Some Friday Night Girlie Nostalgia

I think I am getting old. Perhaps I feel that way because I am sitting home on a Friday night typing a blogpost that nobody will read until Monday. Or maybe it is because I read news articles and usually have some cynical thing to say about most of them. I have to turn old school rap up really loud to hear it in the right way, but small children seem to be so noisy that I can hear them screaming before their mouths open. I am genuinely sad when I see things that were OK when I was young totally blown out of whack and I start longing for the days of my youth. Whether attributed to the boring Friday night or the short blurb in my local paper, my panties are in a wad and I am pissy. The Dallas Morning News reported that a small town father was arrested and could face 4 years for letting his 10 year old child drive.

Now before you guys go crazy on me, let me remind you that I grew up in a small parish outside New Orleans. My grandparents lived in the “country” and had lots of land. That land was perfect for dirt bike races and driving the farm truck. It was a treat for me, as a child, to sit on my dad’s lap and “drive” the car. It was a treat for me, at 12 and while visiting family in Kansas, to drive miles and miles of highway. In small towns, you start driving young-usually on a riding lawn mower or tractor and have mastered it well before you take the written test.

As you may expect, I wanted to pass that joy to my girls. Ash and Riss both learned to “drive” sitting on my lap. They took turns on the tractor and the family’s farm truck. And, when they took the clutch for the first time on a real road, at 14 and 11, it was in an ’03 911. Neither of them even stalled the car. They loved that night and still talk about it. Thank God I did not know that, if caught, I could be arrested for child endangerment with bail set at $10K.

The article made me think of the things I did as a child and I wondered how many of them would today be considered “child endangerment”. My daddy taught me to shoot when I was 7 or 8. My friends and I used to shoot- without an adult- in the woods that were near our homes. We “camped out” in the backyard and roasted marshmallows over a roaring campfire. We snagged our parents’ cigarettes and coughed our way through the first puffs. Our parents allowed us to drink “grasshoppers” over games of Monopoly. We rode three-wheelers on the street and horses on the levee. We fished in the three ponds and had no need of a license, and almost any Louisiana kid could back a boat down a boat launch by the age of 12.

Unfortunately, kiddos today can’t have those things-almost all of them would result in some kind of citation. The PC police and child “experts” have nearly phased happy childhood out of existence. They took away freedom, independence, imagination and creativity and replaced them with Ritalin and Adderall.

Admittedly, I don’t know the details of this particular situation, but I can’t help but feel sorry for this man and his children. Jose Lugo, the subject of the DMN blurb, sits in jail and his wife can’t afford to get him out. The article implies that Mr. Lugo was drunk, but he wasn’t arrested for DWI. McKinney, TX is a small town much like the one of my childhood so I can’t help but wonder if he was simply making a memory. I do know that his kiddos will have a traumatic memory of temporary CPS custody and Daddy’s arrest. If the man does even half of the possible four year prison term, the kids will likely suffer a fate worse than bad memories.

Perhaps the police should have simply asked the man to change seats. But what do I know? Besides, I can’t think of this anymore- I have to go scope out the Kroger down the street. Perhaps I will find some young whippersnapper buying way more toilet paper than any one person needs. If I follow him, I may be able to witness a moment of youthful fun-if it exists anymore.

posted by michelleshinghal
  • Julian

    It is not surprising. When playgrounds that have existed for 50 years are being dismantled because they are now deemed unsafe, dodge ball is banned on school property and Denver cops have enough time off from catching real criminals to write bicyclists speeding tickets for going over 15 mph, nothing should be surprising.

    We wonder why children are overweight, have high blood pressure and have no muscle tone. Maybe it is because they cannot be children and must stay inside playing video games, watching TV and cruising the porn sites on the internet. Of course there are those that want to ban boy scouts and girl scouts because, forbid, they use the “G” word.

    Now there is a minimum age to allow children to accompany a parent hunting in many states. I can go on and on but rules, regulations, ordinances, laws and court decisions, liability issues and too damn many ambulance chasing lawyers are to blame for the softening of America’s youth.

    I almost forgot. Public schools too.

  • GreginOz

    …Teenscreen…

  • Graham

    Isn’t this the official “Britney Spears position”?

  • Greg

    We do this to protect the children! We have to save _everyone_ from themselves, see we are only doing this for your own good! (in case anyone missed it this is sarcasm)

  • Phil

    Obviously not a waste of time. Look how many read it before Monday AM!
    I totally agree with you sentiment. Many of the things we did as kids (I’m 49) are now ‘verbotten’ and mostly due to the PC Nanny State.
    On the other hand I sometimes catch myself thinking that I’m starting to sound like my parents & grandparents did, gripping about how the world has gone to hell and how much better things were when they were kids.
    I’m not supporting the Nanny State point of view mind you. Just thought I’d share an interesting self-observation that makes me laugh sometimes.

  • Michael H. Wilson

    Michelle if you see someone buying more toilet paper than they obviously need then you are required to call the nearest 911 dispatcher and report this to the authorities.
    You have to weigh more than 300lbs to purchase a case of buttwipe, 250 lbs get you a half a case and I think you can figure out the rest from there.
    M.H.W.

  • Sandra Kallander

    I was born the day Disneyland opened (you’ve seen the anniversary ads). Do kids still have paper routes?

    I was never paid an allowance. Chores were done because it was one’s responsibility. If I wanted money, I had to find a job. Sure, when I was four or five, the jobs were posted on the refrigerator (50 cents for pulling all the dandelions in the front yard). I will never forget the $5 I was paid at six for helping my dad pour a concrete sidewalk (think $50). My help had value!

    I babysat for neighbors by age 10; I wonder who’d be arrested for that today.

    Money I earned had no strings. It was a great lesson and I don’t have any of the money problems those on allowances have.

    I used to think “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” No more. Ignorance is an excellent excuse even the judge can use. Nobody knows all the laws when they don’t make sense. If you don’t get caught, ignorance is bliss.

  • Michelle Shinghal

    I helped my dad pour a sidewalk too- he didn’t pay me though. I cut grass, washed cars and babysat when I wanted something. I got my first “real” job at 14. Riss, my 15yo, is bummed because she is too young to work at most places. There are very few places for teens to work anymore. She is counting the days until she turns 16. (I guess cleaning dog poop out of the dogs’ yard area and pulling weeds leave her longing for something um, neater.)

  • http://chriswolske.com/blog/ wolske

    I’ve been saying the same thing lately, that the fun of our youth has been regulated away. Camping and building forts, learning to be repsonsible with fire (the hard way), fireworks…

    Now maybe I’m getting soft, but I think that allowing your 10 year old to drive on public roads crosses the line of logic and safety. It doesn’t sound like the father was trying to create a bonding memory here… if his son was in his lap or something, that would have been different. Save the bonding moments for the farm, or truisolated roads — isn’t that reasonable?

    That said, I hate that the article tries to make their case with the allegation that the father had been drinking — if he had been, why was he not tested for DUI/DWI? That would have shown definitively if he had been drinking, instead of simply implying it. And I hate that CPS was dragged in and that this father might serve jail time, which benefits no one.

  • http://boortz.com Quis

    “The article made me think of the things I did as a child and I wondered how many of them would today be considered “child endangerment”.”

    Well, you just admitted that you and your parents committed a bevy of crimes. You broke the wondeful laws of our government masters who are just trying to save da childern!

  • http://boortz.com Quis

    And I don’t ever want to catch you people selling nightcrawlers. Your government masters will nab all dangerous worm peddlers…

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/suprynowicz/suprynowicz46.html

  • nemo

    “Of course there are those that want to ban boy scouts and girl scouts because, forbid, they use the “G” word.”

    I know as all things considered, esp. that I have read from Julian, this is fairly mild, but AFAIK most opposition of government funding of Scouts is focuses exclusively on Boy Scouts.

    Girl Scouts have repeatedly stated that they do not require an oath to a God.

    Only Boy Scouts have a hang up about this, and are continually whining about losing their State perks.

  • Pete

    Hate to get back on the topic:

    What if there had been a serious accident when the kid was driving?

    Was he insured, or able to take financial/personal
    responsibility for his actions? Was the father?
    (I think we can assume by his mom’s comment – not able to
    post $10K bond – that the family could not self insure)

    Of course the whole state issued drivers license thing has
    conveniently mixed two separate issues in a masterful slight
    of hand that utterly fools MOST people. It is Good, Right
    and Proper that all drivers should pass some sort of
    Competency Testing acceptable to an insurer. The other part
    which MOST people accept without much thought is the
    absolutely insidious State Permission part…

    So – what happened with respect to personal responsibility here?

    And yes, I first drove a real motor vehicle when I was about
    14 – on PRIVATE PROPERTY, where there was not much chance
    of damage beyond flat tires.

    Pete Carpenter

  • Julian

    nemo

    You have it wrong. The Boy Scouts have never been funded by any government entity, therefore there is no taxpayer money involved. You are wrong although the Boy Scouts do sometimes ask to rent or lease space for events that are taxpayer supported. What is wrong with that as long as they are paying the fees?

    I guess they cannot hike in national forests or parks or state parks because they may use the “G” word. Is that your point?

    Point made about the constraints on youth. Let’s ban them from government property such as schools or community centers because of the “G” word. Is that what you want?

    If I am wrong, please cite examples such as dates, times and places where taxpayers are directly or indirectly supporting Boy Scout activities or organizations.

    If one is banned from public property or activities solely based upon a belief system, what are becoming? This applies to believing in a Higher Power, sexual orientation, color, size or any other reason.

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  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    Perhaps the father was taking personal responsibility by NOT driving as he may have been intoxicated. Maybe he knew his son was a good driver. Perhaps society (and the nanny state it has created) has become so risk averse that it fails to acknowledge the assumption of risk inherent in the act of living.

    “Personal responsibility” is nothing more than a slogan that conservatives use meaning others must act in a manner acceptable to the user of that hackneyed platitude. To require that individuals submit proof of “personal responsibility” to the state provides only the illusion that one need not assume risk while driving – an inherently dangerous activity.

    I find it rare that those who blather on about “personal responsibility” actually take responsibility for anything. Far better to accept personal irresponsibility and demand that individuals accept the consequences of their actions, behaviors, and judgments.

    In this case, the state will harm children to teach a father not to.

  • Michelle Shinghal

    Tom Blanton,
    Hear, hear! (ftr, Dad’s charges would have included DWI if he were indeed drunk.)
    I like that you point out that personal responsibilty is nothing-paying for an irresponsible choice is noteworthy and indeed better characterized as personal responsibility. Thank you for the obvious, yet rare, item of observation.

  • Wes P

    Is the day coming when 18 won’t be “mature” enough to do ANYTHING anymore? After all, the kids will have had such a safe, coddled, you-can’t-handle-it childhood that they won’t have enough experience to handle adulthood.

  • Wes P

    Learning is easier when you’re very young, and don’t have to unlearn all the wrong ways to do things or prove you already know better.

  • nemo

    Hey Julian. Bit late at this point, dropped by much later.
    In fact the (Boy) Scouts have been given rent-free public facilities and free services (like facility maintenance in preparation for their events). Lots of cases of that.
    Trivially easy to find with a little googling. Try it sometime.

    And the “g” word thing is just idiotic. They kick out anyone found out to be an atheist (your mileage may very with local clubs, but this is a common occurrence).

    And while I don’t have a list of every government appropriation they have made use of (besides facilities, which is numerous and common – including military ones) I do
    find it curious that the “Support Our Scouts Act of 2005″ was attempted if no financial appropriations are made by them.

    ‘course, given the statement in your comment, any response i mostly a waste of time. Anyone truly interested in the valid reasons to be annoyed with Boy Scout federal assistance could have spent a few hours googling.

  • nemo