WHEN DID GROWING UP BECOME OPTIONAL?

growup

I look around at the world today and wonder, “When did people stop growing up?”

Maybe when times were tougher, when you had to struggle to just stay alive, people were forced into adulthood and adult behavior.  It wasn’t optional.

I know I can look back on my childhood and recall things that today, I can’t believe I did.  But eventually, you realize there are consequences for your actions.  That if you do this, THAT will probably happen.

As a 6-year-old, I went up to my cousin’s cabin at Big Bear Lake and, in one weekend, ate salmon eggs because I was hungry and started a forest fire.  Oh, the fire fighters showed up almost immediately and it was accidental.  It wasn’t like we were doing it for kicks.  Me and my 7-year-old cousin even built it in a wood box so it wouldn’t spread.

There was the time where we were playing hide ‘n seek at Immanuel Lutheran School in Redondo Beach.  Laurel Schearer was “It”, she saw me and we raced back to the flag pole that was home base.  As she came close to saying, “1-2-3 on Tim” I pushed her in the back.  She fell face-first into the pole and chipped her front tooth.  Why did I do that?  I seriously don’t know, but in the mind of third grader playing hide ‘n seek, it seemed like a reasonable action.

Oh, and while a freshman in high school, I threw a girls’ lunch out the bus window and lost my bus riding privileges for a week.

I’m sure there are lots of other indiscretions  but, over time, they minimize so that they’re reduced to buying a stock that plummets the next day or eating that leftover you knew was probably bad, but you hated to just throw it away.

Now, when I see a Minnesota dentist that, from the outside, seemed like a responsible citizen…but that goes out and kills exotic animals for “sport”…or a professional football quarterback who destroys a cell phone so that we won’t really know what really happened…I’m at a loss.  It’s common for people to think they’re above the law, that it applies to everyone else but them. We see that every day with bicyclists that ignore traffic signals, jaywalkers, people talking on the phones while driving and holding them in their hands, etc.  But when it comes to common decency, how do you evolve to the point where that gets thrown out the window? (like a sack lunch)

I’m not claiming I’m perfect, by any means.  I gave you just a few examples above of some of my failings, but I’m saving the bulk of them for my eventual Encyclopedia of Screw-Ups, Volumes 1-26.   It used to be that “they” were the exception.  Nowadays, they seem to be becoming the rule.  Where the guy who walks into a theater and starts shooting isn’t a punk kid from an out-of-control family, but instead, is a 59-year-0ld drifter that can appear normal enough to go to a local gun store and stock up.

I wonder if this is just a generational thing.  That people in the early 1900s felt the world was falling apart when World War I broke out, or how my parents felt when World War II was underway.  Now, we don’t do official World Wars,  we fight mini-wars here and there and at home.

This wasn’t meant to turn into a rant on any one subject. But I have to say, for all the good there is in the world, it just seems like the bad is on the increase.  Or, maybe that’s just the way it’s always been and always will be.

Or, perhaps, even at my advanced years, I need to grow up just a little bit more.

Tim Hunter

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