Editorial: Kids today are overprotected! I died in a fire. - The Beaverton

Editorial: Kids today are overprotected! I died in a fire.

OLD TOWN OF YORK – Look, I’m not someone who rises from the grave easily. I’m just a normal taxpayer like anyone else. I keep my head down, visit the dying, scare cats, and I don’t get excited about things that don’t concern me. But someone needs to talk about kids these days, and I have the right experience for that, having been cursed to remain a child for all eternity.

You see parents nowadays? Wusses. When I was working at the unregulated matchstick factory in ol’ Ratchet-Headed Smith’s basement, I never talked back and if I didn’t like something? Tough. What did I know? I was polishing matchstick heads with oiled-up rags for fifty cents a week. That’s not a job for someone who asks questions.

At night, we stayed out until the streetlights came on, both because our shifts weren’t over yet and because the kids who lit the lamps would be out with a bout of the tickle lung. You learn some real lessons out there, like how to take care of yourself, whether horse meat goes bad or not, and how if you leave your matchsticks on the stove the polish will dry faster.

Did we suffer back then? Not really, at least not until the end. We had lots of stuff to keep us occupied – like occupations, for example. And more, like water from hoses, itinerant child-minders, smoke inhalation, schools made from asbestos and filled with books also made from asbestos. That’s how we liked it, and we turned out fine, minus the three-quarters of us who got rickets, the five who died in the Great Matchstick Conflagration, and Unusual Ned, who survived into adulthood but perhaps should not have.

And the overprotection? Dear Lord. I don’t pretend to know this mixed-up world, with its mandatory K-12 education and its emergency departments that even help the Irish neighbourhoods, but I’ve been lurking now for centuries and I think I know a thing or two about so-called helicopter parenting. People say their kids are nervous about going to school because of germs. You know what kills germs? That’s right: hot, bright, purifying fire. Seems like your kids could use a little fire. It’ll keep them young, like it did for me.