Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

R.I.P. common sense

by Julie Carter

It has been at least ten years since I decided that people in this world couldn’t get stupider. Daily, I’m reminded of how wrong I was.

I’m not talking about a lack of intelligence or about ignorance –as in an unlearned state. I’m speaking of pure, unadulterated stupidity that has been coaxed, coddled and petted by at least one generation leaving no hope for the next.

I was mixing up a desert that required a cake mix and I noticed that on the back of the cake mix box the instructions are now in English and Spanish. The bilingual print includes a warning to not eat raw cake batter.

What? You mean the cake batter left around the edges of a mixing bowl has been a hazard to our health for 300 years and they are just now telling us?

A mother watched as her toddler climb the ladder on the playground set to come swooshing down the big plastic slide on a 90-degree summer day. The pained sounds from the child indicated it wasn’t a pleasant experience but instead of investigating, she coaxed her back up the ladder for another run at it.

This time the wails led her to search out the cause, only to find second degree burns on the child’s bare legs where the hot plastic had burned them. Her reaction was to not to wonder why she hadn’t checked it out beforehand, but to threaten and demand that “caution” signs be placed at the playground stating that the slide might be hot. Perhaps the notices will help her be a better parent.

Swing sets today include smaller bucket-type seats for toddlers. However, it was recently proven they are not practical for a teenager with too much time on his hands who thought he should wedge himself into it.

Circulation to his legs was immediately compromised causing swelling and the absolute fact he was not going to be able to extricate himself from the swing. A call to 911 and a few chuckling firemen later, he was on his way home. Hopefully the lad is a little smarter but no one is taking bets on it.

When I was a kid, we had an outhouse! Yes, the hole-in-the-ground, wood shed-over-the-top, splinters-in-your-hiney outhouse. And furthermore, you had to walk across a little plank bridge over a deep irrigation ditch with rushing ice-cold water to get to it. It was truly down the garden path.

There were no EPA and hazmat permits posted at the outhouse and there was no code enforcement or engineering on the bridge. And not once did it become an issue unless I was caught playing in the ditch water when I was told not to. The ensuing discipline is another of today’s missing elements.

My mother cooked, canned, churned, sewed, gardened, laundered and kept track of her four young outlaws, myself included. She pretended she wasn't worried when we all left the house horseback, headed for the pine-covered hills to play cowboys and Indians. 

She was both concerned and amused when we older two tried to lose the younger two. Maybe she never knew how close she came to having only two children left in her brood. Tough little buggers, those younger boys were.

How did we get from there to now, where “they” think we need to be warned about eating raw cake batter and mothers require a sign to tell them something might be hot on a blazing sunny summer day?

God help us all if the day ever comes this world has to go back to basic survival. There will indeed be a cleansing of mankind.

Julie can be reached for comment at

No comments: