The dan­ger­ous of child­hood

The Covington News - - OPINION -

I some­times marvel that I made it through child­hood with­out a bike hel­met, safety gog­gles or the reg­u­la­tion of my neigh­bor­hood by the Con­sumer Prod­ucts Safety Com­mis­sion.

Don’t get me wrong, there is some dan­ger­ous stuff out there, in­clud­ing an as­sort­ment of Chi­nese goods with a gen­er­ous coat­ing of lead paint.

If the gov­ern­ment safety gu­rus had set up shop where we lived and played, there are sev­eral items that would have been im­me­di­ately banned. For ex­am­ple: Sticks: A stick was the great­est and most ver­sa­tile toy a boy could have. A re­ally big stick or limb was a gun, a sword, the cor­ner post for a fort or the sup­port for a tent or a hut.

What you could do with a stick was lim­ited only by your imag­i­na­tion.

Wheels and tires: If you had one wheel, you could do some­thing fun, but if you had two wheels and they were about the same size, you could make some­thing re­ally, re­ally cool. We made an as­sort­ment of rolling stock, rang­ing from a would- be car to a trailer to pull be­hind your bi­cy­cle.

“A stick was the great­est and most ver­sa­tile toy a boy could have. A re­ally big stick or limb was a gun, a sword, the cor­ner post for a fort or the sup­port for a tent or a hut.”

We seemed to have a fas­ci­na­tion with build­ing things that would re­quire one per­son ei­ther to push on foot or pull by ped­al­ing a bi­cy­cle. If we made it half­way to our in­tended des­ti­na­tion with­out los­ing all the wheels, it was a rous­ing suc­cess.

Big nails: At some point, my dad bought a re­ally big box of nails that were about as big around as a pen­cil and about 5 or 6 inches long. The nails had a big head on them, which was help­ful in that we weren’t very good at ham­mer­ing nails. This had some­thing to do with the fact that we were gen­er­ally not ham­mer­ing them with a ham­mer, but rather, a big rock, a base­ball bat or a tool not de­signed for ham­mer­ing.

The other thing about big nails is that most times we never ham­mered them all the way in, just un­til they were sturdy and tight and then we’d bang them over side­ways.

Big rocks or bricks: Some­one knocked over a neigh­bor’s brick mail­box and all new bricks were brought in for the re­place­ment.

The neigh­bor gave us all of the old ones, some of which were still held to­gether by mor­tar. Hav­ing real bricks was the real deal. We made a place inside a hut that was our safe, where we would keep stuff that was im­por­tant if you were a kid.

A nice size piece of lum­ber: One sum­mer, a neigh­bor built a deck on his house and had an ex­tra 4x4 board. It was about 10 feet long and it took three of us to carry it. It was sturdy enough to make a bridge across the ditch that was out in the woods. We would walk across that 4 inch wide span and hope we wouldn’t fall and hit our head on all the rocks and bricks we had left be­low.

OK, I’m the first to ad­mit that I came home, some­times in tears, with my fair share of bumps and bruises. Th­ese came from var­i­ous in­juries rang­ing from try­ing to ham­mer with rocks or a wheeled ride that went ca­reen­ing out of con­trol.

What was great about all of th­ese so- called dan­ger­ous items is they made us use our imag­i­na­tion, some­thing you don’t get much use of sit­ting inside at a video game.

Har­ris Black­wood

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