- Ada, Oklahoma


December 4, 2013

’Tis the season to beware


Ada —

Some of them are stealthy about it. The Shakespeare Disney Princess Backpack Fishing Kit seems safe enough until you find that it contains lead.

These lists make me realize my parents were way ahead of the curve. When I was a vulnerable child and the future was the Sixties, a major portion of the juvenile TV diet was Westerns. Every kid in the neighborhood had a pistol and a cowboy hat, except for me. My dad, who had served in the Navy in World War II and was still in the Reserves, was politically correct way before his time. No toy guns. Pretend violence would lead to real violence, he declared.

And he did have one stark example: The back of my head. One afternoon, playing Cowboys and Indians (sorry, Native Americans) in a field behind the house, one of the other kids bonked me on the back of the head with the butt of his toy pistol – just like he’d seen on TV! It took a stitch to close it.

That’s my one major regret about growing up in such an era – not that I suffered a minor injury, but that I didn’t become independently wealthy as a result. Today my folks probably could have sued in my behalf for assault with a deadly weapon, pain and suffering, bullying, psychological trauma and whatever else a skilled litigator could think up.

Interestingly enough, however, the kid who hit me grew up to be a rather prominent physician and, by all accounts, a peaceful, healing presence in his community – heck, he probably stitched up other kids’ heads with injuries like mine. I suspect he is playing with his grandchildren this weekend, although I wouldn’t be surprised if some of that play included video games featuring deadly weapons.

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