Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

"Pavlov was this scientist guy, you know, and every time this dog would ring a bell, Pavlov would eat." - Michael, That 70's Show


Reliant© Stadium, where no football was played tonight. If you listen to most Texans™ fans, no football has ever been played at Reliant® Stadium. (Actually, I sort of like the Texas JV team, they may suck, but they’re plucky.)

The Boy finally had the metal staples removed from his skull, apparently with little discomfort. I don’t know about you, but I personally think that head wounds should hurt a bit – it’s sort of a Pavlovian conditioning to keep you from doing stupid things, like that hangover I got from eating Nuclear Jell-O® in college. Nuclear Jell-O™ is regular Jell-O©, but my friend made it with pure grain alcohol, and is thus very insidious because it’s got about a twenty minute time delay from consumption to the part of your brain that enables the use of verbs and, coincidentally, walking, to shut down entirely. The next day? I hoped only for death. Maybe a grilled cheese sandwich first, but death should follow quickly thereafter. Unfortunately for me, I lived, and still had to go to Physics 231.

That’s why I’m against all the namby-pamby dressing of kids in full body armor prior to letting them loose on a bicycle. I’m sure that this trend started in California, because they’re the only ones who had the time and smarminess available to decide that riding a bicycle required more protective clothing than we’d sent with a typical GI as he stormed Normandy. As a sidebar, that typical GI had a different experience learning to ride his bike as his father taught him to ride the bike during the Great Depression by only feeding him if he could prove he had scraped his elbow on raw concrete until you could see bone, after making through the impromptu minefield his father had thrown together.

Me? I’m not so extreme, but I think wearing helmets while you ride a bike makes sense if you’re Lance Armstrong and are going down a French hillside at 834 miles per hour (9,324 km/hr). I can see Lance wanting to put on the latest in tactical gear. Does he do that? No. He shaves his legs so that it’s easier to pull off the bandages that he knows he’ll inevitably get. That’s the way that men deal with pain.

An eight year old on a bicycle with a top speed of six miles per hour? No. The pain should be a motivator to teach them to not do stupid things. That’s why we have pain.

Take, for instance, me. There’s a regular occurrence in the Casa de Wilder wherein I run through the house to the master bathroom (where we keep all the serious medical supplies) and The Mrs. gets up, sighing, (because this is a regular event) to collect her keys and get Pugsley ready so she can drive me to the doctors to get stitched up.

The last time this happened I tried to open a drum of unknown provenance that came with our house in Alaska (it said it was used cooking grease, but you can never tell). As the tool slipped, so did my pinky. It impacted the drum, which proved to be pretty adroit at removing it. The doctor finished the job.

Now that The Mrs. has at least two people in her life committed to wreaking havoc upon their own bodies, I’m sure that she’s resigned to multiple trips to the doctor a year to have various appendages sewn up or, in more drastic cases, just removed. (If you’ve never had your fingernail removed, it’s only slightly more uncomfortable than having to pay taxes.)

Thankfully, my parents never knew the real dangers I got myself into when I was young. I had my friend C.R. try to pull me up while I was hanging over the side of a cliff when I was eight. He couldn’t. (Stupid Six Million Dollar Man, anyway.) I was stuck in the middle of a highway lane of traffic (on a blind turn) as my bellbottoms got entangled in my bicycle chain. (You can inch your way out of danger if you hustle and aren’t too worried about how much you rip up your Sedgefield® jeans.)

Should I skip the motorcycle wreck? The time my friend Daniel Cisneros and I found the tear gas grenade, or the time we played Light Saber® with fluorescent bulbs? The time that my car spun six times on two wheels?

I have no illusion that we live in a world without risk. Part of childhood is embracing that risk, and jumping into the swimming hole not giving a rip if a rattler is also enjoying a swim.

So, parents of the world, chill out. I’m sure your Mom was quite upset when she found that you’d eaten a significant number of her birth control pills when you were four.

Mine was. Apparently poison control, once they stopped laughing, told her the risk that I’d get pregnant was pretty low.
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