Never Happy

You may know people who are upset as adults because they had unhappy childhoods. But there are also people who are upset as adults because they had great childhoods. I am one of these latter complainers. I had a wonderful childhood, full of books and flowers and travel and fantasy and imagination. I thought it was important to excel at feats of strength and to know everything. I was carefully preparing myself for the incredible tests of mettle and wit that are the exciting world of adult existence.

Wrong! Actually, being an adult kind of sucks. Yes, I can eat lots of candy and I don't have homework. I stay up late and drink Jack Daniels and watch any kind of movie I want. But where are the real perks? I have to work all the time, I don't have any money (and by extension, don't have any time), and most of the things that are really fun are "bad for me" or considered frivolous or require that money/time I don't have. So I feel ripped off. Of course I'd also feel ripped off if I had a miserable or even mediocre childhood. Warning to parents: your children will blame you for whatever. It's the flip side of Philip Larkin's "This Be the Verse." "They whine and gripe, your son and daught. They do not mean to, but they do. They blame you for each fault they have, and add some extra, just for you."

I have been listening to Neil Postman's "The Disappearance of Childhood" (book on tape) and so far I'm thinking that contemporary childhood sounds messed up. I am only on Chapter 3, but I'm learning that kids are managed as a separate class that is oppressed and educated to turn them into moral and functioning adults. Part of this "education" is making sure that children don't learn "adult" things until appropriate ages, as determined by adults. Apparently this general concept can be dated back to the invention of the printing press, which begat books which begat schools which begat schoolboys. (This is all my ham-handed summary, not Postman's wording.) Anyway, it does seem useful to have a childhood of some kind and not be forced to labor in the mines or marry at age 10. I do think children could be treated as genius artists-in-residence who must be nurtured and allowed to carry out their creations, however bizarre. But they also need to know that being an adult isn't a special secret society that will be really awesome when they get there. Children shouldn't be too "shielded" from adult information because it makes adulthood seem way cooler than it really is. Of course I do try not to swear around children, so I'm already being an arbiter. I'm already presenting an expurgated world which is slightly different from the "truth" as I know it. F%$#! At least I can spread the truth that is garlic. I would never deprive a child of garlic.

I'll keep thinking about this one. I'll turn the comments on, too, in case you want to... you know.

On to the lists. Here are 2, starting with last week's Beef Jerky Time (12/12/2007), which included a tribute to my man Frank Sinatra on his birthday (12/12/1915).
  • "Moonlighting" theme
  • 59th Street: Amy Correia
  • Sugarbabe: The Youngbloods
  • Breakin' Up: Rilo Kiley
  • Janamaan: Natacha Atlas with Kalia
  • 2:1: Elastica
  • Contact: The Police
  • La Primavera/Me Gustas Tu: Manu Chao
  • What Goes Around Comes Around: Justin Timberlake
  • Christmas Jam: Bathing Beauty
  • Mistletoe & Holly: Frank Sinatra
  • Baubles, Bangles and Beads: Frank Sinatra
  • Moonlight in Vermont: Frank Sinatra
  • Luck Be a Lady: Frank Sinatra
  • Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars: Frank Sinatra
  • The Christmas Waltz: Frank Sinatra

Beef Jerky Time playlist: 12/5/07
  • Sing My Lord: Ponies in the Surf
  • It's Over: Milosh
  • Maybe, I Don't Know: The Elevator Drops
  • Choice Blanket: The Sea & Cake
  • Sporting Life: The Sea & Cake
  • Hotel Tell: The Sea & Cake
  • Searching with My Good Eye Closed: Soundgarden
  • Last Living Souls: Gorillaz
  • Digital: Joy Division
  • Beautiful World: Devo
  • Birthday: The Sugarcubes
  • Bomber Rash: Ry Cooder (Streets of Fire s/t)
  • I Wish You Would: David Bowie

1 comment:

Emma said...

"Grown-up" by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Was it for this I uttered prayers,
And sobbed and cursed and kicked the stairs,
That now, domestic as a plate,
I should retire at half-past eight?