Friday 13 December 2013

We Survived Without Brain Damage

I almost failed kindergarten because I didn’t know how to skip. I suspect I was passed because my parents put pressure on the teacher and argued that the likelihood of my needing to skip for a job would be highly unlikely. I imagine that somewhere on my “permanent record” there s a notation that I am a very weak skipper. I’ve learned to live with my handicap.
A couple of years ago, my grandson Hurricane almost got expelled from play school because his mom accidentally packed a snack that could have contained peanuts or been in contact with peanuts. It seems that the teachers little girl was very, very allergic to nuts. The incident was forgiven with promises to never let it happen again. Most schools out here are peanut free zones now. That’s good I suppose. I just don’t know how far we as a society take this protection.

Should we or could we ban peanut products from being produced? What about all of the other allergies, do they rate serious prohibition as well? I don’t know what I would have done without peanut butter when I was growing up. Peanut butter and jam sandwiches were a staple for me, like rice in China or pasta in Italy, in “Kenland” we ate a steady diet of PB & J. Peanut butter is still a very important part of my diet although Louise rarely allows me to have peanut butter and banana sandwiches for Sunday supper.
There is obviously a problem, and yes, we should protect those who have such deadly allergies. My first response is “Why is this a problem now?” It was never or rarely mentioned when I was growing up. What has caused the surge in peanut allergies? I would hazard a guess that it has something to do with the way our food is produced these days. That’s not going to change, so we just protect those we can and those that we can’t protect will become acceptable casualties for the greater good.

When I was a baby, I spent nights and down time in a crib that was most likely painted with lead paint. My toys came with points sharp enough to stab into a potato and sometimes a foot. I had a tiny canon that would shoot toothpicks about ten feet and sometimes I could get it to go through a sheet of newsprint. We were given magnifying glasses not to study the tiny world around us, but to set it on fire. I often had small holes burnt into my pants. In later years the burn holes were from smoking hash or “seedy” grass. A BB gun was an acceptable Christmas present for an eight year old. In school science class we would often examine the properties of Mercury, the liquid metal. We were encouraged to hold it in our hands, split it up and then using our fingers, put it back into a small pool. Of course the schools were insulated with asbestos.
We survived all of that and peanuts. I’m not saying we survived without brain damage, just that we survived! You would think that once we got rid of lead paint, BB guns, asbestos, sharp toys and mercury, we would have been in the clear and our children’s children would be safe from all dangers.

Maybe we will have better luck with the next generation.

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