Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Nothing to see here, move along please

My daughter is standing behind me throwing a balloon in the air complaining there is nothing to do. Bad parents we are - Shut the TV off and now both kids are bored stupid. 

We have a house full of books, there are over 1000 on shelves behind me in the 'library'. Kim and I always wanted to have a room dedicated to reading, we chose not to have a dining room for that purpose. But there's nothing to read.

They're arguing upstairs now - yelling at each other. The older is telling the younger to zip it - she doesn't have the right to tell him what to do, or something like that, I'm only listening with half of one ear. I'm going up there in a minute and thumping heads. 

An argument is now in full blown shout mode. Kid yelling at us, us yelling at him - he's tired of reading books, none of his friends are home, blah blah blah. What did we do when we were young? We didn't have a room full of books to enjoy, We didn't have the internet, no PS2, no digital cable - I grew up with 3 channels and I was the remote control when my father wished it. We played. We used our imagination - drew pictures, played games, invented things, made up clubs, rode our bikes, played sports, got lost on long walks through the neighbourhood trying to find a new way to the park. We entertained ourselves in ways that today's kids just can't. Not even that they won't - they CAN'T. Their imaginations and innocence have been overshadowed and destroyed by modern conveniences. If I told my kids to go draw me a picture, they ask if they can use Photoshop. If I tell them to read a book they head for Google Books. Did I mention the shelves with 1000 books behind me?

This is ridiculous. He's sitting there complaining how bored he is. They think life is so rough on them when you crack down on their toys; their life falls apart without ipods, Nintendo, cell phones and the like. Wah wah. Cry me a frickin river. The other day I got fed up with the couch potato mentality and shut the TV off to kid's shows completely. So of course, they want to watch the shows online. Shit. The crap is there too, oh well, no computer now. Oldest got a comic book at hallowe'en. Remember comic books? Stories and artwork woven into a tapestry of colour and imagination. I wore mine out as a kid, even tried to redraw a bunch of them. I could draw as a kid - with get this - A PENCIL. Remember pencils? Those stick things with graphite in them and an eraser on the end that made cool shapes on paper. Now, paper only comes out of the printer after one uses Photoshop for something. Even writing is a chore - everything now has to be typed. That's fine for school and work, but kids can't write their own bloody names anymore. If they do it has to be with one of my work pens. Pencils are out. Little story - In the 60s NASA spend millions on developing a pen that would write in space. The Soviets used a frickin pencil. Don't believe me? Google it.

Remember lego? I used to spend hours in my room building things and playing with them until my eyes bled. When my son was growing up I would spend hours with him building cool models. He has tons of lego under his bed - one hell of a lot of money tied up in huge kits that provided all the creative incentive one could hope for. He even joined the lego robotics club at school. When do you think the last time the lego was pulled out? Right, TV. 'Nough said.

See.. I'm not so evil, the computer does have a purpose. Stupid useless facts that amuse us and make our lives easier. Not like the good old days where one had to remember these little stories from news clips and books. Now it's easy to google damn near anything. That's OK with me, I'm an information junkie. I admit that, and the kids are welcome to use this tool for their knowledge and amusement as well. But that does not include looking up cheat codes because they're stuck on their PS2 game!

I miss growing up around here. So much to explore, so much to do. We played. We were pirates, policemen, bad guys and good guys, girls had cooties and parents were the meanies who always yelled at us for missing our curfew, but fed whoever we brought home dinner. My friend and I got really good at having dinner at each other's houses within an hour of each other. We also played sports, rode bikes, built great snowforts, had snowball fights, we even played soccer in the snow. We went tobogganing, played baseball, chased girls - even the ones with cooties, and so much more. It was fun being a kid, and to think we did all that without unlimited TV, no internet, no electronic doo dads and gizmos. The best thing about being a kid was at the end of a long Saturday playing with my friends lost in our own imaginations was curling up in bed and having the half hour until lights out to read a book from the library that I would dream about having someday. 

The library that collects dust. The library with over 1000 books and nothing to read.

This blog is reflections on lost youth. This one actually is. 


The library in my home, we chose this in lieu of a dining room. This is about half the books here.


  1. It's good to have a place to rant. In the olden days it was called a diary and we wrote in it with a pencil and not on a computer.No matter how hard we may try, it's impossible to hold back progress, especially for the kids. The good thing is, we all turn out to be just like our parents whether we like it or not. Your kids will too. Don't worry so much.

  2. I'm fortunate. My daughter loves to read, and while the computer plays a big part in her life, she regularly has a book in front of her even when watching TV.

    When she was young the amount of TV she was allowed to watch was strictly regulated. She bitched, but dealt with it.

    I loved, and still love, to read. When I was a kid, it was my escape from a rough home life. I also remember playing with friends, - we played war, James Bond, street hockey, pick-up football, tag, went swimming, camping, and listened to a lot of music. A lot of good memories there.

    I envy your library, as I live in an apartment with limited room. But there are still a lot of books. I do admit to a love of movies as well, so have a lot of videos and DVDs. And music. A lot of music.

  3. Music is also huge around here, with the MP3 collection running and differing tastes in music, it's not uncommon to hear a Sinatra tune following by Iron Maiden, then the Pipes and Drums of the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders. The kids are into it, but as soon as one song ends, they ask to turn on the TV!


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