I am a freelancer in the publishing industry, so words are very important to me. I'm a leftist living in a world gone mad, so politics are very important to me. I'm an environmentalist living in a degrading world, so pick up your damn trash, get rid of your gas guzzlers, and don't touch ANWR, you self-absorbed capitalists!

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21 May 2008

Answer Week Fortnight Series: Day 6: Last One!

Three of Four asked, Describe one part of your childhood day-to-day (an activity, a sound, a smell, etc.) that your children will never experience as part of theirs (or, at least, will never experience as the mundane, routine encounter you grew up with). Is this a change for the worse, or the better?

I have to admit, I didn’t come back and check this question for a while, so I kind of bypassed the “day-to-day activity” option. Hmmmm. But I did get stuck on the sounds and smells. So many others have waxed poetic on the sound of the ice cream truck ding-a-ling-ing down the street (including, but not limited to, Eddie Murphy’s monologue bit), but I remember the truck stopping on our street and being terribly disappointed in the weak flavor of those red white and blue rocket bombs, and I also remember how there was a special window built in to the wooden fence around the swim club, so we could buy ice cream “fresh off the truck” during Adult Swim (no ice cream trucks? worse); just as others have, I recall the sound of Ma Bell phones (which people can now choose as a ringtone for their cellphones, for crying out loud) (cheaper long distance? better; too many choices for package deals? worse); and how about the three-tone xylophone “NBC” ID tune (cable TV? worse worse worse). There are also the fire alarm sirens that Three of Four mentioned, we don’t hear those anymore (fewer volunteer fire departments? worse) (although the girls, having grown up in a tornado state, are used to the monthly tornado siren drills in Iowa). Because everyone else has already written about all of these, whatever I wanted to say feels redundant.

There are also the smells, like the smell of ditto sheets, still wet from the mimeo machine, its purple ink smudging where you touched the damp paper (computer printers in schools? better -- and easier on the eyes!); and the salty-smelling school paste – not Elmer’s glue – that stuck to our elementary-school fingers (remember when you'd get all your school supplies from the school on the first day -- for free? that was way better than the two-page lists kids receive nowadays).

See? I couldn’t think of anything new and exciting.

I do have a special place in my heart for theEmergency Broadcast System. You know, the


that you’d hear on a regular basis on the radio, followed by “This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. If this had been an actual emergency, you would have been instructed where to tune in your area for news and official information.”

And I remember, as a kid, thinking, how nice of them to tell us what other channel we could go to if they had a fire at the radio station!

Oh, the innocence of youth.