.M. and colostomy bags are a-busting....and after the last bag bursts, the nurse shouts out ...."Safe!" , all of this the result of required senior citizen participation in acknowledgement of their history.

Those were the good ole days and this is the new world order!

Humans seem to always repeat mistakes. I don't know if it is by design or if it is drug-related. Today we have a new crisis. In the days mentioned above, the events of the times required having what was called the Civil Defense. Civil Defense posters and signs were everywhere. These days, we have Homeland Security, the result of our being attacked on 9/11. This time we were attacked and it was successful. Everyone was shocked into reality. We had to do something about it and our efforts continue with each day that passes. The terrorists used box-cutters to hi-jack the planes they used as bombs. Because of that one detail, Homeland Security requires that certain items not be permitted on board any airplane. It is a major hassle, a major inconvenience, causes delays, but we are supposed to feel safer as a result. This activity of screening for these various banned items and substances is done for prevention of another attack. Sounds pretty good. People do like the idea........however, make sure you trim your toenails BEFORE you leave home for the airport!

The simple toenail clipper. You know how notorious these things are. If you have forgotten, just get your clippers out right now and remind yourself by cutting your middle toenail down to the quick. Most people wouldn't think nail clippers would be considered a potential weapon, unless they have visions of terrorists lining up passengers, demanding all shoes be removed, and cutting everyone's toenails down to the quick. It's a stretch but I could imagine boneheaded terrorists doing such an act...........nahhhhhh!

A far more dangerous item is the common compact disc. Compact discs, whether for your laptop computer or for your handheld cd player, are permitted on each and every flight. No problemo! I see this in a different light. A moron could figure out that compact discs are easy to snap in two. The result is normally seen as a "broken and unusable" compact disc, however, it can now be used as not just one weapon but TWO! One allowable disc is now a possible threat to your security. A broken disc is much larger and can cause more damage than a little box-cutter.....but nobody has thought about that. Maybe they figure the terrorists are too stupid to figure it out. Maybe they figure the people in our society are too stupid to figure it out. Maybe this whole Homeland Security deal is a good thing in concept, but there are a few boneheads left over from the old Civil Defense Department days. God help us if we are ever required to return to our places beneath the desks because of the proliferation of compact discs and toenail clippers! If somebody keeps shoveling out the false sense of security and ignoring history while instituting new requirements, we are all gonna die from fear. Hmmmmmm....fear. It's nothing new, is it?

Yep, I remember the good ole days.

This is a picture of a mask made by a kid. What is noteworthy about such masks, is that a huge amount of them were made in every elementary school in the USA. I remember making them. I remember every detail. I remember the teacher teaching us new terminology for this activity........she called it "paper mache". It was fun. I remember the smell of the whole process. There was a distinct odor to the materials we were using. Some sort of modeling clay type material. I remember every kid in the class pressing this stuff to the faces and breathing in the unusual odor. In addition to the odor, when you breathed it into your nostrils, there was this distinct tingly, scratchy aspect to it. Nothing else was like this stuff. It was just like whenever the teacher would hand you a test paper, you would immediately raise it to your nostrils and inhale. What kid didn't do that hundreds of times? I remember that this paper mache material reminded me of the little piles of rubber eraser dust that I would bunch up into one pile on my desk. I also remember another new word that the teacher uttered about this paper mache material........asbestos! Back then, it wasn't known what was to come in the years ahead regarding asbestos. Today though, much IS known about asbestos exposure. Many lawsuits later, I still have yet to read, hear, or see, ANYONE ever mention children being exposed to asbestos in schools over the years other than from the typical exposure to deteriorating asbestos-laden building materials. Nobody ever mentions that we were told to put this stuff on our faces to shape the masks. We all played with this substance, each and every one of us, and nobody in any authority, anywhere, has even tried to jog our memories about this stuff and our exposure to it. Shame on them. Not even an apology.

While I am at it, here is another memorable chunk of asbestos. This one really went airborne. You had to smell this stuff. Every kid whose parents ever bought a can or box of this stuff, without question, inhaled this stuff to enjoy its unusual odor. I can remember that, at Christmastime when I was a kid, we had some very old ornaments and train garden building that retained the artificial snow that we had put on them. Every year, when we pulled out our decorations, we kids would open the boxes and breathe the smell of "snow". I do not have any of those old decorations any longer, but, to this day, everytime I bring out our decorations and start hanging them on the tree, I can close my eyes and picture my old Lionel train set, the bridges, the buildings..........and oh that smell!