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get off my lawn
by Turtle Jones
So, in case any of you don't know, Michele and I will be out of commision for a few days shortly. We didn't want this site to go all ghost town, so we are getting volunteers to submit stories while we are gone.
Thank you for all the stories already sent in. We still need more so if you want to jump on this, there are still about 10 slots open. Once we get everything set up we will post a schedule so you can see your story when it comes out. Gmail us at fttw10 at gmail dot com if you want to be involved.
But that is neither here nor there.
Inspired by another reader, who will be a guest poster when we are gone, we have another idea.
Things change as you get older. Things sometimes get better or sometimes you want to tell the kids get off you lawn. These stories might have absolutley nothing to do with each other. We don't check on each other FTTW. We just do. Grab an idea and just go. So this is our take on what has changed since you were a kid.
What changed for you?
turtle is up.
Since I am the one on this site who keeps on topic, I am going to start out by saying that some things have changed in a big way since I was a kid. I lost a lot of things that I held dear because of the introduction of veeedeeoo games in the home. I lost arcades. I lost socialization with other kids. Everyone shelled up in their home and just played these fucking things. Instead of having 20 friends all together, you got three. And most of them had some mental problem that made them want to pick up some sort of instrument of join a band. Something weird like that. Hell if I know. But I do know I lost one of my favorite things as I got older.
They were dying. They were my blood. Crap. Another one closed.
These were the places that you sat in someone's car at four in the afternoon doing methamphetamine while waiting for the sun to do down. Sitting by the Tetris machine drinking a beer with a smoke in your hand. I'm not that old, mein readers, I just knew where to go to get beer. Shooting pool all night long in a 24 hour joint. Ordering six beers at 1:55 just so you could keep going till six in the morning. Cause let's face it. You don't drink on speed. Those poor beers. They were just dumped out. But if you didn't have them, a pure panic would run thru your mind. You needed them sitting there. For no other reason for having them. In case you needed them. Don't ask me why. They just had to be there. Like a pack of cigarettes that you had to have even though you know you wouldn't smoke them, beer had to be there.
Another line and your name was called. This was good. 20 pool tables and they were all packed. It was two in the morning and this place wasn't stopping. It was a shopping mart of drugs and decadence. Light a cigarette and find out what table you are on tonight. Please god, don't let it be those two damn snooker tables. Hey dude. I've been playing pool all my life and I still have no fucking clue how to play snooker. Too many red balls and shit like that. It's like figuring out a woman's vagina for the second time. I did it once. I don't want to do it again. So I don't want some three pussy monster coming at me asking her to make "Lefty cum".
I don't do that. One game. One pussy. No snooker.
Geez. I think I might be horny.
Dammit, I got off track again.
The rule is whoever has the table calls the game. You guys all know the drill. Most of time, well, almost all of the time, it would be 8-ball. No big deal. The table would be mine fast. But, every once in a while you would get that certain asshole who thought he was a badass and set up 9-ball. That little set up of the balls meant only one thing.
Great. I'm going to be here for awhile.
You guys know the games, so I'm not going to go into them that much. 8-ball. Stripes and solids. 9-ball. Hit them in according to the numbers working up to the 9. Jesus. That would take forever. It was easy when you were sober, but as any pool player knows, there is a line you cross. You come to a place where everything just doesn't work. My limit was usually a six pack. Man, you are on then. Six beers and you are rolling. Everything is going in. You own that table. But, then you pass the point of no return. You keep going and just can't hit anything. 15 minutes roll by and you are wondering where the 4 ball went. Well, that got sunk on the break. Oh. Fuck. I think I would be better at the color ball game. I'm not really good at this counting like thing. Can I get another beer?
You had just passed that point. Now just bouncing balls off the rail.
Sun would come up and I would leave. Another day to sleep. The place reeked like ether and alcohol and cigarettes. I would walk out to my house and crash out for a few hours. Just sleep for a bit before I heard the sounds of impending doom for my beloved pool hall. I heard the sounds from my bedroom. My roomates had something new.
Those god damn Mario Brothers. - T
Michele comes in next.
When I was your age....
Don’t you hate when someone starts off a story like that? Well, too bad. You don’t like it, get off my lawn. Today, I play the part of the cranky old person who wears housecoats and has 12 cats and hoards the baseballs that land in her yard. We all become that person some day. It happens. The minute you say “kids these days,” you are one step away from buying kitty litter in bulk.
Kids these days. I feel sorry for them. The self-esteem movement of the 90's combined with the ultra PC, touchy feely, litigation happy society we live in, kids are living the life of Bubble Boy.
Back in my day (yes I said it), we didn't worry about self-esteem or agonize over feelings. We didn't care about elbow pads and cooperative games where everyone was a winner. You lost? Tough shit. It happens. It’s how you learn about life. You will lose at things sometimes. Deal with it. But no one loses today. Everyone is a winner! Everyone is student of the month! We never had that shit. We were told, “try harder, you suck,” instead of being handed some empty award just for existing.
We played musical chairs at birthday parties and laughed and pointed at the kids left standing. It wasn’t a party til some kid ended up crying and bloodied after fighting over some pinata candy. We played dodgeball without sissy rules. I’d be standing there like a deer in a headlight, too small and too slow to really get out of the way and I’d hear the gym teacher say “Open season on the short kid!” and the balls would come flying at me. Well, fuck. Pelted with dodgeballs and laughter. Suck it up, hit the bleachers and plot revenge. They don’t even play dodgeball in most schools today. They play some pussy game where they learn to teamwork and cooperation. Why? Like those things ever happen in real life? I thought we were supposed to prepare kids for the future.
I watch “Extreme” sports shows and laugh. Extreme? How can anything be extreme if you're wearing fifteen layers of protective gear while you're doing it? You want extreme? Try powering a rickety, unstable bicycle going about 50 miles per hour - with your sister riding on the handelbars - down this steep slope that ended in a concrete wall. We called it Brake or Die. No helmets. No knee pads or elbow pads. We didn't even carry Band-Aids with us. That's extreme.
We played soccer without headgear. The boys played baseball without cups. We rode in the backs of station wagons, no seat belts. Hanging out the window, waving to strangers. We walked to the store by ourselves. And bought cigarettes for our parents. We rode our bikes after dark. We called each other horrible names and sometimes we had fistfights right on my front lawn and my mother would tell us to shut up because the noise was drowning out Dark Shadows. And when we got up from the fistfight all bloodied and scraped, mom would tell us to stop our crying, slap some Bactine on us and send us back outside. Today? The cops would be there, a psychiatrist would be called in and at least one parent would file a lawsuit.
Oh yea, you saw this coming. In my day we walked to school. Our district was on an austerity budget for years. Walked in the rain, the snow, the sleet and hail. Our parents never drove us because our fathers were at work and our mothers were busy preparing for some fondue themed dinner party where they would all smoke and drink and tell raunchy jokes. So we walked to school. When we got there we learned about history without some P.C. agenda. And we read books in that would be banned in schools today. We sang Christmas and Hannakuh songs in the winter concert and nobody cared.
Self-esteem? We didn't exist to build up each other's egos. We were supposed to knock them down. Life was all about rivalries and competition. If a teacher back then ever told us how wonderful and beautiful and special we all were, we would have reported her to the authorities on suspicion of being a pot smoking hippie.
You know when the world went to hell? When Coca Cola decided to teach the world to sing. The second that commercial came out, childhood as we knew it was dead. Parents everywhere were suckered in by the feel-good lyrics. All those who missed the hippie train of the 60's were going to jump on the Free to be You and Me train of the 70's, and ride it hard.
Back in my day, kids weren't sheltered. We were fed the day's news raw. Our parents took us to see gory, bloody horror movies. We were read fairy tales, grim and perverse and wicked as they were, without remanufactured endings where everyone is beautiful and everyone smiles.
We had real playgrounds with merry-go-rounds and metal slides and wooden see-saws, all placed on concrete. None of this plastic adventure-in-learning crap sitting on a gentle bed of soft wood chips. We had broken noses and we had scabs covering half our bodies. The school nurse would wipe up our blood, throw some Bactine on us and send us back outside for more. Today's kids get a piece of wood chip dust in their eye and they're carried to the nurse's office on a stretcher where they're handed ten different accident and liability forms to give their parents and forced to sit through a video taped lecture on playground safety, presented by a singing, dancing, man in an elephant costume.
We learned about life with all its cuts and bruises and hurt feelings. We worked hard around the house and yard and built up a work ethic. We earned our allowance and walked half a mile to the candy store where we spent it all on sugary, fattening candy and rolls of caps for our guns. We would point our guns at each other and say things like bang, bang, you're dead without having a parent yell at us for it.
Who knew that a generation later, that phrase would probably get you sent to the principal's office and an appointment with the school psychiatrist and a visit from Homeland Security?
Sure, I lived in dangerous times. Maybe somewhere in 60's or 70's America there were babies flying out of cars or kids smashing into concrete walls and maybe death came calling in the form of a merry-go-round or a lethal dose of Red Dye #2. But most of us made it. And most of us made it without the lingering head wound side effects.
A little head wound builds character, anyhow. - M
So thats our take on getting older. Meh, it happens. Sometimes you lose thing you love. Sometimes you look at kids on skateboards with helmets and knee pads and wonder what the hell the world is cominig to.
It happens. We all get older.
And I can still rip the shit out of a halfpipe.
I just need an icepack after I'm done.
So what has changed for you? What have you lost?