There’s a danger as we get older to become “old fogeys.” I’m not sure what a “fogey” is but I think it’s a polite word for something else, relative to flatulence.
So I’m constantly reminding myself not to be an “old fogey.” Times change. But inevitably I will refer to “when I was a kid.”
Just the other day a fellow said to me that he never sees tree houses in backyards anymore. I got to thinking about that, and I haven’t seen one in a long time ... except on television where those contractors build those elaborate tree houses for grownups.
And I wondered if anyone else in my age range had given this any thought. So I went to Google and sure enough, a lot of people have pondered this matter, probably in lieu of discussions on the Ukraine situation.
One person pointed out that not having homemade tree houses is connected to an epidemic of fat kids. They don’t climb ladders or ropes or limbs to get into their tree forts anymore. Instead, they only exercise their thumbs texting and twitting, which Shakespeare might have said was “much ado about nothing.” Oops! Got to be careful there. That’s leaning toward “old fogey.”
Another person said that kids’ imaginations as well as their physical prowess have suffered because they don’t build tree houses and backyard forts anymore. Instead they watch videos and wiggle their thumbs.
In that regard, the breakfast club got into a discussion of such recently, and we talked about modern movies. We got onto those “Transformer” movies. And most of us agreed that we saw little if any excitement and absolutely no plausibility in a junk yard suddenly taking on the shape of a creature and kicking a lot of butt.
Now I realize that creative license has always played its part in books and movies. It was very unlikely that Tarzan could have hitched a ride on a rhino or wrestled a crocodile to its death. But it did seem like the chances of that happening would have been greater than a couple of old John Deere tractors, a haybaler and a chainsaw morphing into some kind of creature that the Navy Seals could not destroy.
Back to the tree houses.
One fellow on Google said this art may have died because some cities probably would have required building permits. Then OSHA would have gotten involved and at the end of the day, it just wasn’t worth it. I really don’t know about that. I do know that there were accidents involving tree houses but then there also were accidents involving Tarzan swings, baseball bats, bicycles without chain guards and lead paint.
I did get a few bruises along the way relevant to homemade fun. Strangely though, I never ate any paint nor did I know anyone who did. We were cautioned not to pick up our chewing gum if we dropped it in the chicken yard, but I don’t recall anyone ever telling us not to gnaw on a window sill.
Routinely we hear people say that our communities don’t provide enough variety of entertainment for our kids. We hear a lot of “they don’t have anything to do.”
So I guess I’m putting on my “old fogey” hat now, but “when I was a kid” we never said, “We don’t have anything to do!” My dad could find you something to do in a hurry. And digging sassafras and persimmon out of fence rows was not fun. Thus in many instances we made our own entertainment. It’s just the way things wuz.
By the way, I was never a superman fan. I could relate to Ramar of the Jungle but not a guy who wore his underwear outside his leotards. I did try jumping out of the hayloft with a tobacco sheet tied to my neck — once. That’s when I realized the Tarzan vine was much more plausible in the venue of improvised travel arrangements.