The generation that birthed me, also gave life to many colorful phrases and rules that have fallen to the wayside (like that one as a matter of fact). I never thought much about how comforting they were, since they put fear through me as a child, making a point about incorrect behavior. It might however now explain my morning madness when my husband runs water for what seems forever. I am sure you think this a good clean thing for him to do right? Well, short of a prisoner of war trick – no I will not give up the hidden stash of Ben and Jerry’s; it makes me crazy – like nails on a chalkboard.
Sinks had stoppers, used when water was collected for cleaning, washing dishes and anything else from babies to paint brushes. If we ran water it was generally to wet a toothbrush, wash our hands, face or fill a glass. Continuous and seemingly endless water flowing would bring my father into the bathroom or kitchen, his firm grasp on the handle as he would turn it off. Hopefully there was no toothpaste in your mouth, because we didn’t dare ask for the running water again. This action followed by the phrase “We are not made of money!” made the point: Don’t waste water (or anything else for that matter). There were no graphic commercials, or CGI designed moments showing the human form compiled of coins and currency to get a laugh – we knew the image, he was standing right there. Likewise, running through the house, from front door to back door, only happened once or twice. The door would either be shut or again there was dad saying, “Were you raised in a barn?” We weren’t of course, and seeing an image of our home in hay filled barn with cows and chickens might make us laugh – silently – and only once. The point was made.
There were also conniption fits, eyes bigger than our stomachs, biting the hand that fed us, lost minds, green with envy, having our hides tanned, bending over backwards, drinking like a fish, too big for our britches, tickled to death, a horse of a different color, back to the drawing board and painting your wagon to name just a few. Yes I omitted “scared the crap out of me” because in all honestly, there is just too much crap anymore to mention it – for imagery go to the jersey shore. The pictures these phrases conjured up in the mind of a kid were questioning, humorous and frightening. But in many ways, they made the rules a little easier to follow and remember. We got through childhood just fine and actually used many of them ourselves as parents.
Today however, both generally and actually, the television was screaming out some program at my grandsons. The children were not only laughing off any form of parental authority, but the parents themselves were referring to the kids as “morons” and “idiots.” Two words never allowed in my life and also what gave a swift reprimand to my own kids, are now acceptable conversation. Sorry FCC, I was a parent not a “buddy,” and in time, actually got many of the same privileges because we respected each other.
Life will never return to a time when we all “loved” Lucy, but she and Desi slept in twin beds and still managed to bring home little Ricky, Natalie Wood let “Gypsy” toss a navy blue satin strap in a seduction that still works and Gone with the Wind was an encounter on red carpeted steps in passion and only in imagination did it go farther.
Today, life is scripted and spelled out, DVD ripped, micro processed in 3D and smelled in 4D and if that isn’t enough, action figures and holograms can recreate it whenever you want. I don’t know about you, but that just thrills my pants off – not really, but seriously, who’d notice?
Maybe we can’t put the genie back in the bottle, recover the water and milk that have been spilled or unring the bell, but once in a while it would be nice to remember, as we live our over fulfilled lifestyles with everything from soup to nuts, that life is still the same, people matter, they cry, laugh and love and most of all they appreciate respect, rules and recognition (the real three R’s). Listening to the words of song are still best imagined without a music video of epic proportions and watching the clouds for moving fluffy pictures is still the best free entertainment I know. Life really is still black and white, no matter how much infused color incorporated. pixilation and HDTV. So take a minute today and channel your energy to change something for the better – I think you already get the picture.
Check out my new book, “My Life Has Been A Waist”