Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dumping Our Kids Off

So much of our innocence has been lost.  As a nation, we have become a a paranoid group of helicopter parents.  We stalk our own children, wrapping them in bubble wrap, trying in vain to prevent any injury-physical or emotional-at the risk of retarding their development.
 Its gotten so bad, parents can't even dump their demon spawn in a casino arcade for several hours. For shame.  I learned many valuable lessons in dark closet like arcades.

When I was young, we didn't have much money.  We played cards and did puzzles, and looked forward to Saturday morning cartoon fests, shoveling Sugar Smacks into our faces.  That's right, Sugar Smacks. They are now called Honey Smacks. I have no idea if there is any actual honey in them, I just know there's 15 grams of sugar per 3/4 Cup.

For vacations, we visited family in Reno and Vegas.  This meant all you can eat buffets, sleeping on sofas, and getting dumped in seedy arcades for hours. Anyone that lived anywhere near a casino in the 70's and 80's know exactly what I'm saying.  This is how it went:

Grown-up: here's a roll of quarters.  See you in 2 hours.  Make 'em last.

20 minutes later, I was trying to make friends that had more quarters, searching under games for an errant quarter, and wishing I was better at pinball so I could win a free game.  I'm pretty sure most of my wrist issues came from this early and rampant exposure to pinball.

I would make friends with the other random kids hanging out, and we would make up things to do, games to play.  We would walk circles in the mind-numbing carpet patterns.  We would try to look pathetic to each grown-up that came by.  But the only grown-ups that came by were there to drop their kids of with some godforsaken quarters.

Our biggest adventures were to find a bathroom, and to try to get our parents' attention without getting yelled at by an employee for being to close to the gaming area.

Those arcades were some dank depressing places.

Circus Circus was the cream of the arcade crop-tons of games, shitloads of kids, prizes.  But they must have had shitty slots, because my parents had to be feeling pretty damn generous to brave that hell hole.

Typically, it was local places, like a place we called Carl's Scumbag-it was fairly seedy.  Or Baldini's, that gave out a six-pack for every 4-of-a-kind.  We came home with cases-Cases-of diet Pepsi and Keystone.

But now, we are too paranoid. if you listen to the media, children are snatched from our arms, ripped from our homes, by the dozens.  Thank you, Media, for ruining us all.

The actuality of the situation is that more than 60% of children that are killed each year are killed by their biological parents.  Yes, strangers do horrible things.  But the facts are, our children aren't as at risk as we would be led to believe, unless it's the risk of being over-parented.

This is especially timely today, when I wanted to ditch 6 kids, and bond with my traveling friends over the loss of money at the blackjack tables.  Instead, I had to go with one friend, while the other two parents built up credits to ditch US the next day.  Total suckage.

At least I got a few watered down rum n' cokes out of the deal.

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